Music

NESA syllabus and support materials – units of work, student work samples and advice on programming

Australian curriculum work samples – portfolios of student work

Music education and the brain – Dr Anita Collins presents new research on the impact of music education on a child’s brain. Thought-provoking questions for inspiring K-6 whole school conversations accompany this resource.

Sample lesson ideas for RG04780

Outcomes: MUES1.1, MUES1.4

Outcomes and other elements of the syllabus used are copyright. K–6 Creative Arts Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2006

Introduction

  • Discuss music – what is it? What does it mean to you?  Student answers could include noise, sound, singing, instruments, dance, audience.
  • Discuss how music can be loud or soft (dynamics), fast or slow (duration – tempo), low or high (pitch)
  • Discuss how music has a beat – start tapping a beat on knees, have students join in. Beat can be fast or slow.
  • Discuss how beat mostly stays the same through the song or piece of music.

Body

  • Play a game 'The rhythm in our name'.  Teach students that our names have a beat which stays the same but also have a rhythm which is the different sounds in our name.
  • Students sit in a circle and go around the circle with each student clapping or saying the rhythm of their name.  Everyone has a turn.
  • Tell the students they are now going to be an orchestra – a big group of musicians who perform together with different instruments
  • Hand out instruments – naming each one as handed out
  • Draw a picture on whiteboard of a tambourine, a maraca and a bell.
  • Explain that the teacher is going to be the conductor. Tap a beat on knees and have the students copy the beat when their instrument is pointed to. When pointed to again the students should stop playing.
  • Explain we will all play together some of the time, and then at other times will just be playing with the others who have the same instrument. When students see the symbol for stop (show symbol with hands) they must stop.
  • Play a steady beat so students become familiar with copying a beat at different tempos. Then change to rhythms. Discuss the difference.

Conclusion

  • Clap some rhythmic patterns with hands on thighs (patsch) and on chests. Explain that this is called body percussion.
  • Have students experiment with making rhythms using body percussion or drumming on the floor
  • Choose some students to drum a rhythm pattern (on body or floor) which the rest of the class then imitates.

Normanhurst Public School as part of MyPL RG02217 Introduction to music within the K-6 Creative Arts Syllabus

Duration

Outcomes: MUS1.1, MUS1.3

Outcomes and other elements of the syllabus used are copyright.

K–6 Creative Arts Syllabus
© NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2006.

Introduction

  • Students hold hand on chest, neck or wrist and feel their pulse. Is it steady? Is it fast or slow? Does it get faster or slower or does it stay the same? Note that this is their heartbeat. It should be steady while they are sitting down, but that it can change to be faster or slower. This is the same for the beat in a song.
  • Sitting in a circle, the teacher starts a simple beat. Students follow by clapping. Change periodically to incorporate feet, knees, elbows or head.
  • Some students create their own beat. Focus on not getting faster or slower but keeping it steady like a heartbeat.

Body

  • Using hands or claves (wooden sticks), students make and maintain a steady beat
  • Teacher says a rhyme over the top and students must keep the beat. Highlight that it is steady and does not get faster or slower to match the words being said. Rhymes may include Baa Baa Black Sheep, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Engine, Engine, Number 9, Hickory Dickory Dock.
  • Read or chant Johnny Works With One Hammer and keep steady beat with right hand. Repeat with two hands, two hands and a foot, and both hands and both feet.
  • Introduce numbers as another way to count beats depending on the beats in the bar. Students replicate with clapping, claves or marching.
  • Show simple symbols to represent basic 4/4 time, for example hearts. Indicate that students will follow the beat by making a noise or movement when one of the symbols is pointed to. Use these symbols to demonstrate beat on board. In small groups students replicate with a different body part or percussion instrument.
  • Teacher claps a rhythm and students march in time to the beat. Change tempo regularly.

Conclusion

  • Play students a familiar simple song and taking turns in small groups, keep the beat. For example, half of the class sing a familiar simple song and the other half keep beat, then swap.

Biddabah Public School as part of MyPL RG02217 Introduction to music within the K-6 Creative Arts Syllabus

Timbre

Outcomes: MUS2.1, MUS2.2

Outcomes and other elements of the syllabus used are copyright.

K–6 Creative Arts Syllabus
© NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2006.

Introduction

This lesson is linked to the text Tuesday by David Wiesner. Students are currently studying this picture book as part of their visual literacy unit. Underpinning the lesson is the impact of urbanisation on our local environment.

  • Explain that students will create a night soundscape inspired by the introductory words, 'Tuesday evening, around eight' and the subsequent illustrations. They will be using a variety of instruments.
  • Introduce students to the term soundscape. Watch Catalyst episode on soundscapes. Discuss video and use of recorded soundscape.
  • Explore understanding of tone, dynamics, duration with students.

