3-5, Elementary Music, K-2, Lessons

Elementary Music Lesson: Breezes are Blowing

Breezes are Blowing is a Luiseno Indian Rain song that I used with my second and third graders. The rhythms are very simple, but the melody is a bit complex for those grades– it includes low la, do, re, sol, and la– but it was really great to talk about form and improvisation, so that’s what we did! But we know that it is good for students to sing and hear songs even if they cannot correctly notate them immediately.

This lesson talks about aba form, and adds an improvised part to create ABA as well. Students play instruments, sing, create rhythms, improvise, and more!

I paired this with The Syncopated Clock scarf activity from Artie Alemida’s book Parachutes and Ribbons and Scarves, Oh My! You could also use a piece with a matching form (or an AABA form) like Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks. (You can read a form lesson about that here!)

This lesson does involve a bit of teacher-made resources to facilitate the students’ improvisation, but you can get the product in my TPT shop that has everything in it! It has a powerpoint (stick notation and regular notation), worksheets, rhythm cards, etc. You can definitely do the lesson without it, or you can check it out here.

Want to get free resources? Sign up for the FREE resource library– all you do is put your email in, and you have access to all of the resources in the library (including quizzes, powerpoint, beat charts, rhythm cards, lyric sheets, and more!)– and new resources are added monthly! Sign up here!

Breezes are Blowing: Elementary music lesson for second grade and third grade to teach low la, aba form, and improvisation-- using a Native American folk song! Becca's Music Room


Breezes are Blowing

Teach students the song Breezes are Blowing by rote.

Breezes are Blowing: Elementary music lesson for second grade and third grade to teach low la, aba form, and improvisation-- using a Native American folk song! Becca's Music Room

Ask the students, what two parts are the same? Which part is different? Then ask, “If I label the first line a, and the second line b, what should I call the last line?” Inevitably, someone will say c. So… then explain, “The third line is actually a, because it is the same as the first. If something is the same as another line, they get the same letter.

Next, have students come up with movements for each part of the song. Tell them that the two a sections have to have the same movement, and b should be different. You can do this individually or in small groups depending on what you prefer.

After they have some up with their actions, sing the song through twice and just have everyone do their own actions at the same time. (Alternatively, you could have students do them individually and perform for each other if you have the time.)

Breezes are Blowing: Elementary music lesson for second grade and third grade to teach low la, aba form, and improvisation-- using a Native American folk song! Becca's Music Room

Have students brainstorm (or have some cards ready, like the ones in the Breezes are Blowing product on TPT) words that relate to breezes and rain. This could be umbrella, thunderstorm, gust, raindrops, etc.

Once you have decided on the words, figure out what rhythms the words have. You could write this on the board, or have it ahead of time if you want to save some time.

Model for the students how to string together the rhythms you just came up with to improvise a new rhythm. Have them repeat back to you the ones you say, then allow students to do create their own rhythms.

Also Read: Bizet Scarf Routine

Breezes are Blowing: Elementary music lesson for second grade and third grade to teach low la, aba form, and improvisation-- using a Native American folk song! Becca's Music Room

Tell the students that the song Breezes are Blowing is going to be A, and they will get to make up the B section by using different words from the board. Practice that a few times.

Write ostinatos on the board for the students to practice. We used four. Our rhythms went with the words breezes blowing all around, rain drop rain drop, ocean, and sh….. We practice each one with just body percussion together.

Next, I handed out the instruments. I started with just two instruments and ostinatos to accompany Breezes are Blowing, and added the other two once they were successful with the first. Our “orffestration” looked like this:

  • Breezes blowing all around: castanets
  • Rain drop rain drop: egg shakers
  • Ocean: guiros
  • Sh: rainsticks (ocean drums would work too!)
Breezes are Blowing: Elementary music lesson for second grade and third grade to teach low la, aba form, and improvisation-- using a Native American folk song! Becca's Music Room

I started one group first, and then added the second group in until everyone was playing. Then I sang the song. Some of the students joined in immediately, but for some students, that was a bit much for them to get all at once. So if they are not singing the first few times, that’s ok. It’s a lot to think about. They will get there (although you may have to remind them).

After your students get the accompaniment down, then you can have them improvise a B section to go with their song.

And to take it one step further, you can have students write down their favorite B section they tried before they leave.

Also read: It’s Raining and Que Llueva

So there it is! This lesson was spread over a few different days (I feel like I always say that…) I used the product from my TPT shop to show all of the rhythms, the improvisation, the words, and for the worksheets my students used at the end to write down their favorite B section. You can feel free to check it out here!

