Class Composition Using So, La, and Mi

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day:
Class Composition Using So, La, and Mi

Suggested Grade Level:

Late First Grade, Early Second Grade

Objectives:

  • Students decipher eighth and quarter notes by ear
  • Students compose and notate melody using So, La, and Mi
  • Students play melody on Orff instruments from written notation

Materials: 

  • Orff instruments, as many as possible
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
  • Smartboard or whiteboard
  • Staff paper
  • Rhythmic manipulatives or whiteboard slates

xylosBackground Knowledge:

  • Knowledge of quarter notes and eighth notes
  • Practice dictating rhythms by ear
  • Knowledge of So, La, and Mi and how to notate it on the music staff

Process:

Day One:

  • Teacher (T) reads Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day to students (S), inviting them to join in reading the refrain (“terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day”) rhythmically

Day Two:

  • T reminds students of refrain from previous lesson
  • T breaks students into groups to decipher the rhythm using manipulatives (e.g. popsicle sticks) or small whiteboards
  • T and S discuss rhythm, display on Smartboard or class whiteboard
  • Read story again, replacing refrain with rhythm reading using ta and ti-ti and patting the rhythm with alternating hands

Day Three:

  • T and S review identifying/reading So, La, and Mi on the music staff
  • T and S review rhythm deciphered during last class
  • T and S jointly practice adding pitch to the rhythmic refrain on the Smartboard or whiteboard using So, La, and Mi in C
  • S lead in designing new melody for rhythmic refrain
  • S sing the melody as written
  • S notate melody on staff paper

Day Four:

  • T and S review the student-created melody from last class
  • T breaks students into groups and set instruments in C pentatonic
  • S practice playing student-created melody on Orff Instruments

Day Five:

  • S practice in small groups to review melody
  • T reads Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day aloud and S play refrain on instruments. S rotate within their group after each playing.
  • Optional extension or workaround for rooms with few instruments: student groups design and perform dramatic re-enactment of story events during the reading.

About Shannon Pahl

Shannon Pahl

Shannon Pahl is a music and movement educator for K-5 students in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Augustana College, and received both her Master of Music and Master of Library and Information Science from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has been published in the Orff Echo and has completed all levels of Orff Schulwerk certification.

4 Comments

Jeremy Hill

Thanks for sharing a great lesson! Looking forward to using it with younger students this year.

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