Tag Archives: primary school music

Part 2 Javanese Dance

Following on from the previous post part 1

Like singing in a choir or playing in an ensemble, dancing with others in unison as a synchronised group, brings great pleasure. Clearly from the images below this is what the students were experiencing under the graceful guidance of Nita Hall from Asia Raya. The level of engagement was extremely high and Bell’s grade 3/4 students demonstrated excellent choreography skills whilst following Nita’s moves.

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One of the dances that the students learnt wasn’t originally from Java but from the island of Sumatra. This was called the plate dance. As the students entered the room there were pairs of small yellow and orange plates laid out on the floor. Yellow for boys and orange for girls. When the students got dressed up in the colourful costumes they looked amazing. The red horns of the headdress that the girls wore represented the buffalo commonly found on the island of Sumatra. Both boys and girls had to wear traditional Javanese sarongs with the girls wearing beautiful pink tops and red scarves. The boys accompanied the girls with bright blue shirts and black scarves to match their headdress. How amazing do they look?

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Fact: Did you know that when this dance is performed back in Indonesia that the dancers actually dance on broken plates. Nita says that this requires great skill so as to not cut their feet on the shards of broken plate. 

Watch some of the grade 3/4 students perform the Plate Dance.


The other dance that the students learnt was a penguin dance. Again after some practice, the students were able to follow Nita’s moves and their costumes were also wonderfully ornate and colourful.

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Javanese Gamelan and Dance Comes To Bell (Part 1)

As part of the ongoing learning for the Bell Biennale Arts Festival “Our Asian Neighbours”, the grade 3&4 students were were treated to an amazing incursion on Thursday. Aaron and Nita Hall from Asia Raya travelled all the way from Bendigo with a complete Javanese Gamelan ensemble and dance costumes. What is a Gamelan? I hear you ask. Wikipedia pretty much nails it:

“Gamelan is traditional ensemble music of Java and Bali in Indonesia, made up predominantly of percussive instruments. The most common instruments are metallophones played by mallets as well as a set of hand played drums called kendang which register the beat (Wikipedia).”

The Javanese gamelan is mostly made up of six types of percussion instruments.
Saron

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Gong Kempul

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Kethuk

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Kenong

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Bonang

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Kendang

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When all these instruments are played at the same time the gamelan produces very impressive and loud sound. Yet simultaneously producing a calm and relaxed feeling because of the the nature of the harmony and pentatonic like scale.

The large size of the the ensemble means that everyone gets to have a go at playing an instrument and through several rotations the students were able to have a go of all the instruments.  Aaron explained that the gamelan at a beginning level is very accessible and the first songs can be learnt by students from a young age. Each part plays an equally important role in the ensemble. However, the main melody that the students learnt and was followed by the rest of the ensemble was played by the Saron. Bell students were able to learn quickly these melodies drawing on their previous knowledge of playing metallophones and what they had learnt about Javanese gamelan in class. The main melody followed a repeated pattern of hitting the notes on the Saron marked 5,6,5,6,2,1,2,1.  Aaron was very excited to see that Bell students learn the difficult Kenong and Bonang part easily. This part required the player to play their notes on what is called the ‘Off Beat’ or better described as the in between beats. The Gong Kempul required three students to play it. Once the first group had learnt the part they then became the pointers for the next group of pointers. Aaron was able to split the Kendang part into 4 separate drum parts. The Kendang is responsible for holding and directing the tempo of the ensemble.

To experience actually playing a real life gamelan was an incredible learning opportunity for Bell students. This incursion has been invaluable in allowing the student construct their knowledge about the Javanese gamelan. Which will hopefully be put to good use when the 3/4 students begin to compose their own Javanese inspired compositions.

Please make sure that you are one of our subscribers so that you will get a notification of when Part 2 will be posted. Part 2 will look at the wonderful Javanese Dance that the students were engaged with.

Chinese Luogu Ensemble

Today the grade 5/6 students began learning about Chinese luogu ensemble music. This is in preparation for the Bell Biennale Arts Festival. The Chinese luogu ensemble is the percussion ensemble that accompanies the lion or dragon dance. Luogu simply means ‘gongs and drums’ Luo= gong, Gu= drums. A couple of weeks ago we were fortunate enough to witness a fabulous performance by the Chinese Masonic Society Luogu Ensemble and lion dance. Below is an example of 5/6G performing Shi Wu (Lion Dance) music. This piece is made up of three main sets of instruments cymbals, gongs (triangles) and drums.

