Since my midterm, I believe that I have grown a lot as a singer/ukulele player. I have continued to play 30-45 minutes of ukulele a day and have been attending weekly 45 minute vocal lessons. My final musical growth goal was to write my own song.  This has been a lifelong dream of mine so I was excited to finally take the steps to accomplish this goal. 

Writing this song took me a lot longer than expected, but I feel like I learned a lot about myself in the process.  I have no prior song writing experience, so this was a big learning process for me.  I read a few articles on how to write a song and I learned that you should start by finding the chord progressions for the song and then write poems to find the lyrics.  So, I started by playing different combinations of chords to see which ones I liked best.  While I strummed, I would just sing “la” in tune to get a basic understanding of what a melody would sound like behind the chords. My favourite combination of chords was F, Am, G7 and C.

After I knew which chords I wanted to use the hardest part came next- writing the chorus and verses. I started with a mind map to figure out what I wanted my song to be about. Next, I started writing poems and spent a lot of time looking up what certain words rhymed with.  I found that the chorus was very easy for me to write but the verses were difficult.  I soon realized that writing a song is like writing a story and you have to make sure that story makes sense.  Due to this, I ended up changing my chorus because it did not flow well with my verses and the storyline did not make sense.  For my strumming pattern, I decided to do DUDUUDU because it is a strumming pattern that I am most comfortable with and I found it flowed best with my song. Most of the song is sung in my mix voice so I think I would write my next song to fall more in my chest voice range.

I found the process of song writing to be a bit frustrating.  I was constantly judging my work as not being good enough and I was unable to think of myself as a beginner.  I wanted my song to sound as good as something you would hear on the radio and I did not think that it did.  However, with time I was able to recognize the hard work that I put into my first song and think of it as a starting point for the rest of my music filled life!  I know that I want to continue with song writing and maybe one day I can write something that is good enough to be on the radio, but for now I am proud of the progress that I have made.  I think that this is an important life lesson as a future educator to teach my students too.  As they all say, practice makes perfect.       

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Music Reflections 9,10 & 11

Reflection #9

My greatest professional strength as an educator who will teach music is my enthusiasm and positivity. As educators, when we are in front of our students, we are performers! We have to present content to them in a way that will spark their interests. With my background in musical theater, performing comes naturally to me. I am very comfortable being in front of a class and portraying different characters so that my students can learn something new.

I can use this strength to provide my students with the best opportunities to learn. Music is a difficult subject for many students, so presenting the content in ways that help my students learn best is very important to me.

Reflection #10

When I think about myself as a future educator teaching music, I am excited and optimistic. Music has always been a large part of my life and I have seen the many benefits it has with one’s academic achievement. When I have my own classroom I want to incorporate music into lessons from other subject areas as much as possible. Teaching through song can help students learn faster and remember facts longer. I still know all aspects of the Napoleonic Code because I wrote a song about it in Social Studies 10 to the tune of Jingle Bell Rock!

Reflection 11

My greatest area of growth during this year has been in my music lesson planning. I already teach a music class to preschool and school aged children at a local recreation center, so taking a methodology course in music for elementary school has helped me become a better teacher for those classes. This class has allowed me to expand my teaching styles for music, learn new songs for my classes, and learn how to teach theory to children. I now am comfortable teaching full music lessons that incorporate content from the new BC curriculum whereas before I only knew how to teach songs using the call/response method.

Last week in my EDCI 306A class (a methodology class for elementary school music) we taught a music lesson in groups of 6 surrounding a chant (image below) about rain!

The rain chant for our lesson from “Music in the Elementary School Classroom”

My group decided to do a science/music cross-curricular lesson for a grade 2 class that would teach students how to use body percussion to demonstrate an understanding of precipitation & the water cycle. To start our lesson we would ask our students what different types of weather there are and discuss what the weather is like outside. Next, we would explore the 4 stages of the water cycle together, focusing on the precipitation stage. For the development of our lesson we would have our students demonstrate using body percussion what rain sounds like and then as a class integrate rain sounds using body percussion into the rain chant! For the closure of our lesson we would perform the rain chant as a group and discuss the remaining 3 stages of the water cycle. We thought that by having the students act out/hear different forms of precipitation with body percussion they could begin to understand and visualize heavy rain/light rain/hail/snow.

When we presented our lesson as a group to our class, we had not pre-planned who would say what and with a group of 7 this resulted in some of my peers not saying anything. I think that it would have been very beneficial to organize who would have taught which parts of the lesson before we presented it to our class. However, the lesson was not a total failure and our classmates seemed to react well to our lesson. They liked how we integrated science into the lesson while still teaching our students about music. It’s hard to say if body percussion really helps young learners visualize & understand the different forms of precipitation because our classmates already knew the answers. I think that we would have to teach in a real grade 2 class to know for sure if we created a successful lesson plan.