For our upcoming Winter Sing, the 5th graders have learned several songs on their ukuleles. Many of these songs also appear in beginning band and orchestra texts, but in different keys than we use on the ukulele. The band and orchestra students love the challenge of learning to transpose and play by ear, so they can play while their friends sing. Here are some of the many benefits to students:
- The instrumental students get to re-visit familiar and well-loved songs from 4th
- The band students need to figure out how to play these notes by referring to fingering charts in the backs of their books
- The string students teach each other how to figure out the songs by ear
- The ukulele students get to learn three chords and sing
- The students who have missed several classes still get to sing a fun song
The students have also developed empathy and communication skills. One student wants to sing Jingle Bells fast. His clarinettist friend explained to him that the big range of the Dashing Through The Snow part of the song crossed the break on the clarinet and was difficult to play. The singer now understands and respects some of the difficulties for the instrumentalists.
I love seeing the students work together to make music, each at his or her own level!