MUSIC SKILLS at HULLABALOO

Developing our “Music skills” is the term we use broadly to mean learning the basics of music theory, practice and appreciation.
Everything we do in class contributes to the children’s development as mini-musicians, and as far as the children are concerned they are just learning new songs, playing games and having fun.

The following music skills are covered throughout the course of the programmes and are generally just incorporated into the sessions as part and parcel of the whole experience:

1. Investigating & Exploring Sound

  • Listening to voices, instruments & everyday sounds.
  • Contrasts & similarities between sounds and noises.
  • Sound quality & timbre.
  • Dynamics (forte & piano), silence & length of sound.

2. Sensing Music – Beat, Pulse & Speed

  • Keeping the beat whilst music is played.
  • Responding to the pulse of the music through movement
  • Recognising changes in speed FAST, SLOW, PLAY and STOP!
  • Sensing mood & expression.

3. Pitch

  • Memorising melodies
  • High/low contrast
  • Pitch control (singing in tune)
  • Repeating basic tunes. (Notation)

4. Basic Rhythm

  • Keeping time – clapping in groups of 3 or 4 beats.
  • Copying rhythmic patterns
  • Playing patterns in a group (Note lengths & notation).

As you can see, a lot of thought goes into what appears to be just a fun time with music – unbeknown to the children, who never know that they’re learning all of this great stuff, as mostly we’re just making a lot of noise!

Once the children are older, we do start to get a bit more technical, and I have written some modules that introduce some of the themes listed above, in a more structured way (see below). These are really aimed at the 3.5 year olds and above, and I’m careful to keep it short, to make sure we don’t get information overload!

  • Animal Beats deals with note lengths (crotchets, minims, quavers etc) and I have designed some fun rhymes to help the children understand how the different notes “sound”. ‘Crotchet the Cat’ seems to be the favourite at the moment, but each of the notes (or beats) has its own friendly animal to meet!
  • Dynamic Duos is all about how we can play in different ways to make our music more interesting. Amongst others, we learn to play loudly and quietly (dynamics) and slowly and quickly (tempo), and we learn the correct musical terms (or words) for how we are playing too. The children are always delighted when Pippa Piano, Freddie Forte or Slow Flo and Quick Nick come to visit..
  • Rhythm Rascals are a group of animals puppets that each have a name & rhyme corresponding to particular rhythm or note pattern. The children have to concentrate and clap or play the simple rhythm repetitively, without getting faster, slower or out of time. Tricky but fun!