The theme for this half term in one of my schools is “timbre”. So save my poor aching head from trying to remember too many lessons at too many schools with too many instruments, I’m kind of incorporating it into several schools and several year groups.
I’m using the AC Black “Listening to Music”, which is now being markets as part of the “Music Express” series. I bought them when I first started teaching class music back in 2001 and I keep going back to them for ideas and inspirations.
With my year 3 and 4 class, I am using La Volta, a lively Elizabethan dance tune; here is a particularly lovely video of Medieval musicians playing it on pipe and tabor, cittern and shawm. Not that the cittern player has bells on one ankle as well!
I am slowly (and painfully) teaching my beginner recorder players the second phrase of the melody
B A G B B A G D B A G D C B C A G
and I shall also give the notes to the couple of violin players and clarinet players in the class (clarinets are transposing instruments and I will need to give them the notes C# B A C#, C# B A E C# B A E D C# D B A)
The rest of the class can play ostinato accompaniments, drones, or even the melody, using pitched and unpitched percussion. This will give us plenty of opportunity to describe the different sound qualities or drums, shakers, jingles, chime bars, recorders and violins, and whatever else they decide to use.
I’m planning to record their different arrangements as we go along – the little internal microphones on my laptop and my mp3 player make class recording a doddle (providing I’m not too worried about quality).