Performance Programs for K, 1, 5, 6
May 5, 2013 at 2:33 pm #23692
I have recently accepted a teaching position for general music grades K, 1, 5, and 6. Each grade will do one performance per year. I would love to have ideas of programs you have used in the past for these grades. If you create your own programs, give me some theme ideas and song ideas that you have used. I will not have a budget for an accompanist and do not want to accompany myself as I feel it is more important for me to be directing. I prefer to choreograph all songs. I do not mind using CD accompaniments. I am planning on purchasing a notation program that has the capacity to scan accompaniments into the computer and burn CDs. Also, ideas on how long I should allot for preparation for a program would be helpful. My classes will only meet once per week for 55 minutes. Thanks for the ideas and tips.May 23, 2013 at 2:47 pm #24273
get to know your students and see what they would like to do. If you can get them to own their performances they will work for you. Let them use their imagination and create. I always like telling students that we will share what we have learned with our parents and friends. This takes the stress out of billing something as a performance.May 25, 2013 at 6:00 pm #24288
My programs are all seasonal : Winter / Holiday songs, Black History and Spring (the theme of which varies each year). For K/1 definitely incorporate motions and simple lyrics. CD / mp3 accompaniments are fine; I use them regularly with my choir so that we can program fun music. (For mp3s, Amazon is my best friend – $1 each give or take. Search for Karaoke Version.) I agree that you should talk to people in your building and get a feel of what has been done before, what they would like to see / hear done. Here are some ideas for a spring program for K and 1: color songs, animal songs, nature songs.
Grades 5 and 6 are tricky because the children want to be / act older than they really are. Though they may be pre-teen, treat them like 15 year-olds. This means give them choices, definitely incorporate popular music and some dance steps!! Again, see what you have to work with. You may have some students who have been dancing or singing since first grade who are anxious to solo. You may have students who play an instrument outside of school; that’s something you should incorporate into your performance. Maybe a student or teacher could provide a light accompaniment to one piece in your performance!! In any case, in this level you should get them singing in two parts. Harmonic singing would be perfect in a Black History program. Perform Lift Ev’ry Voice in two parts (lower voices sing a downward step pattern, upper voices melody). Consider getting some inspiration from Glee or High School Musical, though the latter is a bit old for today’s students. The only problem with these pieces is that they’re obviously still under copyright, so you’d have to purchase a book for a copy of the score. (Unless a friend or colleague has a copy. Ask around.) The good news is that you won’t violate copyright laws if you make your own arrangement of a copyrighted piece. If you print your version and try to sell it as your own without permission, then you’re in trouble.
Preparation time: Allow at least 3 months to prepare for a program. I’ve done Winter / Holiday programs with 2 months of rehearsals, but those were intense rehearsals and very stressful. (I was once hired as a permanent sub six weeks before the concert and the principal answered me “of course we still want to have a concert!!”) Of course you want your kids to know the songs COLD – ideally memorized so that they won’t have to use song sheets. Ask your 5 and 6th graders to practice the songs for homework. K and 1s will likely happily sing the songs to their parents w/o being asked to.
Introduce the songs part by part, unless it’s a very simple song. Break them down: chant the words rhythmically (with or without a score in the kids’ hands – 5 and 6) then add the melody. When you think they have it, play games: give a rhythm stick to one student and ask the students to each sing a line of the song when they get “the singing stick” or whatever you want to call it! (In Elementary teaching, teachers often use a microphone or “talking stick” as a visual / distraction for getting students to read alone.) …. 55 minutes is a lot of time – lucky you!! Break up the time into 10 or 15 minute increments – even for older kids. That’s a magic number for children of all ages. After that they tend to check out, even if playing a game. You might have the kids listen to a recording of a piece you will teach them — have words or a score in front of them — then have them stand and echo you on rhythmic chanting of the words, or clapping the rhythm of the words.October 1, 2013 at 3:29 pm #29737
Our Kindergarten has performed a Halloween/Fall themed program and a Thanksgiving/Fall themed program in the past. We use short poems and short songs, many of which are familiar tunes that I have changed the lyrics to. Lots of hand motions, props and moving around. This year we are doing a literacy based program, Songs you can Read and Books you can Sing, such as Raffi, Brown Bear (to the tune of Twinkle), Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Pete the Cat and others. I teach the songs in music class, the teachers reinforce in the classrooms on chart paper and smartboards. The classroom teachers sit in front of the kids during the concert doing hand motions and holding cue cards. I play piano. 55 minutes is a LOOOOOONG time for K music!!!!
Our 1st grade does a Winter Concert which is half them alone and half an audience sing-a-long. 5th and 6th grade can definitely use octavos and traditional varied choral music. Check the Pepper website for their basic library and editors choice selections and the ACDA website.
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