It was a crisp Saturday morning with lots of snow on the ground. Steph and Sean felt right at home with our wonderful prairie winter weather. The many instruments and manipulatives looked enticing and interesting giving rise to anticipation for the workshop ahead.
The day was divided into three parts with different grade levels highlighted for each. The first section focused on bugs and began with a ladybug themed warm-up activity focused vocal sliding with some very cute visuals! In the next activity the bug focus continued with a piece called “Tons of Bugs,” with a simple Orff accompaniment and rondo form using bug name speech ostinato as the contrasting sections. A bug version of poison rhythm came next followed by very engaging rhythm reading activity that had us moving rhythm cards like a caterpillar. The next activity used the song Caterpillar by Big Brother and the Holding Company to have students follow the leader caterpillar style with the leader changing on each verse. The culmination of the first section was based around the book “Bug Dance” by Stuart J. Murphy and illustrated by Christopher Santoro. Using the book students choose instruments to portray the different characters and sound effects and movements for action words.
The second section of the morning focused on light and began with a short warm-up/focus/energizer activity using traffic lights and a previously taught song. Students would either internalize, use different ways to vocalize song, or sing normally. This led to a piece called “My Little Flashlight” involving, you guessed it, little flashlights. This was a visually captivating experience and went very well with the theme. It even included some recorder improvisation to add another layer. After that,more fun with lights in the form of glowsticks was had with a competitive rhythm activity. To cap off the morning a choreographed piece based around Madonna’s Ray of Light was shared. Lunch time brought a welcome short reprieve from such a wide array of activities.
After lunch the focus shifted to colours and we were in for a real treat with the pieces shared. It’s hard to describe the first piece Orange without resorting to clumsy language. Suffice it to say it used a mode that would is not often heard, that being the Locrian mode, to great effect. This piece was captivating in both its unique modality and in its otherworldly sounds. The use of instruments like the log drum, and different mallets for the barred instruments led to some amazing music making. The overall urgency conveyed through the movement and instruments made for a fantastic overall presentation. The colour blue was to come next and could not have been more different from its counterpart orange. Though it was much calmer and familiar in tonality, it still maintained a slightly ethereal feeling which connected well with, with the quirky piece, Orange.
The day was full of excitement and hard work and it would be safe to say that everyone came out of the experience richer for it. Thank you to Sean and Steph for such a wonderful workshop!
Alberta Orff Blog
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