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Foundational Ensemble Curriculum

Introduction

 

The Música Franklin Foundational Ensemble consists of two main components, singing and strings ensembles. The Singing Ensemble is led by Gloria Matlock and includes singing, drumming, body-drumming, and step-dancing. The Strings Ensemble is led by Bekka Eowind in Greenfield and Annierose Klingbeil in Turners Falls, and it includes violin, viola, cello, bass, and some singing. Both courses are supplemented weekly by a Social Justice Discussion during Singing Ensemble and a Listening Session during Strings Ensemble. Students are also invited to participate in a semi-private lesson once per week to strengthen their technique on a string instrument.

 

Singing Ensemble

 

Learning Goal 1: Students will be able to sing the correct pitches in tune.

  • Matching pitches in the appropriate range and vocal register

  • Unison singing

  • Executing diatonic scales on predetermined syllables

Learning Goal 2: Students will be able to memorize and sing the correct lyrics.

  • Actively listening to song demonstration

  • Reading and writing lyrics

 

Learning Goal 3: Students will be able to memorize choreography.

  • Clapping on the appropriate offbeats

  • Mirroring demonstrated dance steps

  • Correlating lyrics to movement


Learning Goal 4: Students will be able to play with rhythmic accuracy.

  • Recognizing patterns

  • Developing hand independence

Learning Goal 5: Students will be able to engage in call-and-response.

  • Actively listening to short phrases

  • Reconstructing short phrases impromptu

Learning Goal 6: Students will be able to demonstrate professionalism on stage.

  • Announcing the songs and their composers

  • Leading the ensemble

  • Respecting the audience by focusing on the performance

  • Limiting distractions

Learning Goal 7: Students will be able to perform with emotion and dynamics.

  • Following the director’s cues

  • Identifying how to sing strongly or softly

  • Analyzing the meaning of the lyrics

Learning Goal 8: Students will be able to think critically about social issues.

  • Respecting others

  • Engaging positivity

  • Practicing honesty

  • Sharing the spotlight

  • Respecting the cultures and religions of others

  • Cooperating with each other and the community

Strings Ensemble

 

Learning Goal 1: Students will be able to play the correct pitches in tune with proper technique and posture.

  • Demonstrating playing position

  • Maintaining violin on shoulder

  • Plucking open strings

  • Maintaining the correct bow hold

  • Keeping a consistent bow/string contact point

  • Using the forearm to control the bow

  • Left hand finger placement

  • Hearing and vocalizing the desired pitches


Learning Goal 2: Students will be able to play with rhythmic accuracy.

  • Starting together

  • Using appropriate bow speed

  • Counting and maintaining the tempo

  • Conceptualizing the rhythms

  • Subdividing the beat

Learning Goal 3: Students will be able to engage in call-and-response.

  • Actively listening to short phrases

  • Reconstructing short phrases impromptu
     

Learning Goal 4: Students will be able to perform with emotion and dynamics.

  • Following the director’s cues

  • Controlling bow speed

  • Applying appropriate bow pressure

  • Considering the intention of the composer

Learning Goal 5: Students will be able to demonstrate professionalism on stage.

  • Treating the instruments with care

  • Standing in performance rows

  • Sharing a stand

  • Announcing the songs and their composers

  • Demonstrating playing position

  • Leading the ensemble

  • Retreating to rest position

  • Taking a bow

Learning Goal 6: Students will be able to identify various instruments and diverse musical styles.

  • Actively listening to and watching other musicians

  • Relating to musical performances

Repertoire Units and Discussion Topics

Singing Ensemble

  • Unit A: Spirituals

  • Unit B: Kwanzaa Principles

  • Unit C: World Music

  • Unit D: Protest Songs

  • Unit E: Carols

Strings Ensemble

  • Unit A: Suzuki Method

  • Unit B: Jazz and Pop

  • Unit C: Fiddle Tunes

  • Unit D: European Classical Music

Social Justice Topics (partial list)

  • immigration and compassion toward refugees

  • peer pressure and bullying

  • equality

  • importance of education

  • housing & homelessness

  • responsibilities of youth

  • food justice

  • youth voice

  • kindness and caring about friends

  • environmental justice

  • fairness

  • Nguzo Saba

 

Listening Material (partial list)

  • Esperanza Spalding

  • Bobby McFerrin

  • Flor de Toloache

  • Randall Goosby

  • Itzhak Perlman

  • The Kanneh-Mason Family

  • Angelique Kidjo

  • Snarky Puppy ft. Susana Baca and Charlie Hunter

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