NATIONAL CURRICULUM: LEVELS INTERPRETED AND IDEAS GIVEN
RECOGNISE HOW SOUNDS CAN BE COMBINED AND USED EXPRESSIVELY – This can be achieved through listening to recorded music, recognising different types of instruments being played, in which combination and discussing the effect. Children can listen for different instrumental sounds, different voice sounds (harmonies) and even sound effects.
SING IN TUNE WITH EXPRESSION – it is interesting that children are expected to be able to sing in tune at this stage – considering many adults still struggle to sing in tune. It will depend a lot on the amount of experience they have had of singing and how much practise in pitch-matching skills. It is good to ask children to sing solos – if they are willing – and to take notes etc and direct teaching accordingly. Many will still need help with singing 2 or 3 notes in tune while others will have a naturally strong and in-tune singing voice. Good ways to test this are to ask the children to sing solos of songs containing 2,3,4 and 5 notes only.
PERFORM SIMPLE RHYTHMIC PARTS THAT USE A LIMITED RANGE OF NOTES – Take a chant such containing limited rhythmic ingredients, E.g. Ta and Te-te. Divide the class into 4 groups and give each a line to clap simultaneously. Build and reduce the layers of sound. In this way every child is performing a rhythmic part. An ostinato is another successful way of achieving this objective. While one group claps the rhythm of a chant another claps a separate chosen rhythm repeatedly throughout. Alternatively the children can write and perform their own rhythm patterns, using voices, clapping or instruments.
IMPROVISE REPEATED PATTERNS – Children make up rhythmic patterns on the spot and start to play them repeatedly. Others can join in with their improvised patterns. This will only work if the children are given and listen to a steady pulse and each other. They will also need to know how long to make their pattern (4-beats is a good start)
COMBINE LAYERS OF SOUND WITH AWARENESS OF THE COMBINED EFFECT – Experimenting with different timbres (types of sounds) and their combinations and making decisions as to which most effectively create the effect they are looking for. This could involve combinations of rhythms, melodies, instrumental sounds etc. Ostinatos are ideal ways of layering sounds. Layers of sound can be built up and reduced to create effective compositions.(Ideal within Creative Curriculum).
RECOGNISE HOW MUSICAL ELEMENTS ARE COMBINED AND USED EXPRESSIVELY – Understand how music often needs a steady pulse, the rhythm that fits in with it and how the melody is added on top. Recognise how music changes according to the dynamics (volume) and tempo (fast and slow pace). Children can also look at different rhythmic and melodic patterns and see how well they fit in together.
COMMENT ON INTENDED EFFECT OF MUSIC – with regards to their own compositions, children need to have very clear objectives to be able to do this well. Eg, to listen to each other, start and stop at the same time and keep a steady pulse. The fewer aspects they have to listen out for, the more accurate they can be in their assessment. With regards to pre-recorded music, again, clear specifics of what to listen for are vital.