Some Amazing Performances From Our Talented 5/6 Students

Wow! We have some wonderfully talented students here at Bell PS. Please take the time to listen to the two excellent performances below. The boys are performing a song that the wrote themselves called My Girl. They have been rehearsing very hard over the past couple of months under the guidance of Ms S (Be sure to also check out their School Fete performance below)

The Grade 6 Girls are performing Little Talks.  They too have been practising hard over the past couple of months working with Jacinta their instrumental teacher and they will be performing at their Grade 6  graduation.

Please leave a comment if you enjoyed the performances.

Bell PS Rock Ensemble

Grade 6 Girls Perform Little Talks

Click here to view the Bell PS Rock band Performing at the Bell PS Fun Day (Fete)

Grade 1/2 Go Orff With Antigravity

Wow Amazing! The grade 1&2 students have been performing in a whole class ensemble over the past 3 weeks. They have been focusing on performing a piece written by John Madin called Antigravity. It’s a piece that is made up of short repeated melodic and rhythmic patterns (Ostinato) that are easily learnt by students. Learning the ostinatos is the easy part, putting it all together into a whole piece that has a beginning middle and end is the hard fun. I hope that you enjoy the performances below. I am amazed at how the students are able to tune into the other parts of the ensemble and when they get out of time or lost in the music, they know when to come back in. Please leave a comment.

You can see the other performances here

3/4 Have Got Rhythm And Some Melody Too!

This term grade 3/4 students have been working on whole class ensemble skills. Its been a step by step process where the students first learn to sing the song ‘I’ve Got A Rhythm‘. These is done through call and response and includes body percussion. The students are also given an opportunity to improvise rhythms using rhythm sticks. When the melody of the song has been embodied and the students are comfortable with the rhythm they then move onto tuned percussion instruments to form a whole class Orff based ensemble. The melody is first divided into two parts so it is easily learnt. This way the students experience instant success. Gradually the drums and additional base line is introduced and the students are then given an opportunity to improvise using a pentatonic scale.

Below you can view each class perform their version of I’ve got a rhythm. If you like what you hear please leave a comment.

3/4 O Ensemble

3/4 E Ensemble

3/4 X Ensemble

1/2’s Perform Looby Loo Using Tuned Percussion Instruments

Grade 1 and 2 students have been exploring pitch in term 4. Performing short simple songs using tuned Orff instruments is a great way for students to get a deeper understanding of pitch and its role in music.

What’s The Score?

During term 4 prep students will be applying their musical knowledge gained over the year to instruments and symbols. Prep students will explore the relationship between sound and symbols. That is, how sound can be represented as symbols that can then be documented for others to perform. Here prep students will need to draw on their knowledge of dynamics (louds and softs), tempo (fast and slow), pitch (high and low) as well as timbre (the sound quality an instrument makes) and unleash their creativity to compose short whole class compositions. Towards the end of the term preps will also engage in some merriment through song as the excitement of Christmas draws near.

 

3/4M Haunted House And Character Compositions

This term grade 3&4 students have been adopting the role of composers. Their brief was to compose a number of short compositions that would ‘bring to life’ a character that they designed as well as their Tim Burton inspired ‘Haunted House’ and characters. To do this the students would learn to use a complex web based music creation tool Soundation.com. Soundation provides a palette of over 700 pre recorded sound samples. These consist of melodic, rhythmic and soundscape sounds. Soundation gives students agency over their creative ideas. They are able to experience success through arranging the numerous loops into a piece of music or soundscape that adds to the characterisation and atmosphere of their art work. To get more of an idea how Soundation works please go to the website and have a go. I am sure you will be amazed.

Evie-and-Pheobe-song-Tim-Burton

 

Fred-hugo

 

Amelias-song

 

Evie-and-Pheobe-song-Supper-Rocky

 

Vyomikaa’s-song

 

zorolac-the-brave-leon-xavier

 

maxes-scary-song

 

mitch-evil

 

 

Alex-Damon-scary house

 

Alex-Damon

 

Haunted-Hugo-Leon

 

Haunted-Riley

 

Murder-Man-Mitch

 

Tim Burton Character Evie and Teagan

Grade 1/2 Animal Raps (2014)

This term grade 1/2 students have been focussing on rhythm and rhyme. Linking in with their Dr Suess inspired art the students learnt a simple rhyme called Cat Rap. Each grade then collaboratively created a Hip Hop backing track in Garageband. Next the student as a whole class co-wrote a introduction describing their favourite animal. Students were then sent off in small collaborative groups to compose two short rhymes about an animal of their choice. Each group then had to rehearse so that they could recite their rap in time to the backing track. Each group was then recorded over the top of the backing track to create their Animal Rap. We hope you enjoy them.

 

1/2 M This Is The Animal Rap

 

1/2 A-Animal-Rap

 

1/2 G Animal Raps

 

1/2 L Animal Rap

 

1/2S Animal Rap

 

1/2 T Animal Rap