Yellow Brick Road https://yellowbrickroadblog.com Fun Education Resources | Serious Music Literacy Tue, 06 Apr 2021 17:28:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7 Ha’kyo Jung for the Elementary Music Classroom https://yellowbrickroadblog.com/2021/04/hakyo-jung-for-the-elementary-music-classroom.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hakyo-jung-for-the-elementary-music-classroom https://yellowbrickroadblog.com/2021/04/hakyo-jung-for-the-elementary-music-classroom.html#respond Wed, 07 Apr 2021 10:30:00 +0000 https://yellowbrickroadblog.com/?p=60930 Ha’kyo Jung is a children’s song from Korea that would be great for practicing half note, as well as pentatonic melodies. I used to teach Ha’kyo Jung in my class from a recording by the Making Music series (a lifetime ago). However, you can find a recording of this song with the book Roots and […]

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Ha’kyo Jung is a children’s song from Korea that would be great for practicing half note, as well as pentatonic melodies. I used to teach Ha’kyo Jung in my class from a recording by the Making Music series (a lifetime ago). However, you can find a recording of this song with the book Roots and Branches: A Legacy of Multicultural Music for Children. If you don’t have a copy, you can find the recording HERE.

Ha’kyo Jung Movement Ideas

Often times, when teaching a song, I would collaborate with my students to come up with movements. I would then use those movements with other classes or have each class create their own. For songs that weren’t in their native language, we would discuss the translation and try to come up with moves that matched the words. This way, when they were singing the foreign language, the movements helped to remind them what they were singing about. Their actions didn’t always fit the translation, and that’s okay too. Here’s one of the movement ideas they created:

Students form a large circle. Each student has jingle bells (or you can use body percussion).

  • Ha’kyo jungee daeng daeng daeng,
    • Students shake their bells (or clap) on “daeng daeng daeng”
  • Uhza moeejha
    • Students move toward the center of the circle or step clockwise to the beat
  • Sunsaeng nimee ooreerul
    • Students tap their wrist as though tapping their watch (to indicate the teacher waiting)
  • kida ree shin da
    • Student shake their bells on the final half note

If you’re working specifically on rhythm, you can have a different instrument represent each rhythm. For example:

  • Barred eighth notes = woodblock
  • Quarter notes = hand drum
  • Half notes = jingle bells or triangle

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Mistakes I Made While Working From Home https://yellowbrickroadblog.com/2021/03/mistakes-i-made-while-working-from-home.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mistakes-i-made-while-working-from-home https://yellowbrickroadblog.com/2021/03/mistakes-i-made-while-working-from-home.html#respond Wed, 24 Mar 2021 10:30:00 +0000 https://yellowbrickroadblog.com/?p=60743 When I first transitioned from teaching to working from home (WFH) full-time, I made a whole lot of mistakes, which I plan to share today. I suspect we’ll see a mass exodus of teachers next year due to long-standing exploitative work practices (that were exacerbated during the pandemic). By sharing my mistakes, I hope that […]

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When I first transitioned from teaching to working from home (WFH) full-time, I made a whole lot of mistakes, which I plan to share today. I suspect we’ll see a mass exodus of teachers next year due to long-standing exploitative work practices (that were exacerbated during the pandemic). By sharing my mistakes, I hope that teachers transitioning to WFH will be able to avoid similar pitfalls.

Zero Exercise

I hate most types of exercise, and I care little about my fitness level, provided I can reach all of my snacks easily. The exception to my distaste is walking, preferably in nature. I made the mistake of not prioritizing walking in the first few years I worked from home, and as a result, I ended most days with achy legs and a sour mood. I did try to get up from my desk often to move around, but it wasn’t enough.

It wasn’t until COVID hit that I finally invested in a treadmill, and I’m so glad I did. My husband and I have used it daily since it arrived. It’s so nice to not have to depend on the weather for a long walk. The bonus is we get to watch our cat be baffled by its mechanics. He sits on the belt, we turn it on, he falls off the back and paws at the belt with suspicion. Pure entertainment.

