New term, new Robins
The start of a new academic year brings new Robins and I visited Bisley Primary School last week to see how Year 3 enjoyed their first singing class.
The session started with a warm-up exercise called Funky Chicken. Each Primary Robins teacher has their own warm-up exercises and Year 3 loved this one, the whole class jumping around with lots of energy and clucking at different pitches, different tempi and with changing dynamics.
Next came a tongue twister to warm up the facial muscles: “The tip of the tongue, the teeth, the lips etc.”
The first song from Songbook One is Edelweiss from The Sound of Music. We talked about how it is in 3/4 time and is, therefore, like a waltz and that Edelweiss is an Austrian flower.
When we looked at the manuscript a little girl said it was like a map – the notes showed us where to go. We looked at how the notes went higher and lower depending where there were on the stave.
We asked them to think about diction and, when asked if anyone knew what we were talking about, someone said, “Dictionary!” How right, diction being all about words.
We moved on to The Muffin Man, and sang it in many different ways. First he was a slow sad muffin man and then he became an excited muffin man – sung at lightning speed.
A brand new school started this week, so there are now Robins at Nightingale Primary School on Blackbird Lane.
We begin with the basics such as – where does the voice come from? Vibrating vocal folds. What gives them energy? Breath and how to breathe correctly – filling the stomach up like a balloon.
The warm ups here were more traditional – scales sung to numbers, then mixing up the order which is a real brain challenge.
We started with Puff the Magic Dragon – the children made a beautiful sound and it was noticeable that, after a few times, they really began to sing through the phrases.
London’s Burning is always a hit and there is stiff competition over which class can sing it in the most parts – this week the winners were Kestrel class.
At the end of one of the classes a little girl came up to me and said, “Wow, that was great! I don’t want it to end.”
The joy that singing brings to so many of the children is wonderful and I have seen over the last six years that music really does have the power to change lives.
Meanwhile, Year 4 at Ottershaw Junior School are working hard learning songs ready for their concert at Guildford Cathedral on 24 October at 11:15am. Please join us if you can.