|Create a rondo
4 types of unpitched percussion instruments (enough of each type for ¼ of class)
Pitched percussion instruments
Card/paper for each group to write its verse
Means of recording rondo (we use Sound Recorder on Accessories on Programmes)
LO: To compose and perform a 4-beat rhythm within a rondo structure
Discuss what is meant by musical structure.
Explain that today we will be creating a rondo – musical sandwich – in which each person will be performing a part in the main theme several times, and also a part in a small group theme.
Warm-up: (to recap rhythmic notation)
Have about 6 4-beat rhythmic phrases on the whiteboard labelled A to F. Clap and name each in turn, with children echoing. Ask for a child to volunteer to choose a phrase and clap it; the rest of the class then name the phrase clapped. This could be extended to children choosing a random letter, then clapping the rhythm. In pairs, children could pick 2 letters and perform the rhythm as a call and response exercise.
Ask children to think of and share words or short phrases linked with their current topic. Record some of these on whiteboard.
Begin a steady beat with 1 click and 3 thigh slaps, with everybody joining in. Ask how the beats are grouped (in 4’s)
Explain that we can now set some 4-beat rhythms over the steady beat, by using some of the words and phrases. Experiment by checking that the phrase has 4 beats by counting aloud over phrase.
Write phrase on whiteboard, and if possible, write the rhythmic notation under it.
When 3 suitable and rhythmically contrasting phrases are agreed, divide the class into 4 groups, and allocate 1 phrase each to 3 groups; the remaining group will keep the steady beat.
Begin by Group 1 establishing the steady beat.
When this is going well, count 1-2-3-4 to bring in 2nd group (chanting the first phrase).
Repeat with remaining two groups.
Now add each group’s percussion instrument to the chant.
Now stop the chanting, and just play the instrument.
This is the main theme of the rondo – Part A – which will be played many times!
Divide the class into groups of 3 or 4, naming them B, C etc. and tell them that they have 5 minutes to agree on a different phrase of their own, perhaps using the whiteboard for inspiration, to check that it is a 4-beat phrase, and to write it on their card/paper. If they feel confident, they can try to record it in rhythmic notation on the back.
Check in on all the groups if you can – if not, focus on those who are likely to struggle, and get them going confidently.
Get the class to establish a steady beat, and ask each group in turn to chant their rhythm twice over the beat. Make a note of any groups whose phrase needs “tweaking”, and ask the class for suggestions as to how this can be done.
Allocate each group with a pitched percussion instrument, explaining how each child will be using 2 or 3 notes (from the pentatonic scale of C is easiest i.e. C, D, E, G and A only) to make a tune for the group’s rhythm. Stress that the whole group must play simultaneously eventually, so as soon as each person has decided on their simple tune, they should rehearse together as a group. Remind the class of best-practice techniques of playing boomwhackers and chime bars.
Each group performs its tune 4 times (the rest of the class can quietly keep a steady beat in time with this, if they need to be kept occupied!)
Now it is time to make up the sandwich, and perform the complete rondo.
If this is successful, repeat, recording it to listen to in the plenary.
Stress how great performances begin and end with silence, and orchestra members are quiet when not playing their instruments.
Play back the recording to the class, asking children how they felt about the performance, what stood out for them, and what might be improved upon next time.