Here are the benefits I’ve noticed in my health since getting the treadmill:

  • My body isn’t aching at the end of the day
  • I feel more energetic overall
  • I can walk longer and faster without getting tired
  • I’m more focused when I’m working at the computer
  • Random walks during the winter keep me warm throughout the day

Unhealthy Work Habits

When I first started working from home, I sat in front of the computer for no less than eight hours every day. As a music teacher, I thought it was a privilege just to be able to go to the bathroom whenever I wanted. It seemed the height of luxury to not work every weekend or lead rehearsals for upcoming concerts. Eight hours in front of the computer sounded pretty easy in theory, but the reality was much different. Here are some of the things I experienced with my unhealthy work habits:

  • wrist pain
  • depressed mood
  • elbow pain
  • lack of creative inspiration
  • neck pain
  • lethargy
  • leg pain
  • burnout

Because of the pandemic, many teachers have experienced what it’s like to sit in front of a screen all day and can attest to the special kind of exhaustion it creates. Here are some of the things I did to get rid of my unhealthy work habits:

  • I stopped labeling myself as “lazy” if I wasn’t sitting in front of the computer all day.
    • This was the perspective shift that I needed to fix all the other mistakes I was making.
  • I incorporated the following items into my definition of work:
    • thinking about how to solve a customer issue
    • brainstorming ideas for new resources
    • reading books about the latest music education research
    • organizing my song collections
    • discussing work goals with friends and colleagues
  • I took breaks when I felt that I needed them.
    • Breaks are not earned. They are simply a part of my daily life that I need to function well, just like sleep, food, and shelter.

A False Sense of Self

I made the mistake of believing that my job as a music teacher was the only thing that made me valuable to the world. I felt like my new job had to be validated by others before I could accept that I was worthy outside of the classroom. My false belief was strengthened each time I ran into someone who thought I didn’t have a “real job”. This should sound familiar to music teachers, since many of us experience this type of dismissive ignorance from our own colleagues.

My outlook improved with a mixture of high quality therapy and a support system consisting of my husband and our cat (Dr. Watson). Did how I feel change how others viewed my job? Absolutely not. I have no doubt that there are still people who don’t believe I have a “real job” and will never care to understand. And the more I focus on the joyful life I’ve cultivated for myself, the less I care.

Whether you stay in the classroom or not, I hope you’ll keep the following thoughts in mind:

  • We are more than what we do to make money.
  • We are complex human beings inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Our value is not as a martyr to an unjust educational system.

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Blooket for the Elementary Music Classroom https://yellowbrickroadblog.com/2021/03/blooket-for-the-elementary-music-classroom.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=blooket-for-the-elementary-music-classroom https://yellowbrickroadblog.com/2021/03/blooket-for-the-elementary-music-classroom.html#comments Wed, 10 Mar 2021 10:30:00 +0000 https://yellowbrickroadblog.com/?p=60749 You’re probably sick of hearing about new tech for the classroom, but believe me when I say Blooket (blue-kit) is worth your time! In a nutshell, it takes questions you create, and turns them into video games for students to play. When I found myself playing Blooket just for fun, I knew it was something […]

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You’re probably sick of hearing about new tech for the classroom, but believe me when I say Blooket (blue-kit) is worth your time! In a nutshell, it takes questions you create, and turns them into video games for students to play. When I found myself playing Blooket just for fun, I knew it was something I needed to write a blog post about.

GETTING STARTED

  • You create a set of questions (or search for sets that have been made publicly available by other teachers)
  • Teachers can host a game live (for synchronous learning) or assign homework (for asynchronous learning)
  • There are five different games from which to choose
    • Tower Defense
    • Café
    • Tower of Doom
    • Crazy Kingdom
    • Factory
  • These are the features of their forever free plan, according to their website:
    • Create and host sets
    • unique game modes
    • question set search
    • unlimited sets and edits

HOW TO CREATE A QUESTION SET

In most situations, I learn by doing. So I created a set of questions using my Basics Bundle. Here’s the link to my set, which you are welcome to use: The Elements of Music.

Here’s what I was able to do:

  • Edit question text, image, and answers
  • Edit the time limit for each question
  • Randomize the answer order (so I didn’t have to waste time making sure the answer wasn’t always A)
  • Import questions from Quizlet (helpful if you can’t find a set you want in the Blooket search)
Click HERE to download this free set.

Blooket has a YouTube channel, which you can find HERE. It contains a few tutorial videos, like the one below. Honestly though, the site is fairly intuitive, and I found it easy to create a basic set without much difficulty. It’s also a good idea to test the publicly available sets first, just to get the hang of the different game modes and see how it’ll feel for your students to play.

HOW DOES IT WORK FOR STUDENTS?

Each game mode has a tutorial built-in, so your students will get a step-by-step guide on how to play. Students can also choose to skip these tutorials if they’ve already played the game mode before.

THE UNKNOWNS

Blooket is relatively new to the ed tech world, so the improvements and changes are ongoing. For example, their Tower Defense Game Mode was just released a month ago. And a week ago, they made an improvement to their process of assigning homework. You can read all about their changes in the “news” section of your Blooket dashboard. Aside from the usual growing pains of new tech, I think Blooket is well worth you and your students’ time.

