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Music Forum

I attended an Arts Education Forum recently where professionals and educators shared their experiences of music education in schools. Many shared how they infused music into the school curriculum, with the ultimate goal of making music fun and enjoyed by all without the stigma of music being for the "elites".

Music can be taught in a fun way in schools, to get everyone hyped. One school shared on how they combined music and the arts into one, and the students came up with really good projects infusing the two. Another school shared on how some games can be used to build on the topic to be taught. A teacher shared one game with us where she divided the group into three, and we were instructed on what to respond when she called out the phrase.

The following 'I Like Coffee' is a rhythm game getting students to perform fun, syncopated rhythms by using the rhythm of words. This is extracted from the book 'Music Alive' and shared to us during the forum by Caroline Anne Francis:

The students are to be divided into 3 groups, either the teacher or a student can be the caller. It is best to get the students to familiar themselves with their responses and after running it through a few times, they can add their own trash band music using different instruments.

Caller: I like coffee, I like bananas

All: He likes coffee, he likes bananas

Caller: I like coffee, I like bananas

All: He likes coffee, he likes bananas

Caller: One, Two

All: Three Four!

Group 1: Sitting down, drinking my teat (starting quietly)

Group 1&2: Sitting down, drinking my tea (louder)

Groups 1, 2 & 3: Sitting down, dirknking my teat (even louder)

Caller: I like bananas, I like bananas

Group 1: Sitting down, drinking my tea (Starting quietly)

Groups 1 & 2: Sitting down , drinking my tea (louder)

Groupus 1,2 & 3: Sitting down, drinking my tea (even louder)

Caller: I like coffee, I like coffee

Group1: Sitting down drining my teat

Groups 1&2: Sitting down, drinking my tea

Groups 1,2&3: Sitting down, drinking my tea

Caller: I like bananas

All (shouted): Yes he does!

This is a good example when teaching syncopated rhythm by using the rhythm of the words to help students understand and later to read syncopated notes on the score.

A variety of other games can be used based on local delicacies. Example: A call and response can be incorporated using our favorite local food: Char Kway Tway. There can be a conversation with rhythm going on between a seller and his customer.

As music educators, one of the most important thing is not only to infuse fun and creativity when teaching students but also that the objective of the lesson is achieved through these 'fun' sessions. Many ideas can be created through our everyday lives. One example that I know of was a group of African postal workers, who made the mundane work of stamping letters into an interesting rhythmic drone using everyday objects they find in the postal office, eg; scissors, the stamping action, the desk etc. Music can be fun if some creativity and thought is put into it.

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