Students Learn “The Heartbeat of Music”

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Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)

Students at Covington-Harper Elementary School were in the Valentine’s Day spirit last week. While learning various music concepts they created musical valentines for each other.

Jennifer Nichols, music teacher at Covington-Harper Elementary, used the unique lesson to teach musical notation, music literacy, music composition, and music performance. Four heart shapes were displayed on the Smart Board to represent the beats, representing the difference between a steady beat and rhythm. Next, the class thought of one-syllable and two-syllable words using a Valentine’s Day theme.

“I introduced students to music symbols including quarter notes (paired with our one- syllable words that we refer to as “ta”), paired eighth notes (referred to it as “ti-ti”), and quarter rest (known as “sh”) using simplified notation,” Nichols said.

To compose their own musical valentines, students used small Popsicle sticks arranged on laminated heart shaped cut-outs which represented the four steady beats. They wrote one- and two-syllable words below the accompanying musical notes to create their song. Students performed the musical valentines when they delivered them to fellow classmates.

Students sang the book “There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Roses” by Lucille Colandro. They also learned the lyrics and melody to Woody Guthrie’s song “Mail Myself to You.” Both were tied to the Valentine’s Day-themed music lessons.

“The students all walked out of class singing ‘Mail Myself to You’ and enjoyed composing and receiving “mail”/musical valentines from one another,” Nichols said.

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