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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Teacher Tuesday: music of the Philippines in elementary music

Although I use music from a variety of cultures and traditions regularly in all grade levels throughout the school year, I spend about a month focusing on the music from a particular culture in each grade. Today's focus: the Philippines! I'm including a list of all of the countries / cultures I will be writing about in this series at the end of this post. As I publish the posts, I will add the link so that you can find each post quickly from that list- you may want to bookmark this page so you can find all of the posts to reference later. You'll find links to my previous posts on Brazil, Mozambique, China, and Native America already linked at the end of this post.



I study Philippine music with my 3rd grade students. I always choose which cultures to focus on for each grade based on the content I can reinforce through the study, and in this case I am able to use music from the Philippines to focus on triple meter, and because it has so much fun movement, it is a great way to break up their focus on recorders that they study concurrently.

The main focus of our study of the Philippines is on Tinikling dance. If you've never heard of this, you are in for some fun! Here is a great example to show students a traditional Tinikling performance, including lots of different ways they can be used:


If you want to show a more modern take, here's a great example (I sometimes show this one towards the end of our study):


Once they figure out what is going on, the students are hooked! We start off by practicing the stepping pattern for the dancers without any poles- this alone takes a few classes! If you can, it is helpful to have lines on the floor, about where the open poles would be, to help students practice. Otherwise I just have them start in the middle in a straight line and I count "out, in, in" to go with their feet going out to one side, then twice in the middle (one on each foot). Once they get the pattern, we break out the jump bands! Jump bands are a great way to practice Tinikling without risking too much injury- they are essentially large elastics with loops on either end for people to fit their feet through, so I'm sure they would be easy enough to make. I got mine here (it was meant to be- they come in a set of the exact 6 colors I have for my 6 color groups in my classroom!). Kristin Lukow has a great video showing how she uses them in her classes (it's worth noting that all of her examples here are on 4/4, but I stick with triple meter):


We spend another few classes just working on the movement of the bands without anyone jumping- just close feet on beat 1, then apart on beats 2 and 3. Once we've got that down I will finally have students try jumping with the bands. After a few classes of that, those that are ready get to try it with some real bamboo poles! I was lucky enough to find out about some people that were cutting down some bamboo in their back yard nearby and I stole some :) There is definitely an element of danger (which some students like and some don't), so I make it purely optional and definitely keep a close eye on things (and by things I mean feet)!

I use the audio from this video to do our Tinikling with. It is a traditional piece used for Tinikling, but slightly slower than any of the other performances I have heard, so it's perfect for little feet!


We also sing and play other songs that we are learning in triple meter, either in the recorder program or songs we have done in class- I've even done it with "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"! It is a great way to reinforce the "feel" of the meter. But my favorite is to use this song from the Philippines, also in triple meter, called Bahay Kubo. On Mama Lisa's page, you'll find the music notation, a sung recording, and lyrics in Tagalog and English. I've found the students are able to learn it relatively easily, and it is a great way to incorporate singing with the Tinikling movement. I usually have half of the students sing while the other half are doing the Tinikling- it is a great way to give students a chance to catch their breath!

That's everything I teach for music from the Philippines. Do you teach Philippine music in your class? I'd love to see any additional ideas and resources you have in the comments below! And don't forget that I will be posting more ideas, focusing on different cultures around the world, over the next several weeks. Check out the posts below and be sure to keep checking back for more ideas. Here's the schedule of countries/cultures I will be writing about over the next several weeks (country names will link to posts once they are published):

1. Brazil

1 comment :

  1. Found your Friday Linky Party on a search! STOKED to link up with a music teacher!! Many thanks for hosting!

    ReplyDelete