Our songs are picked out, and students have had the experience they need to get our new note, “high” in their ears.
Today we’ll look at how to present “la” to our students. This post is perfect for you if you’re looking for a solid teaching strategy for presenting la, or if you’re curious about how I present la in my classroom.
Let’s jump in!
Pre Assessing Students
Before moving on to presentation, we need to be sure students are ready to learn the real name of “high”. There are several ways to do this - I wrote about lots of assessment strategies here, but one of my favorite assessments is “thumbs up, thumbs down”. In my book, the simpler the better!
CHOOSING A PRESENTATION SONG
We'll need a great song for our presentation test.
I chose Bell Horses because it's a song my students know well, but one that we haven't discovered "high" in as a class.
In case you’re in the market for a new song, here are just a few that work well for this:
Any songs I discussed in this post (Apple Tree, Bluebird Bluebird, Firefly, and On A Mountain)
Bounce High, Bounce Low
Naughty Kitty Cat
P.S. - There are tons of songs for teaching la in the Folk Song Index.
A SIMPLE PRESENTATION TEST
Sing the song as a class, play the game if there is one.
Sing 4 beats of the song, as the class to echo you.
Ask, "Is there 'high' in my song?" Thumbs up for yes, thumbs down for no, but have students WAIT, while you sing it yet again.
Then pause, say “1 2 3, show”
Sometimes I even have all students put their heads down if I’m concerned about students just copying the majority of the answers they see. I also might have students hold their thumbs up / thumbs down in front of their chest, not above their heads so the class doesn’t see everyone’s answer.
When your data shows you that most students can aurally identify la in a new song, it’s time to move on to presentation.
Sing the song together, keeping a steady beat
Sing the song, or a portion of the song on solfege, using the word “high” instead of “la”. (For the song, Bell Horses, students sang the whole thing since it’s quite short.)
Say: “Musicians have a special name for the note a step above sol. We call it ‘la’ ”.
Sing that same portion of the song on solfege, this time using “la” instead of “high”.
If there is a game or some sort of movement that accompanies the song, now is a great time to do it, since students have been sitting down for a while.
After you’re done playing the game, tell students that musicians have a special way to write “la”.
In stick notation, write the portion of the song students sang and ask for the class’ help writing it on the staff.
Review that sol and la are a step apart. If sol is on a line, la is the space above it. Write sol and la on a line and space with student help.
If sol is on a space, la is on the line above it. Write sol and la on a space and line with student help.
Practice, practice, practice
This plan is complete with movement, thinking, singing, and listening. With a solid presentation strategy, students have what they need to move on to the next phase - practice!