Something that never ceases to amaze me with young elementary aged musicians is their enthusiasm for learning new concepts. I am continually in awe of these students and the speed at which they learn! I am very thankful for books and resources such as Michiko Yurko’s “Music Mind Games” which have been invaluable. Her second book, “No H in Snake,” is from where my title was taken. Her website, http://www.musicmindgames.com, has a wonderful blog section in which fellow music teachers have posted their own games they have invented for their students – it’s going to take me a while to sort through everything!
Next week I will begin an 8 week artist residency at Bright Water Elementary in which I will be teaching 3 classes of kindergartners and one class of 4 – 6th grade (the school teaches with the Montessori method so there are age clusters in each classroom). I feel as if I’m coming home as I went to a Montessori elementary school and have many fond memories – I even still keep in touch with several classmates. I believe wholeheartedly in the Montessori method and credit it for helping build my sense of independence, patience when teaching others, and also for allowing me to grow as a student at my own pace and providing encouragement to dive into what I love. I suppose my parents also played a small role. 😉
At my elementary school music was a constant and as I create a curriculum for Bright Water I oftentimes reflect back on my days as an elementary student. There were songs for everything! Birthday songs, continent song (I still know it!), and sometimes even transition songs. We had a general music class for your whole classroom but we also had extracurriculars including music lessons and choirchimes. To play the chimes you were hand selected – it was a big deal! Only the two oldest grades, 4th and 5th grade, were allowed to play them.
Now, some of you may be wondering – what in the world does your title mean? Well, it is drawn from a game in which the musical alphabet is learned. The musical alphabet goes A – G, so no “H”! Here’s a wonderful video from http://www.musicmindgames.com that shows a small group of children playing a version of snakes: