Update on Language School project – lower primary

Today is the start of Week 5, Term 3. Which has gone pretty quickly (especially when I consider that I’d planned to start on this blog during the end-of-term holidays). So here’s an update on where I am up to.

I have three classes at the Language School – a lower primary class (ages 5-7, usually), a middle primary class (ages 7-11) and a secondary class (ages 12-15). Each class has their own project focus for music – I think these up at the start of each term, sometimes in collaboration with the class teachers, and sometimes based on my own observations of what they are likely to respond to well.

Lower Primaries are working with the idea of Question-and-Answer in music. We have a set Q&A pair of phrases that we have repeated vocally. We then take the rhythm suggested by the syllables of the phrases, and apply this to instruments. By varying pitch, tone colour, dynamics, etc, we can start to get quite an interesting piece of music going.

According to their class teacher, this kind of task (working with syllables) has some direct correlation with their literacy, in addition to oral language and pronunciation. I need to explore this more – those students that are developing their literacy skills steadily are also able to clap/play the rhythm of the q&a phrases accurately. Those that are struggling with reading and literacy (who often have a history of heavily interrupted schooling and/or no literacy in their mother tongue) cannot imitate/clap the rhythms accurately. They can approximate them, but not imitate.

For the purpose of the music project this is no big deal – there are many layers in a piece of group-devised music! We are in the process of composing it, so there will be authentic and satisfying roles for everyone in the class (I am not very keen on the whole wrong note/right note style of music education). But I think this observation by the teacher has implications for my research project, so I am noting it.

I wonder if this correlation continues in the older age groups?


1 comment so far

  1. […] Update on the language school project […]

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