Are you feeling those Good Vibrations!? Well, our students certainly are! The third and fourth grade students have been working with resident artist Don Cooper. Mr. Cooper is an accomplished songwriter and guitarist as well as a former music teacher at Samuel Staples Elementary School. Now, he’s working with the third and fourth grade students at John Lyman putting the Arts in S.T.E.A.M.!
What is Good Vibrations?
Good Vibrations is the name of the residency where music, math and science are woven together. Students have been working hard exploring concepts such as rhythm, time signatures and tempo as they relate to fractional parts of whole measures. We have also been exploring vibration, how sound is made, frequency, pitch and how a variety of solids (materials) affect a sound produced. From here students will apply what they have learned to create their own instruments!
What’s Going on in the Classroom?
It started with some exciting rhythmic movements, clapping to rhythms, and much more! Students practiced counting in 4 counts and 3 counts, and learned various ways to notate a rhythm using traditional notation, the Kodaly (Ta, Ta, Te-Te Ta!) method, fractions and fraction bars. Then it was time to create rhythm patterns of our own! Students notated original rhythm patterns and shared them with partners.
Then, it was time for the really good vibrations! Mr. Cooper enabled students to experience, through a variety of ways, how vibration is the source of sound. Whether it’s a vibrating string, reed, a ruler, a bell, or several bottles containing varied amounts of liquid - something is vibrating and creating that beautiful sound! We closely studied frequencies, amplitude (from resonating chambers) and so much more! And what better way to experiment with changing the pitch of a sound than with rulers. Students applied their understanding of how length, tension and material all affect sound by writing compositions using, you guessed it, wooden rulers!
Now it’s time to start using what we know! Students will be moving on to designing and building their own instruments. They chose to build string, woodwind, percussion or pitch-percussion instruments. While in their instrument teams, they decided what materials they could use and how they could construct it. This is probably why they have been asking for cans, bottles, rubber bands or string at home! It’s all part of the process!
The residency will culminate in original pieces of music created by the students using their invented instruments. Students will apply all they have learned throughout this dynamic 10-day residency to write and perform their pieces. What better way to explore rhythm, beat, tone, vibration, frequency and pitch than through student-created compositions. Pretty soon, we’ll all be diggin’ those Good Vibrations!