Never Sleep Late Anymore
by BethAnn Hepburn and Roger Sams
We trust you and your young students will enjoy this lesson taken from Purposeful Pathways: Possibilities for the Elementary Music Classroom, Book Three – by BethAnn Hepburn and Roger Sams. Designed to encourage active music making, this lesson includes pathways to rhythm, literacy, partwork, ensemble, and improvisation. A printable version can be found here.
PATHWAY TO Rhythm: Eurhythmics treble-bass follow exercise
- Students begin in scattered space and walk to the steady beat, which you play on a low pitch on temple blocks or piano.
- Students continue walking the steady beat while you play 4-beat echo patterns on a higher pitch. Students echo these rhythm patterns (clapping) while walking the steady beat.
- Begin with even rhythms then introduce syncopated rhythms. Example:
Teacher Talk: Moving from simplicity to complexity
When teaching students to follow the beat and rhythm at the same time it is important to start simply and move incrementally toward more complex rhythms. Begin with the students echoing quarter notes and progress sequentially through the more difficult rhythm patterns found in the song.
- Continue to practice rhythms until the class is successful walking the beat while simultaneously clapping the rhythmic echo. Emphasize rhythms that contain syncopation.
- For an advanced challenge have the students step the rhythm in their feet and clap the steady beat in their hands.
- Students read the rhythm of the song.
- Use the solfa tone ladder to prepare the tone set of the song. Ask the students to sing what you point to. After you have presented patterns from the song, point out the entire song on the solfa tone ladder.
- Students sing the melody from rhythmic notation with solfa
- Students sing the melody, with solfa and hand signs, reading from the staff.
- Students sing the melody with text.
PATHWAY TO Partwork: Rhythmic Ostinato
- Perform the BP ostinato. Ask the students to join you when they are ready. (simultaneous imitation)
- Students sing the song, while patting and clapping the rhythmic ostinato. Establish the ostinato before adding the singing.
- Transfer to BP ostinati to tubanos, or other large drums, producing low sounds (bass) with the palm of the hand near the center of the drum (pats) and high sounds (tone) with the fingertips near the rim of the drum (claps). Pat becomes bass and clap become tone. Encourage the students to alternate hands.
PATHWAY TO Partwork: Song with descant
- Students read the rhythm of the descant.
- Students play the rhythm of the descant on soprano recorder on the note B.
- Students sing the letter names for the BAG version and practice recorder fingerings with recorders resting in finger position on their chins.
- Students play the BAG version on recorder.
- Divide the class in half. Half sings the song. Half plays the BAG version of the recorder descant. Trade parts.
- Students sing the letter names for the advanced version and practice recorder fingerings with recorders on their chins.
- Students play the advanced version on recorder.
- Divide the class in half. Half sings the song. Half plays the advanced version of the recorder descant. Trade parts.
- Consider singing in two parts.
PATHWAY TO Ensemble: Split moving bordun, descant, countermelody, and BP ostinato
- Model patting and singing solfa for the BX/BM ostinato. Ask the students to join you when they have figured out the pattern. (simultaneous imitation)
- Divide the class in half. Half sings and pats the BX/BM ostinato. Half sings the song. Trade parts.
- Transfer BX/BM ostinato to barred instruments and put together with singers.
- Model patting and singing solfa for the AX ostinato. Ask the students to join you when they have figured out the pattern. (simultaneous imitation) If using a text is a support for your students, use the following text while teaching the ostinato.
- Divide the class in half. Half sings and pats the BX/BM ostinato. Half sings and pats the AX ostinato. Trade parts.
- Transfer this split moving bordun to barred instruments and put together with singers.
- Perform the BP part for the students, patting when the text says “alternating hands, both” and clapping and stamping as the text indicates. Ask them to count how many times you perform the opening motive. (seven)
- Ask the students to perform this BP motive with you seven times and then add three stamps as a final cadence.
- Divide the class in half. Half performs the BP. Half sings the song. Trade parts.
- Add the BP part to the arrangement.
- Students read the SX melodic ostinato, singing solfa with hand signs.
- Students prepare the SX ostinato by singing solfa and patting their legs, moving up and down as if they are a barred instrument.
- Transfer this ostinato to SX and add to the arrangement.
- Put all of the percussion parts together with singers.
- Add the SR (or singing) descant and put the entire arrangement together.
PATHWAY TO Improvisation: Question and Answer with focus on how tonic functions
- Set up the barred instruments in G=do pentatonic. Acclimate the students to the pitch set with singing and playing 4-beat solfa echo patterns.
- Model singing the improvisation structure for the students.
- Model question and answer improvisation for the students. Explain that the phrases are eight beats long, beginning with singing and ending with barred instrument improvisation. Ask them to determine what the difference between your questions and your answers. Model questions that do not end on do and answers that do end on do.
- Divide the class in half. Half the class sings the beginning of the question and then completes it with four beats of barred instrument improvisation not ending on do. The other half of the class answers by singing and then improvising for four beats, ending on do. Trade parts.
- Ask the students to figure out how to play, “Wake up, you sleepy head!” on the barred instruments.
- Repeat the process with the students playing everything, rather than singing and playing.
- Give the students an opportunity to improvise a question and answer chorus in the context of the entire 32 beats of the full orchestration.
- Put together with the song in a satisfying final form.