Adding Colour & Contrast
Exploring musical dynamics opens up a whole new world to children. They start to see how the dynamics in music can add the colour and contrast. These different effects bring a whole new dimension to how music makes us feel.
Young children usually tend to prefer the loud and fast bits of music. But they’ll also enjoy exploring the contrasts and seeing how different soft and lighter music makes them feel. Imaginative movement to music is also a great way to develop their imaginations and creativity.
Exploring Musical Dynamics
So when looking for music to play to them, look for something with lots of contrast. In my own classes I often use The Carnival of the Animals as it’s so full of colourful variety. It’s a fantastic choice for introducing all sorts of musical dynamics. Children find it much easier to understand the concepts of loud and soft or crescendos and diminuendos when illustrated by familiar animals in this way.
Learning To Listen
Whenever you’re introducing a new piece of music, try to play it through several times so that it becomes familiar. As well as the movement activities, you can always play it while doing any other creative activities such as painting and or crafts.
But if you really want develop listening skills, specially prepared listening maps are also a great way to highlight the dynamics of the music and they really help children to connect with a visual interpretation for each movement.
Bundle Of Resources
My new Carnival Of The Animals bundle of resources includes lots of activities that explore dynamics. There’s a full set of listening maps along with 72 pages of teaching notes, poems, colouring sheets and activities. Observing how the composer Saint-Saëns uses the dynamics to such great effect.
Younger children love moving along to the music with animal role play. While for older children, it’s a launching pad for their own creativity, encouraging them to experiment with percussion instruments and explore the dynamic contrast and effects that they can create themselves.
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