Brad's Beat February 2016
The first month of 2016 is now in the rearview mirror. It has been a very eventful month for RBI. We have traveled the world in teams meeting with teachers and music industry professionals. Reports coming back from FMEA, NAMM, and other important music conferences evidence a thriving interest in encouraging both music consumption and music education among teaching professionals, music retailers, instrument manufacturers, and the general public. The music industry has become very active in the support of music education as demonstrated by the special emphasis they placed on the inclusion of music teachers in their 2016 NAMM conference. It is exciting to see and be a part of the positive momentum of the powerful force of music in our daily living!
In this digital age, students encounter music using both their visual and auditory senses. In many cases, music is viewed on streaming sites such as Youtube where the visual component of a performance is the primary draw to the music content. In this month's blog, I will focus on RBI's digital Boomwhacker support series, a sequential standards-based program of instruction, which includes 75 animated lessons for players from Pre-School through High School.
In 2016, Rhythm Band Instruments and BLB Studios have partnered together to create new packaging for the support materials we offer in our catalog.
Animated Boomwhackers Volume 1 (BB223) has an activity range of Pre K - 2nd grade. In these lessons, children from four to six years old will be invited to perform mostly "call and response" actions with any of the eight Boomwhackers found in the BWDG basic set. For a brief animated review of Volume 1 activities, visit the Youtube link below.
Animated Boomwhackers Volume 2 (BB224) was created for late 1st through early 4th grade players. The focus in this volume turns from "call and response" to specific rhythmic and melodic patterns. Students learn to layer ostinato patterns, play block chords, and experience the function of form while singing and moving to motivating, age-appropriate accompaniments. Click the Youtube link below for a brief animated review of the material found in Volume 2.
In Animated Boomwhackers Volume 3 (BB226), students from late 3rd grade through middle school perform full-fledged arrangements, reading their parts from animated scores where playing assignments appear "in sync" with action-packed accompaniments. Teachers and students respond enthusiastically to movement and playing assignments that explore the rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic range of the Boomwhackers. Click the Youtube link below for a brief review of the material included in the 22 activities on this series of animations.
Once students have mastered the playing skills presented in Volumes 1 - 3 of the Boomwhacker series, they are ready to join together in performing ensembles to present more challenging arrangements. While writing The Performers' Pack (BB228), I challenged myself to prepare arrangements that could combine players of varied playing abilities. Each of the arrangements offers basic beginners through seasoned players an opportunity to perform together. Part One, the basic part in each accompaniment, plays through the entire arrangement. As the other parts are added, the complexity of the Boomwhacker parts builds from moderate to challenging. It is important to note that any part, basic to advanced, can be performed while using the animated scores and accompaniments. The Youtube link below offers a brief review of the animated lessons presented in The Performers' Pack.
The BLB animations help beginning musicians experience the fundamental elements of music (melody, rhythm, harmony, form, dynamics, timbre, and style) while performing in ensembles. The interactive experience created while performing music tasks presented in visual and audio formats helps students quickly grasp the concepts being presented while keeping their focus on the exact point of instruction. This type of learning focus cannot be duplicated when using standard sheet music notation.
That's Brad's Beat for February 2016. Next month, I will review the Bell series animations from Rhythm Band Instruments. Don't hesitate to call on RBI for support as you continue your important efforts teaching music to the children of our nation. We share your passion for helping the children of the world learn to express themselves through their experiences with music!
Bradley L. Bonner, M.Ed.
President, BLB Studios
Elementary Music Specialist, Rhythm Band Instruments