SCHOOL-SONG

1694

SCHOOL-SONG

Kindergarten Songs (Vols. I. and II) ; Neid-linger's Small Sangs for Small Singers (in Earth, Air and Sky Series) ; Knowlton's Nature Songs; Hill's Songs for Children, Bentley's Song Primer; Hofer's Singing Games and Popular Folk Games and Dances, Modern Music Series; Primer, First and Second Book, Ed. Music Course, Ginn and Co. See Teacher's College Record, January, 1904 r 7"he Teaching of Elementary Music far fuller discussion of this subject.

INVESTIGATIVE PERIOD

First Step. Proceeding into the second neriod, songs become more and more the material for theoretical investigation on the part of the pupil. In this distinct stepping over, the esthetic element of song is pushed somewhat into the background. To avoid the dullness which usually creeps into singing at this point, the situation should be strongly reinforced with interesting, descriptive songs, which still retain their vital qualities.

Illustrations : Patriotic Song, Knowlton, a vowel study in e and in broad phrasing. Translate into pitch names. The Woodpecker, sustained singing and rapid enunciation — writing of phrases. The Fireman, vocal imitation of bell and whistle — study in pitch. Wind-Song, clear, ringing tone — illustrates use of chromatics, sharps and flats. Squirrel's Thanksgiving, rapid pas-ages in crescendo and diminuendo—study in time and divided beat. » The Mill, soft, vibratory singing — study in monotone and climax. Primer and First Book (Modern Music Series).

At this time more formal vocal exercises can be given and the range of voice extended, as it is now inclined to be most brilliant in quality. All singing should be light and carefully reinforced, with suitable breathing and physical exercises to avoid straining the fast-maturing vocal organs. The following exercises are suggested by needs of songs: viz., Patriotic Song and Woodpecker — deep sustained breath to support high tones. Fireman, expulsion of breath on "ding-dong;" Mill-Song, pouring breath on in steady stream; Squirrel, chasing tones with breath. Following these lines, vivid interpretation induces active bodily response on the part of the pupils and corrects bad position.

Advanced Step. Interesting songs with which to help advancing sight-singing at this period are the Round and Catch, the familiar folk-ditties known as The Three Blind Mice and Chairs to Mend, where a distinct melody capable of harmonic repetition is given. This is an excellent device for avoiding the "growling" of a second part, the usual attempt at alto singing without sufficient reading knowledge. These with the two and three-voiced canon make a natural and pleasurable approach to

part-singing, and also show the development of the period and simple song form.

The simple classics on general subjects usually introduced into school-music books for this period here serve a good turn. Part-songs in thirds, sixths and octaves can be introduced in connection with these. The importance of part-singing can be emphasized by letting these middle grades sing an alto melody against the other parts in general school-exercises. Interest should be stimulated in general school-singing through the easier American, Scotch, Irish and German folk-songs, of simple emotional content and not too extended range. A list of these would include Dixie, Kentucky Home, Tenting To-Night, Fir-Tree, Lorelei, Keel Row, Campbells are Coming, John Peel, Hunt Is Up, Wearin' of the Green, Canadian Boat-Song, Blue-Bells of Scotland or Santa Lucia.

References : Songs for Schools, Farns-worth; Songs Every Child Should Know, Bacon; Folk Songs, Ditson; Modern Music Series, Second and Third Books; One Hundred Rounds, Boosey and Co.

CONSTRUCTIVE PERIOD

The next cycle of development includes the upper grades and the high school. The character of the work of this period is synthetic, aiming to unify the free investigation of the material of the previous stage.

First Step. From the study of rounds and easier part-singing the pupils should settle into steady and ready sight-singing. This material is easily supplied from the various school-music courses in short, bright choruses and glees, supplying practice in time and interval difficulties, harmonic and key changes. Rapid passages in thirds and sixths may be found m the gay folksongs and in more elaborate musical compositions, found in the Modern Music Seri. s, Third and Fourth Books; in Songs of Life and Nature by Smith; and in other music-readers.

Advanced Step. In order to teach the bass-clef, songs are given with the melody arranged for the boys in the bass, thus introducing them in a practical way to their own realm in music-reading. Pages 136, 150 and 168, Third Book, Modern Music Series, serve to illustrate. McFarren's Harvest-Home of this series is a very good illustration of the bass used as an accompaniment to the gay, bright obligato in the soprano. This can only be used where the boys' voices have changed.

Studies in harmony can now be carried forward through the analysis of the hymn and singing in parts. This will aid in the structural understanding of music. Examples used are America; the harvest-hymn and processional, We Plough the Fields; A Mighty Fortress; Crusader's Hymn.