Music Reading at Westside

Westside Elementary students are learning different ways to read music. One way to read music is by using a listening map. A listening map shows the listener what the music sounds like, by using visual images or pictures. Students in all grade levels use listening maps. In Kindergarten and first grade, a Big Book is used in a group setting. This student is tracking each note of a melody, by pointing to a visual representation (circle/dot) on the page.


Students in second through fourth grades learn how to read and use the maps independently from a text book. In the pictures shown, students follow a listening map to the song “A String of Pearls” by Glenn Miller.


Kindergarten and first grade students are just beginning to learn about barred instruments, such as the xylophone (made of wood) and glockenspiel (made of metal). The children listened to the story “Up, Up, Down” by Robert Munsch. The words in the story can by imitated in sound. When the character in the story climbs up the tree, students strike the instrument, one bar at a time, from the lowest sound to the highest. The instrument makes it sound like someone climbing! Then, when the character falls out of the tree, students use a “glissando”. This is done by swiping the mallet across the bars quickly from the highest sound to the lowest. You can “hear” the character falling!


In preparation for the upcoming holiday, upper grade level students engaged in a lively discussion about Martin Luther King, Jr., followed by a song that incorporates Dr. King’s famous words “free at last”. Here, students are reading the lyrics in the form of a poem.

There are many fun activities planned for the remainder of the year. It is going to be another great semester in music class!


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