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Elementary Music Education Observation Essay

The class I observed is a grade 5 music class at Bellewood Public School with 25 students, the teacher is Mr. Bestien. Mr. Bestien mainly conduct his class in a question and answer format, where he asks the class a question and let the class figure out the answer.

The class I observed was being taught to play Irish Washerwoman on a recorder in this lesson. Mr. Bestian asks the students to analyze the piece before letting them play; he asked the class “When looking at music, what comes first?” which leads to the new concept of 6-8 time. The teacher had the students clap the rhythm while counting the beats out loud and when students eventually lost track of where they are, as the piece is all 8th notes, so he asked the students what they can do to keep track of the beats. One student suggested that they can count and clap beat 1 and 4 extra loud, which then the teacher suggested the students to clap the rhythms again and stomp their feet on beat 1 and 4. Then the class revised the concept of pick up notes.

After that, the teacher asked the class what is the key of the piece, revised on how to determine the key by looking at the key signature. The piece being taught is in F major so the class also did a revision on the fingering for B flat on the recorder, the teacher then have the students to cross check each other’s fingerings.

It seems to me that Mr. Bestien is adapting more of a problem solving lesson plan, as he asked the students a lot of questions to get them think about the piece that they are about to learn. He is very observant about the weakness of the students, hence was able to ask other students what could be the solution for the problem.

There were several other tricks that Mr. Bestien used in the class. When the class is not as engaged as they should be, he made the students stand up and sit down several times to get their blood to circulate better. He also taught the students a trick to remember the fingerings for notes with sharps, which I think would be very helpful, because as a grown up even Becca and I did not know about it. The trick is for example we want to play an A sharp, we first put down the fingerings for A (left thumb, index, and middle), then put two more fingers (left 4th, and right index) down directly below the lowest finger for A, than remove the middle finger from the hole, and that would become an A sharp which is enharmonic to B flat.


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