Yesterday I subbed for 4thand 5thgrade music classes. From mid-1990s to 2000s I taught public school classroom music full time. Yesterday I was reminded of both the joys and struggles I experienced in that full time role and why I LOVE the sub role.
Not anticipating a music person, their music teacher, understandably, provided a movie. As a musician I felt a duty to these budding musicians and learned from the Band Director that the 4thgrade was working on duration and 5thon pitch. Wheels started rolling. (I never told them we were foregoing a movie!) Our Hopkinton school system is blessed with a particularly strong music program, so I had lots of resources. I got to use a piano, metallophone and percussion instruments for our lessons. The 5th grade got a lesson on pitch through the folk song ‘Drunken Sailor’ for 5thgrade pitch. (I later learned I should have subbed ‘Sleepy’ for ‘Drunken’. Oh my.) It was fun flying by the seat of my pants again. (Woops! Did I say again?)
The 4thgrade taught me about their ‘duration tree’ – descending from whole note to half notes to quarter notes to eighths. We practiced a fun Dalcroze Eurythmics time/space technique for pulling durations out through space and time. A whole note lasts for 4 beats. Instead of once clapping every four beats and keeping hands still in between, you keep one hand in the initial place of contact & pull out through the next three beats until releasing back to clap for the next measure. You’ve got it!
I forgot how much I love this stuff – in the sub role!