The fourth grade music program creates an environment where students can express themselves in a fun and artistic setting. Activities include group participation where students explore creative ways of surrounding themselves in music. Fourth grade students attend music classes twice a week for a 45-minute period.
Singing, playing instruments, rhythm, movement, and listening are all ways that fourth graders express themselves in music. Students also explore different types of music from around the world that are peace and harmony-themed. Listening to music from other cultures help children better their singing voices, helping them use bigger ranges and a better tone. We also work on breathing, vowel shape, and projection that help mature their singing voices. Singing daily builds a stronger, more confident character, which also helps when it comes time to perform.
Fourth graders use the Orff/Xylophone program and Melody Chime programs. Children play these instruments in full group orffestrations. Children learn between four and 12 parts per song and break into groups and play songs combining all parts at the same time, creating an “orffestra.” Students read music notation on the staff and learn to follow their harmonic assignments through accompanying melody and with use of chords structures. Students learn rhythm through the use of body percussion such as claps, snaps, and pats, and other handheld auxiliary percussion instruments such as rhythm sticks, drums and tambourines. Students apply the percussion instruments into our songs to make more parts playing at once. Fourth graders use call and response for other rhythmic activities, but are also encouraged to create and improvise four-beat patterns using the rhythmic syllables “doo, dah, doe, day-day, di-di-di-di,” and rests to represent quarter, half, whole, eighth, and sixteenth notes.
As in third grade, “Style of the Month” is a focus in the fourth grade. Each month spotlights a new style of music where students talk about the history, composers, and instrumentation of different music genres around the world. Students also analyze pieces of music while picking out elements such as instrumentation, chord quality, and mood during our “Listening Logs.”