Body

  • Explore illustrations in the text Tuesday and imagine what sounds could be heard
  • Group or pair students and hand out instruments. Allow students to discover how to use them, exploring and describing sounds produced (timbre). Classify instruments into categories to compare tone colours.
  • Students use their instruments and voices, experimenting with dynamics, tone colour and pitch, adding and removing sounds, to create a night time creek soundscape.

Conclusion

  • Discuss the musical concepts involved in creating soundscapes amend or enhance as necessary. Particularly focus on structure.
  • Perform, listen to and discuss with the class. Add extra parts if necessary.

Tyalla Public School as part of MyPL RG02217 Introduction to Music within the K-6 Creative Arts Syllabus

Timbre

Outcomes MUS3.2, MUS3.4

Outcomes and other elements of the syllabus used are copyright. K–6 Creative Arts Syllabus
© NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2006.

Introduction

  • Inform students that timbre is the quality of a sound
  • Play a soundscape that is based on the seaside such as Fingal's Cave by Mendelssohn and ask the students what sounds they can hear
  • Discuss what instruments could make these sounds.

Body

  • Break class up into four groups
  • Each group will create their own soundscape with a different theme
  • Themes could include, the park, a schoolyard, a theme park or a rainforest
  • Give students a range of household items such as newspaper or tinfoil and a selection of available instruments
  • Allow students approximately 20 minutes in their groups to create their soundscape.

Conclusion

  • Students play their piece to the class
  • Ask audience what they think the group's theme is
  • Ensure all groups have a turn performing to the class.

Ashfield Public School as part of MyPL RG02217 Introduction to Music within the K-6 Creative Arts Syllabus

Outcome MUS3.4

Outcomes and other elements of the syllabus used are copyright. K–6 Creative Arts Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2006.

Introduction

Body

  • What is the difference between the two audio sections of the advertisement?  One audio section is ‘musical’, the other is not.
  • Refer to part of Experimental Music by John Cage. Discuss the concept of a range of audio sounds from a bird song to humming, from a washing machine to the ocean as being musical. Re-evaluate if a jackhammer is musical?

Conclusion

  • Explore music that samples a range of audio sounds including Infected Mushroom Heavy Weight (from beginning of the track), David August Epikur (from beginning), Burial Loner (cue to 7 minutes)
  • Have students find their own examples of audio sounds incorporated into music.

Ashfield Public School as part of MyPL RG02217 Introduction to Music within the K-6 Creative Arts Syllabus.

Outcomes MUS3.1, MUS3.2, MUS3.4

Outcomes and other elements of the syllabus used are copyright. K–6 Creative Arts Syllabus (2006) © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.

Introduction

Background knowledge: students will have read the text Free Diving by Lorrae Coffin. They have discussed the rhyming nature of the text as well as have examined the visual literacy of the text.

  • Reread the text and discuss the sorts of sounds that might be heard on each page
  • Focus on dynamics and tone colour. For example, sounds that would be heard underwater versus sounds out in the bush, sounds that might indicate someone being comforted, seagulls screaming and a captain yelling.
  • Question what percussion instruments could be selected to represent some of the sounds? Would they be loud or soft? Why would you choose those instruments?

Body

  • Students form small groups and experiment with creating a range of sounds to match the concepts in the book
  • Each group chooses their favourite sound and performs to the class a snippet of their idea. The rest of the class identifies which part of the text they are performing.
  • Assign each group a specific portion of the text
  • Provide enough time to select instruments, create percussion sequence and practice it.

Conclusion

  • Students form one large circle in the room
  • All groups perform jointly and then discuss the different effects produced by using different instruments in a variety of combinations.

Metella Road Public School as part of MyPL RG02217 Introduction to Music within the K-6 Creative Arts Syllabus

Teaching and learning activities

Early Stage 1 to Stage 3 resources from Vocal Ease modules 1-4. They provide strategies which can be adapted to suit the individual needs of students.

Resources

The following resources may be useful in the teaching of K–6 music:

  • Arts: live offers practical classroom resources for the arts
  • Musica Viva in Schools offers live music performances for schools as well as digital resources and professional development opportunities.
  • Music: Count us in provides professional development and resources leading up to the annual National Song Day.
  • Sydney Symphony Orchestra supplies resources, school programs and professional learning.

Infographic – Musical concepts explained

Musical concepts of duration – beat, rhythm, tempo, metre, pitch – high and low and melodic contour, dynamics – volume and changes of volume, tone colour – instrument sounds and styles and structure – how the sounds are put together.

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