Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Drum Concerto No.1 for children

After my Symphony experiences the last couple of weeks, we've been playing a variety of "concertos" in the classes.   
A concerto being: the orchestra playing beautifully with a featured instrument performing a solo.

One of my favorites was Drum Concerto #1 with Orff Orchestra.

We set up the Orff Orchestra in C pentatonic kind of like this...
The children practised playing beautiful beats on the C and G bars.
We tried solid borduns (C & G together)
and broken borduns (alternating C then G),
and then cross-over borduns (low C, then G, then high C and back to G).

Everyone chose their favorite borduns and we all played together as an ensemble.  With the orchestra set up in a pentatonic scale, even if someone played outside the bordun, it still sounded lovely.

Then...the piece de resistance!...we added two drums.

the tympani and the native frame drum

2 drummers played their drums in the middle of our circle while the rest of us accompanied them playing our beautiful beats as softly as we could...which wasn't as soft as I hoped for.  We couldn't hear the drummers!

This was definitely a process...:)

I think my words went something like this...
"Can you hear Susan?"
"Try to play softer...play more piano...can you play softer so we can hear the drums?" 
"Can you hear the drums?"
We tried using bigger motions with our arms and then smaller motions with our arms to explore forte and piano sounds.

We added a cello (just the low C and G strings, please!...those are the fattest strings)

We added finger cymbals (for a ringing intro)

We added temple blocks (because we saw them just standing nearby)

We played and processed for about 40 minutes, everyone taking turns with the different parts.  They were relaxed and happy.  It was just right!

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