If you decide to give it a try, let me know about your experience in the comments section. I’d love to hear what you think of it!

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The Wind Blow East for the Elementary Music Classroom https://yellowbrickroadblog.com/2021/02/the-wind-blow-east-for-the-elementary-music-classroom.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-wind-blow-east-for-the-elementary-music-classroom Wed, 24 Feb 2021 10:00:00 +0000 https://yellowbrickroadblog.com/?p=60725 The Wind Blow East is a fantastic song for practicing syncopation. Additional verses describing “Sunshine” and “China” give some insight into the meaning of this song. According to the HNU Kodaly Center, “The Sunshine and the China were ships; they were lying in Kingston Harbor during a hurricane and were blown out of the water […]

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The Wind Blow East is a fantastic song for practicing syncopation. Additional verses describing “Sunshine” and “China” give some insight into the meaning of this song. According to the HNU Kodaly Center, “The Sunshine and the China were ships; they were lying in Kingston Harbor during a hurricane and were blown out of the water and into the streets of the town.” Beyond this information, there’s little to be found for the history of this song.

CLAPPING GAME

There are no less than ten occurrences of syncopation (specifically syn-co-pa) in this song, when you include the repeated refrain. This makes it great for practicing syncopation. One way to do this is through a clapping game. And since this song doesn’t traditionally include one, I decided to make one up! This clapping game is for socially distanced classrooms, so you can use it whether you’re face to face, hybrid, or any other combination.

Like the clapping game for Four White Horses, students will clap to the beat while singing (or chanting) the song. This is a bit of a challenge, but a good way to differentiate syncopated rhythms from the steady beat. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Students should do the motions on the beat, not with the rhythm of the words.
  • The visuals are mirrored to make them easier to follow. For example, during “the wind blow east”, students should pat their left shoulder.
  • The pink highlights in the visual show which hand(s) to pat.
    • No pink highlights indicate that the hands are resting in their lap.
  • When it’s safe to be in the classroom without social distancing, you can easily modify the clapping game to include partners. Simply have students pat the hands of their partners during the clapping sections. Everything else can remain the same.

You can download a free PDF of these visuals HERE.

You can download a free PDF of these visuals HERE.

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Bate Bate Chocolate in the Elementary Music Classroom https://yellowbrickroadblog.com/2021/02/bate-bate-chocolate-in-the-elementary-music-classroom.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bate-bate-chocolate-in-the-elementary-music-classroom Wed, 10 Feb 2021 10:30:00 +0000 https://yellowbrickroadblog.com/?p=60696 Bate Bate Chocolate is a traditional children’s rhyme. As with many children’s rhymes, it has different versions. Some lyrics describe cooking mole sauce (a delicious sauce native to Mexico), while others describe stirring chocolate. My favorite version is the one composed by José-Luis Orozco. This song is featured in his book, de Colores and Other […]

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Bate Bate Chocolate is a traditional children’s rhyme. As with many children’s rhymes, it has different versions. Some lyrics describe cooking mole sauce (a delicious sauce native to Mexico), while others describe stirring chocolate. My favorite version is the one composed by José-Luis Orozco. This song is featured in his book, de Colores and Other Latin American Folksongs for Children, which you can find HERE.

GAME/MOVEMENT

Materials: hand drum, tambourine, found sound or other rhythm instrument that can sit on the floor/desk in front of each student. If you aren’t able to use instruments, replace the action with body percussion.

  • Students sit in a circle with their instrument in front of them.
  • They count out each number using their hand.
  • For each syllable of “cho-co-la-te”, they strike the instrument.
  • During “Bate, bate…” they will play the rhythm on their instrument (alternating hands if possible). If not using instruments, you can have them cross their arms over their chest and tap the rhythm, alternating hands.

CHANT

You can use the chant instead and follow the same movements described above. The video below is from Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou.

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Bell Horses for the Elementary Music Classroom https://yellowbrickroadblog.com/2021/01/bell-horses-for-the-elementary-music-classroom.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bell-horses-for-the-elementary-music-classroom Wed, 27 Jan 2021 10:30:00 +0000 https://yellowbrickroadblog.com/?p=60632 The origin of Bell Horses is uncertain, but there’s plenty of concepts to cover using this song, such as quarter rest, mi-so-la, and improvisation. Be sure to check out Mama Lisa’s page HERE (scroll to the bottom) if you’d like to read personal reminiscences about this song. Improvisation with Found Sounds I’m an advocate of […]

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The origin of Bell Horses is uncertain, but there’s plenty of concepts to cover using this song, such as quarter rest, mi-so-la, and improvisation. Be sure to check out Mama Lisa’s page HERE (scroll to the bottom) if you’d like to read personal reminiscences about this song.

