Students learn basic drum patterns to play together, begin to improvise their own beats, and sing along with simple American folk songs performed by their teacher. The students also gain familiarity with music from different cultures through listening to recordings, guided discussions, and video samples. Students will study and play the music of Indonesia, called Gamelan music, using the xylophones and drums we have in our classroom. Students learn the music through reading notation, singing and memorizing the parts, and instrumental practice.
During the Spring Semester at Westshire students will design and build musical instruments out of natural materials and install them in their forest classrooms. In the process they will learn about acoustics, tuning, and resonance. With the help of Mr. Bolles, they will also compose and play new music on their creations. When the weather is good, classroom instruments can be added to the orchestra. During poor weather, students will continue their explorations of world music and American popular song using our collection of classroom instruments.
Fifth grade students are building their own drums in preparation for forming a "parade band." This band will play outdoor "drum line" type music from different world drumming traditions and popular favorites. The class is run in a workshop style designed to foster team building and group problem solving. Students will learn basic techniques for arranging music, reading music, and ensemble playing. Students with independent music practices will have opportunities to add their instrument to the group sound.