Pied Piper

Lesson Plan for nursery school, 30 – 50 month old, by Rania

Duration: approx 20 minutes

Scroll down for full lesson plan downloading options

Aim of Session: exercise the imagination of the children
Skill:  following, leading, responding to stimulus, imitating from memory and imitating someone directly, motor skills, listening, coordination, musical skills (pulse, rhythm, melody, form)
Knowledge: body parts, keeping a pulse, using a musical instrument, difference between sound and silence / movement and stopping

Description of Session

A form of “Pied the Piper” session, where through musical activities the children will follow your lead. It is a theatrical session where you become a different character and take the children on a magical musical journey.

(consider reading this, my thoughts between being a music entertainer or being yourself, if the thought on becoming another character is at least unpleasant)

1. Warm up – combine movements
2. Calming music and sway like trees
3a. March around the room and shake or tap the instrument when you make a step.
3b. Pretend to be ants marching in the forest [create movement sequences where you move and stop.
4. Leaders take turns
5. Nursery rhyme (Walking through the Jungle)
6. Goodbye song

Music Suggestions

  1. MARCHING ANTS: Kevin Alexander Wilson; Lick Twenty – 7 Blue
  2. SWAYING MUSIC: Lucy Hollingworth; I Lay Down By The Riverside And Dreamed

Classical music suggestions
For swaying or relaxing at the end of the session: Mademoiselle Bocquet; Allemande 

View full lesson plan including tips and explanations, covid-19 tips, and EYFS links Googls Docs here

© Rania Chrysostomou, 2020, lesson plan for nursery schools music  

Lesson Plan | Nature / Animals

Lesson Plan for nursery school, 
16 – 26 month old, by Rania

“When in doubt,” a mentor of mine once told me, “talk about animals, sing about animals, just use animals, or food, or nature. I don’t know why but children love them!” So, here is a lesson plan that can be focused around ainmals or nature. I would suggest focusing on one of these for the age group I am recommending here. This lesson plan can easily be used for older children but of course your expectations will be a little bit different.

and on Google Docs. Also check my previous lesson plan here

Duration: approx 20 minutes

Aim of Session: Listen and move to the music, follow directions and trigger imagination
Skill:  observation, memory, imitation, being social, listening, gross motor skills
Knowledge: Learn about the outdoors, nature, natural sounds, animals and animal sounds, observation and imitation

Description of the Session
  1. Warm up
  2. Sing 2 songs about nature / animals
  3. Show pictures of animals — moves and make sound inspired by the picture
  4. With a hand drum: name animals and children move according to that. Hit the drum rhythmically, mimicking the animal’s or plant’s march, behaviour, posture etc…
  5. Music on: Musical statues with music that is about nature or animals. Move with the children. Ask the children to represent a specific animal when they move (check tips)
  6. Sing 2 songs
  7. Warm down music

music source (tablet, iPad), music*, books/pictures of nature and animals, drum (and a mallet)

Music suggestions:

  1. Woodwings – Emily Doolittle (consider buying music) 
  2. The Swan Brings Winter on its Wings – Esther Hopkins
  3. Wanderlust – Marta Lozano Molano
  4. Mountain Dances – I. Thin Air – Kimberly Osberg

Warm down music: The Linden Tree – Misha Mullov-Abbado performed by The Hermes Experiment

Song Suggestion:

  1. The Animal fair
  2. Rub-a-dub-a-dub
  3. 1-2-3-4-5 once I caught a fish alive
  4. Walking through the jungle

Tips for Music Practitioner in Nursery

  1. Focus the lesson plan around animals or nature
  2. The music suggestions I give are only suggestions.
  3. Try as much as you can to incorporate music written in modern times.
  4. Participate as much as possible in the session.
  5. Younger children might not easily get the concept of musical statues. That is okay.

© Rania Chrysostomou, 2020, lesson plan for nursery schools music 

Properties of Sound – Envelope

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

(not this envelope🠁!) Read the article and find out games about Duration here
The Envelope of a sound, or a note in our instance. 

People interested in sound, when they talk about the Envelope of a sound they refer to the shape or contour of the sound as it evolves over time.
A simple envelope consists of three parts: 
Attack | Sustain | Decay. 
Or as used in music production: 
Attack | Decay | Sustain | Release

As always with these posts, we will examine the instruments in their most basic form. If a typical student that has been learning an instrument for two months was asked to describe the three parts of a sound, of a note they produce on their instrument what would they say? 

Produce a note with minimal and adequate effort in the middle (or easiest) register of each instrument. Also, imagining we’re in a very dry room, no reverb / echo. If you have a piano, do not use the pedal and instead try to hear the natural shape of the sound coming from your keys.

An acoustic guitar has a sharp attack, little sustain and a rapid decay. A piano has a sharp attack, medium sustain, and medium decay. Voice, wind, and string instruments can shape the individual attack, sustain, and decay portions of the sound (here). We know that we can manipulate the ASD of all instruments but it takes effort and practice. For now, familiarise yourself with the most basic form of the envelope of your instrument. 

Game 1:
The lottery of the animals’ walk

Photo by Robert Coelho on Unsplash

Write on pieces of paper different animals (giraffe, antilope, snake, frog, and so on…). Put those papers in a hat. Draw an animal at a time and just by using your instrument try to mimic their walk while the other person tries to guess what animal it is.

By adjusting the quality of your playing to better describe each animal you were playing with articulation. When classical musicians talk about the envelope of a note they will use the word articulation: staccato and legato, and all that is in between and beyond.

Another thing to notice about the envelope of the notes on your instrument is that notes in the extreme registers have a significantly (using the word very generously) different envelope. On the guitar, a very high note on the high E string will have a smaller decay than playing the lowest E string. 

Game 2
It will never happen(?)

Find the differences between the registers on your instrument going from high to low. Then try to match the envelope of a high note with the envelope of a low note. Use anything you have available (still no electronics until you hear all the faint sub-sounds your instrument makes naturally).

Game 3
Story in the Envelope

Articulation defines the character of a melody. Play the same melody with different articulation. Play 5 consecutive notes of equal length on your instrument and try to create a story through articulating each note differently than the one before it and after it. 

Game 3a

Add some more characters now, people you know, feelings, and add chords as well as individual notes. Once you start experimenting with this you’ll hear some accents, sharp brutally cut off sounds, mellow intertwined sounds, merging different articulation effects and even creating ones never used before!

I encourage you (and you, your students) to play using their whole body and face. Make grimace faces, move around as the character might to get a good feeling of articulating musical sentences. I like how nerdy this exercise is as it also awakens the desire to look up other styles of music and their characteristics. And I think it’s a fun way to do a bit of conditioning and technique.

I think playing around with the envelope – articulation – of a melody is like punctuation. It needs to be convincing to make sense.
So play with courage!

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

© Rania Chrysostomou, 2020