This week I have been having a blast as one of the teachers of Camp Musicmania at the University of Northern Iowa. My good friend, Aaron Hansen, started the camp two years ago with about 25 students. Last year, he invited me and another teacher to join as the numbers went up to over 70. In our third year, the camp has grown to nearly 150 students! It has been a challenge to coordinate schedules, teachers/subjects, and everything, but I have to admit I love music camp.
This year, I got to be the “barred percussion” teacher, and focus on this one favorite topic, while the students travelled to other teachers to learn movement, singing, drumming, etc. The advantage of this is that I didn’t feel that I had to cover everything in one week, but could focus on one small set of objectives.
For the Kindergarten (actually, going INTO Kindergarten) and First Grade classes, we are doing mostly exploration, sound carpets to accompany a story, and a little steady beat work. The 2-3 classes are really working hard on a double moving bordun and a Pentatonic melody! I think I freaked out the second grade class the first time we tried it, but when we came back to it the next day and reviewed, they were excited to realize “I can do this!” Fourth and Fifth Grade are performing a piece from Spielbuch fur Xylophon, Band I by Gunild Keetman, in re Pentatonic, and the middle school students are performing a piece from Volume IV of Orff and Keetman’s Music for Children. All of these pieces are being choreographed by other teachers, and we’re putting them together for a performance on Friday afternoon.
Speaking of the performance, our theme this year was Native American Tribes. It’s such a huge topic, and we only have a week, but we wanted to give the kids a few authentic songs and stories, and more importantly leave them with an appreciation for these cultures, and a desire to learn more.
It’s been a great week. My son Elliot is in the youngest class, and he’s having a ball! Next week is a week off and travel, then it’s teaching Level One Orff Schulwerk at Baldwin Wallace College in Ohio!
Location:Cedar Falls,United States