A melody and movement lesson for Grades 1-2
- Demonstrate melodic patterns that include same/different and 3-pitch melodies
- Demonstrate rhythmic patterns that include quarter note, paired eighth notes, and quarter rest
- Demonstrate a steady beat while contrasting rhythms are being performed
- Play and identify pitched percussion instruments
- Melodic percussion instruments and mallets (xylophones, metallophones and glockenspiels)
- Colored Scarves for movement
- Teach the song through directed listening and echo.
- Invite students to listen as the teacher sings the song and ask what they noticed (the colors, rhymes, words/patterns that get more than one turn). How many times did the melodic phrase “Autumn leaves, autumn leaves” happen? (4x). Ask students to echo that phrase, use hand signs for solfeggio if desired. Notate this phrase (see visuals).
- Ask students to sing that part of the song while the teacher sings the rest. Trade parts. Then sing the whole song in unison.
- Once the complete melody is secure, introduce the xylophone accompaniment to the notated phrase. Demonstrate and practice the pattern initially using body percussion – patting legs; transfer to instruments. Set the instruments in Do pentatonic on C, removing the Fs and the Bs. For 1st grade consider a chord bordun on the beat, and for 2nd grade an alternating broken bordun (notated in the score). Rotate for turns, so that every student has a turn to play this part of the accompaniment. If necessary, two students can share a xylophone – one playing in the lower octave and one in the upper octave.
- Review the song. Ask students “What other part of the song occurs more than once?” (The colors – red, gold, orange, brown). How many times? (2)
- Invite students to add a snap one each color word. Transfer to metallophones. With the metallophones set up in Do pentatonic on C, students may strike any two bars on each color word. Rotate for turns so that all have a chance to play this part. Combine with the xylophone accompaniment from the previous day.
- Sing the song together again. Ask students to notice the rhyming words (swirling all around; falling to the ground). Introduce the students to the glockenspiel part that will ‘interrupt’ the song, playing a special part after each of these phrases. After singing “swirling all around”, the glockenspiels improvise swirling, stirring sounds using sliding and glissandos with all bars on. After singing “falling to the ground”, each glockenspiel player strikes each note in turn from the highest note to the lowest note on their instrument one time – like leaves falling from the tree. This does not have to be in a unison tempo.
- Introduce a colored scarf movement to pair with the glockenspiel part. If possible, pair a scarf dancer with a glockenspiel player so that at the end, the last note of the scale corresponds to their dancer’s last leaf falling. Dancers can follow the player, or the player can follow the dancer. Dancers are scattered and “planted” in the space holding scarves in the colors mentioned in the song and other fall colors. During the first glockenspiel improv their scarves and limbs move like they are being blown by the wind. During the last descending scale, their scarf leaves are dropped one by one. Scarves can be tossed into the air and allowed to float to the ground, or simply dropped one at a time.
- With students working in pairs – one on glockenspiel, one as the tree holding colored scarves – sing the song with the extension and then trade parts.
- This is the day to put the whole piece together. Everyone sings and all have a special part – either as a scarf dancer or as an instrument player. Review the song, remind students of each of the accompanying parts – xylophones for “Autumn leave, autumn leaves”, metallophones in clusters on the color words “red, gold, orange, brown” and the glockenspiels improvising after “swirling all around” and the high to low scale for the falling leaves after “falling to the ground”. Consider inviting the classroom teacher to come and watch and/or capture a video to share with parents.
Day Five (optional extension)
- Practice melodic dictation using the melodic tone set of this song. Focus on one 3-note grouping at a time: Sol-La-Mi and Mi-Re-Do. Either a 2-line staff or 5-line staff may be used.
Click here to download a pdf of Karen’s lesson plan.
Sign up for latest Orff Tips, Lesson Plans and Advocacy Tools
Empower your students to create their own music in this free 3-day challenge with Roger Sams. (Lessons delivered via email)
Learn about the legendary factory that started it all and why so many teachers like you love our instruments.