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5. Welcome Little Travelers

Lesson 5 Module 1

Something New

Welcome back to school!  I really love singing games.  They break the ice, help children get to know each other, and get young bodies moving.  My children really love "Little Travelers" from Emiliee Poulsson's Holiday Songs.  (The pdfs below were scanned from my personal original copy.) They often choose unconventional actions such as tying it to favorite video games or fantasy worlds, but that's all part of the fun I suppose.  They often request it.  But I think it is especially valuable as a "getting to know you song", or a "welcome back" song, and so I've included it here.  I thought about recording the kids singing this one, but I didn't feel it was as necessary since the piano plays the melody.  Please let me know if you want me to add it!

Little Travelers

Cradle Nest

This next song is an autumn favorite from the same Holiday Songs book.  There are a few more I will be adding in coming weeks, but I think it's best to introduce one song at a time and then cycle more in.  The first recording is piano only, and the second recording is with singing.  If you right click on the audio player, it will give you the option to download the MP3 so you can put it on your phone or other audio player.  🙂

Something Old

For Musicianship, this time I'll draw from The Solfege Train, suggested lesson one.

Introducing music on a one-line staff.

Materials used: One-line staff printable, note head manipulatives for freeplay. Worksheets accompany the video.

Save the "La"s for later use.

Materials used:  One-line staff and small So-Mi note manipulatives.

Fixed Do:  You may choose to skip the one-line exercise altogether and move on to lesson two.  Although “So” and “Mi” are sometimes space notes, they are not space notes in a child’s vocal range.  Doing the exercise with “Re” and “Fa”, or “Fa” and “La” (“D” and “F”, or “F” and “A” respectively) is a possibility, although “Fa” is not the best note to be starting with for young children’s singing since “Fa” and “Mi” (“F” and “E”) is a minor second.  A minor second is one of the hardest intervals for young children to hear.  If your child struggles at all with in-tune singing, that interval should be avoided in the beginning.  On the other hand, there is no reason to hold your child back if this is not an issue for you.  You know what your goals are, and what is best for your children or students.  If you want to start with a one-line staff and you want to avoid “Fa”, you could alternatively start out with “La” and “High Do”, which is the “Do” just above “La”, also known as “Treble C”.  This is a little higher for children’s voices, but not too high.  “La-Do” is a minor third, just like “So-Mi”.

Movable Do:  Teach concept that “So” goes above the line, and “Mi” goes below the line.  This loosely teaches space notes, finer coordination can come later.  Introduce the Curwen hand signs.  Emphasize in-tune singing.  The lesson can be repeated several times.  Allow children to place note manipulatives on the staff themselves and sing it.  It builds confidence to say “I wrote music!”  Sing “Ring around the Rosies.”

Your script might be something like this:

Welcome to lesson one.  Today we are going to learn about “So” and “Mi”, and we are going to start building a solfege house.  This is the sign for “So”, and it makes the walls of our house.  (sing)“So - ”.  Mi is the floor of our house.  (sing)“Mi –”.   “So, So, So - , Mi, Mi, Mi – “.  Do you want to sing that with me?  I’m going to sing a phrase, and then you can echo after me.  “So, So, So, So” (pause), “Mi, Mi, Mi, Mi” (pause).  Good job, you are ready for our lesson now.

The materials that we will use are a one-line staff, and the “So” and “Mi” notes.  What we’re going to do is put these notes on the staff.  “So” goes above the line, because “So” is a higher note.  “Mi” goes below the line, because “Mi” is a lower note than “So”.

One of the nice things about this lesson for very young children is that the exact placement of the notes doesn’t matter yet.  For example, when my 2-year-old does this lesson, he puts “So” very high on the board, and as well as placing “Mi” far below the line.  For now, that is really okay because the main point of the lesson is learn that “So” is higher than “Mi”, as well as in-tune singing.  Ideally the notes would touch the line, but there are plenty of lessons to come that will teach that coordination.

Let’s sing this composition.  “So, Mi, So, Mi”.  Now you sing it with me!  “So, Mi, So, Mi.”  Okay, let’s make another composition.  I’m going to put “Mi” back, and pull out another “So”.  We’ll put “Mi” at the beginning this time.

One of the things that the children really like about this system is that they get to write their own music, and Mommy (or the teacher) will sing it with them.  Children respond well to the question, “Would you like to write some music with me?”  This really builds their confidence. 

This lesson can be repeated several times.  My own children still enjoy it.  You can also come back to this lesson for review as you move through the course.  Have fun with the materials!

Note:  You will be using the “So-Mi” notes from this lesson in lesson two and other subsequent lessons.


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