Key Elementary, Year One
Singer – Beth Reeves
Learning Objective/Exit Outcomes:
- Students will create symbolic sounds based off of the hardship that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had to endure.
- Students will demonstrate comprehension of rhythmic patterns.
- Students will collaborate to create music based on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s timeline.
SS2H1 Describe the lives and contributions of historical figures in Georgia history.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. (civil rights)
ESGM2.CR.1 Improvise melodies, variations, and accompaniments.
- Improvise simple rhythmic patterns using a variety of sound sources (e.g. electronic sounds, found sounds, body percussion, classroom instruments).
- Improvise simple pentatonic melodies and accompaniments.
ESGM2.CR.2 Compose and arrange music within specified guidelines.
- Create sound effects to accompany songs, poems, and stories.
ESGM2.PR.2 Perform a varied repertoire of music on instruments, alone and with others.
- Perform steady beat and simple rhythmic patterns using body percussion and a variety of instruments with appropriate technique.
Social Studies & Music
Students are taught 4 percussion sounds they can make with their bodies:
- Hand Clap
- Foot Stomp
- Chest Clap
- Hand Swipes
Students follow the teacher and make each sound in turn to form various rhythms. As each type of percussion is taught, give students a chance to mimic the percussion, go around in a circle to create a classroom beat, and discuss the differences in each type of percussion using vocabulary like rhythm, beat, tone, sharp & soft, low & high, quick & sustained.
The students were then asked what things Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did to help people? Answers included service, giving, marching, speaking, etc. Students were then asked to critically think about what body percussion sound best associated with the activity Dr. King did to help others. Students chose stomping for marching, hand swipes for giving to others, snapping for change, and so on.
Students were then divided into groups to reflect on Dr. King’s life and timeline of things he did, creating music of Dr. King’s life by putting body percussion assigned to the activities of Dr. King in order.
Students were then challenged with the introduction of tone/quality of sound. When Dr. King was speaking, was he afraid? Bold? Not sure of the outcome? How does this affect the way you play your sound? There may be moments where students choose to stomp loudly or snap softly, etc. Perhaps he was hesitant in the beginning of his journey, so any claps may be slower than later on in his life.
Once students have had a few minutes to develop their music, have each group share with a performance of their music to the rest of the class and ask students who are audience members to express moments they really liked what they thought those moments represented and why.
Additionally, encourage students to think about span of time as they play certain sections of their music. Did providing service to others take more time that presenting a speech? Then allow that to affect how long a percussion style is played.
If your students are really ready for a challenge, ask them to consider if Dr. King ever stopped doing service projects when he started marching. Perhaps there should be different musicians playing different percussion styles to emphasize overlap in Dr. King’s activities.