This week we started a unit on folktales. We decided to compare them to folksongs, since both come from specific regions of the world and are passed in a oral (or aural) tradition. The first day of the unit we talked about the similarities between folktales and folksongs, as well as some differences. We also noticed that folk music from different parts of the world uses different instruments. The next day we watched a video of a folktale that had some music in the background that enhanced the story.
We talked about the connections in the story and the music. Then on our last day together we read "A Story, A Story" which is a lovely African folktale about how all stories were brought to earth. The students added some music in while Rachel read the story. First we picked our instruments based on what we had in the classroom that was close to instruments from Africa, where our story was from. We used our stirring xylophone and xylophone because they are close to the balafon and marimba, egg shakers because they are like the shakers, our hand drum and bongos because they are similar to the drums, and we were able to introduce our new kalimba to the students which arrived a little late in the mail!
The the Rachel took the students on a "picture walk" through the book and the students came up with sounds to represent different characters and parts of the story.
Then Rachel read the story while the students each played the instruments when their character or part came up!
This turned out to be a huge success. The students loved coming up with ideas for what the music should be in the story and even the students who didn't play an instrument were really engaged in what was happening. The students really had to pay attention to the story in order to play their instruments at the right time. I think it was definitely something that would be usable in the future!
Next week, we'll split into 4 small groups and try to have the students do the same thing with their own folktale and set of instruments.