What process do you use to teach improvisation? Let me know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

Breezes are Blowing: Elementary music lesson for second grade and third grade to teach low la, aba form, and improvisation-- using a Native American folk song! Becca's Music Room
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Elementary Music, K-2, Lessons

Free K-2 Music Lesson: Animal Form

This may sound strange, but form is my favorite thing to teach students in my elementary music room. There are so many ways that you can teach it—through movement, drawing, manipulatives, etc. My favorite of the these is definitely movement.

This is a lesson that I did during my student teaching last year. It was one of three of my “focus lessons”.

We learned about form in many different ways: manipulatives, coloring, and flashlight routines (which are the bomb!), and with instruments. This lesson is with manipulatives and movement.

Also check out: Free K-2 Music Lesson: Rhythm

Click here for the FREE printable version Animal Form Lesson Plan

FREE Printable K-2 Music Lesson: Animal Form. Teach students about form using classical music listening, manipulatives, and movement! All of my favorite things. Featuring Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks by Mussorgsky and March from The Nutcracker by Tchaikovesky. Kindergarten, first, and second grade all loved this lesson! Becca's Music Room

Animal Form Lesson

Materials:

 

Standards:

6. We compose music.

7. We listen to music.

10. We move to music.

Also: Traveling Music Teacher: What to Do When Not in Your Room

Warm up:

  1. First, the teacher plays djembe or other drum. When the teacher plays forte, or loud (I would used the music vocabulary with 1 and 2 but not K) students will jump. When the teacher plays piano, or soft, students tip toe.
  2. Teacher plays 8 beats piano, then 8 beats forte. After they get a feel for that, feel free to speed up and slow down at will, or switch to 16 beats. This helps them get the hang of different sections, preparing them for form.

FREE Printable K-2 Music Lesson: Animal Form. Teach students about form using classical music listening, manipulatives, and movement! All of my favorite things. Featuring Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks by Mussorgsky and March from The Nutcracker by Tchaikovesky. Kindergarten, first, and second grade all loved this lesson! Becca's Music Room

Procedure:

  1. Give students the manipulatives. These can be whatever you have, but I will use the animal names that I used. Have them hold a chicken and an elephant behind their back. Listen to Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks. Have the chicken dance around during the A section and go behind your back at the end. The chicken will come back out for the repeat of A. Then the elephant for B. Then the chicken.
  2. Tell students that the animals represent different parts of the music. When we talk about form, we use letters instead of animal names. We will call the chicken A and the elephant B. this song went AABA. Can you make that pattern with your animals? (It helps if you put magnets on a few of yours so you can attach them to the board. Or you can put them in the pocket chart.)
  3. Have students decide on an action for each section. I had sentence strips with words like “tap head” or “snap” on them. Once they pick an action, I put the sentence strips and the manipulatives next to each other for reference.
  4. Listen to the piece again using the actions for each section.
  5. Have students make their own form with their animals (I added in the whales for the C section). Pick one of the students’ forms and have everyone copy it. Play three noises on the drum (I used forte, piano, and rolling)—one for each section. You could also use three different instruments. Play 8 beats for each of the “sections” of the song the kid put together and have them do the actions.
  6. Repeat as time permits.FREE Printable K-2 Music Lesson: Animal Form. Teach students about form using classical music listening, manipulatives, and movement! All of my favorite things. Featuring Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks by Mussorgsky and March from The Nutcracker by Tchaikovesky. Kindergarten, first, and second grade all loved this lesson! Becca's Music Room
  7. For more advanced groups, I had them each perform do their own form at the same time. Each section got eight beats, and I would play the first beat forte so they would know when to change their actions. It was really cool because they were all doing different actions but at the same time.
  8. Tell the students you get to pick the next one. Make it ABACABA for March from the Nutcracker.
  9. Practice the movements with 8 beats for each section while playing on drum or other instrument.
  10. Then, listen to the piece and do the movements with it.
  11. Have the students go back to AABA and listen to the first piece. You could do movements or have them hold the correct manipulative for each section. Do one with the students, then see who can do it with their eyes closed (if you need an assessment, you could mark down who is changing their movements at the right time).

FREE Printable K-2 Music Lesson: Animal Form. Teach students about form using classical music listening, manipulatives, and movement! All of my favorite things. Featuring Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks by Mussorgsky and March from The Nutcracker by Tchaikovesky. Kindergarten, first, and second grade all loved this lesson! Becca's Music Room

Make sure to add form to the word wall!

My kids had a blast! It also ties into the standards for math (at least in Georgia), because students have to make and recognize patterns.

What is your favorite way to teach form? Are you interested in the other lessons form this unit? Let me know in the comments!


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