PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Music Week of February 13th

Warm winter greetings to the families of BSI. All this cold weather has inspired us to take an imaginary trip down to the bayous of Louisiana to do some crawdad fishin’! Yes, all the kids in grades K-5 have been singing that American folk classic, The Crawdad Song.  

In grades 4-5, we listened for the vocal arrangement of the song and then created a different one together. We learned that vocal arrangements make music sound more interesting. Our “Riding on a Pony” chant taught us that one way musicians remember rhythm patterns is to put words to them. Then, we explored different ways to use our bodies as rhythm instruments and worked in groups to come up with our own body percussion rhythm patterns for a verse of Jack Prelutsky’s beloved poem, “Homework, Oh, Homework!”

After our body percussion work, we were ready to return to the Crawdad song and add some instruments. We watched “The Foggy Mountain Boys,” a legendary Bluegrass band with Earl Scruggs on banjo and Lester Flatt on guitar. Then we had our own Bluegrass jam! The kids worked in groups to sing, keep the steady beat and take a “solo” on an instrument just like The Foggy Mountain Boys. This week we added the downbeat and the backbeat. Some of the kids even added their own harmony!

The kids in grades K-2 have been riding their imaginary ponies during our “Riding on a Pony” chant. Our third graders were clapping, snapping, patting and stomping to our pony chant. In our Crawdad Song, we took turns being the echo as we kept the steady beat. Some classes did the “Crawdad Dance” as we listened to some Cajun music. Then they got to travel across the “bridge” like a crawdad might (when nobody’s looking!). Those little crawdads were rollin’, skippin’, hoppin’ and jumpin’.

We also celebrated Chinese New Year with a folk song from China called “Little Silver Moon.” Dancing with scarves to Chinese flute music, we pretended to be stars in the China sky who were waiting for the moon to come out. Then we left the China sky, for the snowy mountains where mother rabbit is gathering food for her little ones and sang “Rabbit Footprints.” We added a vocal ostinato, which means that while one group sings the song, another group is saying different words in a rhythm pattern. Then we took away the words and just used body percussion. We tried to make the rhythm pattern sound like snow.

AND, mark these dates on your calendars! Grades 2-3 Concert is Friday, March 17th. Grades K-1 Concert is Friday, April 28th. Both concerts will be in the morning. Stay tuned to our many venues for BSI school news for the exact time.

Hope to see many of you for our first concert on March 17th!