Improvisation with Found Sounds

I’m an advocate of found sounds, not just for distance learning, but also for the in-person classroom. I want children (and adults) to know that music can be created anywhere, with anything. We don’t need expensive instruments or tools to make beautiful music.

My ideas for using this song for improvisation are as follows:

Initial Hearing

  • Play/sing through the first eight measures
  • Improvise a rhythm for the next four measures
  • Have students echo that rhythm for the final four measures
  • Continue doing this, cycling through the different rhythms your students are currently practicing

Practice Options

  • Continue in the same format, but have students take turns soloing the echo section
  • Have one student improvise the first four measures and have the rest of the class echo their rhythm
  • Have students take turns improvising the final eight measures
  • Instead of rhythms, improvise simple pitch patterns using the same format

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Winter Favorites https://yellowbrickroadblog.com/2021/01/winter-favorites.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=winter-favorites Wed, 13 Jan 2021 10:45:00 +0000 https://yellowbrickroadblog.com/?p=60634 Today I’ll be sharing some of my favorite things from the winter season. Like all of you, my interests extend far beyond music education, so I’ll be including all of the other things I’ve loved this season too. MUSIC ED Fostering Social-Emotional Health in Elementary Music (pandemic edition) It should be no surprise that I […]

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Today I’ll be sharing some of my favorite things from the winter season. Like all of you, my interests extend far beyond music education, so I’ll be including all of the other things I’ve loved this season too.

MUSIC ED

  • Fostering Social-Emotional Health in Elementary Music (pandemic edition)
    • It should be no surprise that I love everything Elizabeth posts on her blog, but this post in particular is so important right now. If you’re teaching any form of distance learning, this is a must read!
  • Four Ways to Analyze Repertoire for Racism and Sexism
    • If you aren’t already following Michelle on Instagram, you’re missing out on quality content. This post is full of awesome and practical ways for you to analyze repertoire and ensure that you’re placing only the best literature in front of your students.
  • Research to Real Life: practical applications of music education research for teachers
    • Heather breaks down and summarizes music education research so that it can be applied directly (and practically) to the classroom. I truly can’t pick a favorite post, they’re all wonderful. Instead, I suggest that you head over to her blog and search the tags on the right-hand side to narrow down your interests and let the learning commence!

FOOD

  • Sticky Buns
    • I use a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen for these sticky sweet buns, and they’ve quickly become a household favorite. I would love to show you a photograph of them lovingly plated, but they just don’t last long enough. Here’s the recipe. Also, if you’re on the fence about an America’s Test Kitchen subscription, I can honestly say it’s my go-to for all my baking/cooking needs. I’m not affiliated with them, just a food-loving fan!
  • Lindt Lindor Strawberries and Cream Truffles
    • If you’re not into baking, these truffles are the next best thing. I mean, all Lindt Lindor truffles are amazing, but these just happen to be one of their limited edition flavors, so you have to get them while you can.

TV

  • Nadiya’s Time to Eat
    • If you’re a fan of The Great British Bake Off, then you’ll recognize Nadiya as the winner of season six. She has a new Netflix series called Time to Eat. It’s a feel-good show with lots of tips/cheats for quick meals and deserts. You can even grab all of her recipes for free HERE.
  • Derry Girls
    • I’ve mentioned this TV show before, but I’m watching it again and am reminded of how great it is. It’s a coming of age story that follows a group of teenagers during the 90’s in Derry, Northern Ireland. It mixes historical events of the time period with the typical growing pains of teenagers. If you’re in need of a good laugh, this is the show to watch.
  • The Mandalorian
    • This show is the only reason we have Disney Plus. You don’t need to be a Star Wars fan to enjoy it, though that does make it more satisfying.

VIDEO GAMES

I have to preface this by saying that I’m not at all an avid video game player. Most games stress me out due to time limits, battle scenes, and motion sickness (I’m looking at you Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles). However, my favorites this season are my ideal type, the kind that are calming, have no time limits, and have a perspective that doesn’t make me nauseous.

