SCHOOL-SONG

1693

SCHOOL-SONG

senting. The broad vowel and breathing involved in the word "blow" furnish the material for a good music-lesson, as does the tempo, fast and slow, which can be converted into accented time and divided beat, again to be defined by clapping, tapping or marking on the board. The last part of the song repeats phrases of the first and second part, thus closing in good musical form. In this song we have a capital story in music and words, vowel-coloring, repetition of phrases, rhythm, dramatic representation and musical form, besides the suggestions arising from a well-composed accompaniment.

Stevenson's Bring the Comb (Modern Music Series, First Book) pictures a mimic band and soldier drill, presenting the problems of rhythm in a playful way. The soldiers mark time and keep step to the drum-beat of the two strong pulses of the measure. In clapping out the pattern of the fife and rat-a-tat-tat of the snare-drum and, later, with the aid of drums and toy instruments, the children define the melody, learning to contrast the elements of time and tune.

For further illustrations in pitch and time, such songs as The Chicken and Katydid (Knowlton) will be helpful for pitch-studies in high, low and medium tones of songs. Neidlinger's Robin and Squirrel give good practice in ascending and descending passages. The rhythmic suggestion in Snow-Balls and Scissors-Grinder (Knowlton) will be freely acted. Favorite rhymes and Mother Goose will serve for initial time-lessons in recognizing groups of twos, threes and fours. Miss Bentley's song-primer, the Zoo, Clock and others give happy suggestions of scale, pitch, time and rhythm lessons for this first period.

First Step. Through these songs the child is introduced to a concrete, musical experience, which must tend to vitalize all his later study. Here he learns to express himself freely in song, to respond to rhythm and to appreciate harmony. On account of his limited power, he will distribute his interest equally over words, rhythm and melody. The words of the song will be helpful in enlarging his vocabulary, in making associations with color, sound, motion and number. The motor-side of music will strongly appeal, leading out into gesture and dramatic action in rhythms, games and dances. The child also becomes familiar with a variety of musical forms, which prepare him for future analysis and reasoning.

Advanced Step. The ear-training and naming of pitch from songs of the preceding stage are followed by translating from memory into syllables; also by recording them in notation. This will be found a helpful transitional step to the sight-singing of the next grade. Simple tonic phrases

from Knowlton's What Robin Told, The Crow, The Postman, The Soldier, "Workshop's Primer" (Modern Music Series) have been offered by the children, when asked to sing parts of songs from memory.

Original song-making on the part of the children at this period helps to define the phrase and lead to music-construction. The song-sentence, the couplet and quatrain both in words and music can thus be produced, acquainting children with meter and time groups in a practical way.

Folk-games and dances related to the work of the grade carry on the training in rhythm and unite the musical experiences in a larger dramatic whole. Some of the old guild-dances, Shoemaker, The Wool-Weaving and Harvest-Dances of a more formal kind take the place of the freer dramatic games of the earlier period.

The teaching points to be gained might be stated as follows : To gain the expressive use of song,

1.  The character of the song should be dramatic and directly related to the child's interest and to school subjects. The song should be used as a story, told in simple language with melody and rhythm directly representative of the content of the words.

2.  The vocal aim at this period is to gain fluency of utterance in word and tone. A close relation between tone and language should be kept by means of a study of imitative sounds and words, as expressed in the songs. The children should learn to recognize and group sounds by their qualities, as round, sharp, bright, rolling or humming, leading to combined vocal and reading phonetics. In this way simple vocal exercises in oh, ah, e and 00 will be drawn directly from the song, as suggested in the Blow, Wind. Breath-exercises should be developed in the same way.

3.  Pitch will first be discovered as sounds in nature and environment are represented, in such songs as Call of Crow, Katydid and Steam-Whistle. This will first be described as high, low and medium, gradually defining the scale. The sequence of tones, or expressive pitch used in the phrases of the songs, develops melody.

4.  Rhythm will first be defined by the motions and movements of the body, power to walk, run, skip and march, in the imitations of nature and movements of things these will be further defined by clapping, marching, skipping and acting the various songs as above shown. Thus the pulse or beat becomes . recognized by the child through his own self-activity.

5.  Corrective work. At this period the monotones can be treated in a special group, ear-training and ' dividual help being given to those deficient in music.

Books of reference : Elliott's Mother Goose; L. and J. Orth's Mother Goose; Reinecke's Children'. Songs; E. Smith's