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Music skills in second and third grades

November 16, 2022 | Aiko Mauldin

What do we do in music in second and third grade? We may look like sitting in a circle, playing a singing game. We may look like we are doing a simple dance. We may look like we are just drawing and arranging cards in some orders. Well, let me tell you what we are really doing!

In music, before we learn of any specific skills and musical concepts, the students experience them through playing. In simple singing games, there are so many musical concepts hidden – that they will master them before they even know what they are! Currently, the students are working on singing a pentatonic scale up and down, in tune. How? Through our circle greeting, a singing game called “Coffe Grows On White Oak Trees”, through a warm-up routine in Songsters. The students are also working on understanding 6/8 time signature – while singing and playing a game called “Sailor, sailor” and through a song “Hine ma tov”. How about literacy? The second grade students are working on pre-literacy skills by following a song coded with pictures on the whiteboard, while the third grade students are working on forms and structures of music through songs such as “Hear O Israel’, or a dance “Jubilate Everybody”. Everything we do connects into musical literacy and performance skills.

Oh, and let me not forget to mention having expert guest musicians come and share their worldly knowledge – the students are learning Middle Eastern songs from Ms. Litman, one of the founders of our school, and while learning the songs they are exposed to history, culture, and tradition with each of the songs they learn.

In Mustard Seed School music we follow the Kodály music curriculum.

Aiko Mauldin

Coleman Fung Chair for Music; Director of Songsters, Choristers, and Music Educator for Grades K-5; Worship Leader

Born in Tokyo, Japan, Aiko Mauldin started her musical training at the age of three when her mother enrolled her at a piano studio next door so that she could have peace and quiet for 30 minutes a week. Ms. Mauldin soon fell in love with Beethoven, Mozart, Debussy, Liszt, and especially Bach. She had her first official debut performance at the age of 11 at the Royal Festival Hall in London, England. At this time, Ms. Mauldin did not speak any English, but she soon discovered the power of music as a language permeating all cultures and nations. Through her love of music, she has made lifelong friends.

Since her childhood, Ms. Mauldin has moved from place to place, including Tokyo, London, San Francisco, New York, New Orleans, and of course, New Jersey. Her favorite thing to do when not teaching or playing the piano is to cook food from different cultures and to enjoy it with her family. Her favorite quote is from her mother: "I never dreamed that you would be performing recorders at Carnegie Hall!"

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