  • Animal Crossing
    • This game is why I have a Nintendo Switch (and no longer borrow my husband’s). Animal Crossing is worth triple the price based on how much it’s helped me survive the pandemic. You get to design and landscape your own island with your new island friends. You can plant flowers, go fishing, dig up fossils, create waterfalls, build items with recipes, create pixel art, and more. You can even change the theme tune of your island. It’s lovely.
  • Spiritfarer
    • This game is as equally calming and entertaining as Animal Crossing. It even shares many of the same activities, such as planting a garden, learning new recipes, meeting friends, and foraging for items. However, in this game your purpose is to help your friends pass over from the spirit world into the afterlife. While doing this, you’ll explore new islands using your incomprehensibly large boat, complete tasks for your friends, and gain new skills.

PETS

  • Ripple Rug
    • I think it’s safe to say that Doctor Watson (our cat) is as sick of being home all the time as we are, but this Ripple Rug has made a huge difference. It’s the only thing we’ve bought for him that he plays with everyday. If you own a cat, you know this is a huge deal. If given the choice between a milk ring and a $10 toy, they’ll choose the milk ring every time.
  • Yeowww! Stinkies Catnip Sardines Cat Toy
    • I’m thankful that this toy is sturdy, because Watson gnaws on it like no other. If your cats are only mildly interested in most catnips, you might give this one a try. I get mine from my local pet supplies store, but you can find them online.

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4 New Instruments to Try for Music Teachers https://yellowbrickroadblog.com/2020/12/4-new-instruments-to-try-for-music-teachers.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=4-new-instruments-to-try-for-music-teachers https://yellowbrickroadblog.com/2020/12/4-new-instruments-to-try-for-music-teachers.html#comments Wed, 16 Dec 2020 10:30:00 +0000 https://yellowbrickroadblog.com/?p=60604 I’ve always loved playing instruments that are new (to me). Give me an instrument I’ve never played before, and I’ll be in bliss for hours. It’s a natural interest, but I think it serves a useful purpose too. It reminds me what it’s like to be a beginning instrumentalist with zero muscle memory and nothing […]

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I’ve always loved playing instruments that are new (to me). Give me an instrument I’ve never played before, and I’ll be in bliss for hours. It’s a natural interest, but I think it serves a useful purpose too. It reminds me what it’s like to be a beginning instrumentalist with zero muscle memory and nothing but my own determination to guide me.

For teachers in the states, now is a good time to look ahead to winter break and consider what music you can make just for fun. If you too would like a little challenge, and a reminder of what it’s like to start fresh, here are some of my favorite instruments to try.

Ocarina

I first became interested in ocarinas during a trip to Dragon Con a few years ago. I impulsively purchased one and wondered how it might be used in an elementary music classroom. The company that I purchased the ocarina from was kind enough to give me the name of a teacher who was doing just that! You can read that interview HERE. If you choose to try the ocarina in your classroom, be sure to check out my ocarina fingering charts HERE.

What I love: The purity of sound.

The Challenge: Keeping my pinky down!

Guitar

I know that the ukulele continues to be all the rage right now, but I still prefer my acoustic guitar. The sound is rich, full, and soothing. I also find the guitar more comfortable to hold and play than my ukulele, but that’s entirely subjective. I mostly use the guitar as accompaniment while I sing, and most of the songs I use require only three or four chords. There are many websites offering chord charts; Chordie.com is one of my favorites. It offers a huge library (for both guitar and ukulele), you can transpose songs, and you can save your favorites to your songbook if you sign up for a free account.

What I love: It’s a simple accompaniment for my voice.

The Challenge: Switching to and from barre chords.

Kalimba

I’ve had a kalimba since my first year of teaching, but my husband bought me a new one this year, and I’ve loved having it in my collection. The Kalimba (also known as a thumb piano) is a westernized version of the mbira. It’s sound is similar to that of a music box. It’s also one of the more difficult instruments I’ve played because the metal tines are staggered in pitch, rather than moving step-wise like on a piano. In addition, I find the tabs baffling, so I mostly play by ear. I know how to pick my battles…

What I love: The timbre could put a classroom full of kinders asleep (not really, but it is beautiful).

The Challenge: Remembering that the tines are positioned differently than piano keys.

Nose Harp

If you want to make your students laugh, you definitely need to try the nose harp! The nose harp is a plastic instrument, which fits under your nose and over your mouth. You blow air through your nose, which travels through the instrument creating a whistling sound. From there, you can adjust the pitch of the whistle with your mouth cavity. Here’s a fun video to show you how it looks and sounds.

What I Love: It’s hilarious.

The Challenge: Keeping each pitch perfectly in tune.

Now it’s your turn. What instruments do you love to play for fun? Let me know in the comments section!

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