Sunday, June 30, 2013

Becoming part of the Orchastra - Peter Pan the musical

Today's musical adventure followed Peter Pan in Neverland (second act).  My intent was to just have them watch scenes along with this lesson, but trying to turn off or skip through this musical is practically impossible.  I was however able to pause before each musical number to give them a mini lesson so they could provide some very important elements to the background music.

As it so happens, because the girls didn't want me stopping or skipping through this musical, they were able to add to our lesson.  As we watched the scenes play out, the girls picked up on instruments and other sound effects they heard.  They then would find the instruments that they could play for those moments.  While Tinkerbell flies around the stage, they used their jingle bells. With the Crock, they used the tick tock of the metronome and for the mermaids the lap harp.

When setting up for this lesson, I provided them with a variety of instruments to play. Some of the instruments were specific to the lesson and others were for an experiment.  As a dance teacher, I find it interesting to watch how other choreographers pick up on music.  One artist may set the steps to a drum beat, were as another will pick up on perhaps the tune of a wind instrument.   Each individual is so unique in what they tune into and hear. So for some of the songs I wanted to give my girls the opportunity to explore the music on their own.  Just like two different choreographers, I wanted to see what their ears picked up on and how that would play out as they played along.

The second act opens with the Indians and a drum beat.

The rhythm of the drum

We used our buckets and rhythm sticks to give us that good bass drum sound.

In this musical, Hook provides us with a lesson in tempo's.  Before he sings a song, Smee asks, "What tempo Captain?" and he gives his answer.  I provided the girls with a visual on each type of song, giving them a time signature and rhythm.

The first song is "Hooks Tango"

As you can see, this song is in 4/4 time and we used tango rhythm number 1.

The girls played this rhythm with their castanets. Very fitting for a tango.

The Indians then had another song with a new drum beat and with this rhythm came a new symbol.

This is an accent over the note and it tells us to play the note stronger or louder.

The songs drum beat changes through the song but starts off with this rhythm and comes back to it.  I had the girls play this as a steady rhythm through the whole number.

The next song was called "Wendy" performed by Peter and the Lost Boys.  I had the girls play on their big piano the melody the boys sing. 

"We need a mother, at last we have a mother."

I had the girls play this with their feet on their BIG piano.

Next was the song "I Won't Grow Up".  In this song the lost boys repeat after Peter, so we played the part of the lost boys and sang with them. 

"Hook's Tarantella " is a bit too complex for them, but I was able to show them the rhythm as well as its 6/8 time signature.  

Counting the 6/8 time signature is even confusing for myself. I really just wanted the girls to see that there are different time signatures as well as show them how the different rhythm patterns make up the songs.  For this song I let the girls listen and pick out the sounds and instruments they wanted as part of the experiment.

"Ugh a Wug" is my favorite number in this whole performance!  The song is filled with amazing drum beats and Stomp type choreography that includes rhythm sticks!  The girls were able use their rhythm from the previous Indian song.

They only used this rhythm for a short while, but with their buckets and rhythm sticks they were easily able to pick up on new rhythms.  There is even a section were Peter begins playing a mambo rhythm on the drum.  It was very entertaining to watch my little crazy's feel the music and naturally pound out beats.

We finished with "Hook's Waltz"

The girls learned how to waltz last summer during one of our dance lessons.  This song comes in a 3/4 time signature. Playing the rhythm you count 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, and while dancing you say step, ball, change, step, ball, change.  The rhythm is very easy to follow. We used our rhythm sticks to tap out the 1, 2, 3.

After this lesson with the girls, my mind seems to be racing with ideas to build upon.  I hope to be able to write out a more detailed curriculum but wonder if I will ever find the time.  For now I must take off my teacher hat, put on the chef's hat and head to the kitchen.  Tonight, in honor of our theme we shall eat Codfish!

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