Every lesson (unless we are in the hall rehearsing for a show) we have the Instrument of the Week. This is for a variety of educational and practical reasons.
Firstly, a multitude of problems happen on the first few minutes of the lesson. Last year the following happened:
1) Children late due to taking register somewhere
2) Child upset because not been invited to another child’s party and was crying
3) Child had nosebleed and blood was splurting everywhere
4) Child late arriving as was been seen by another teacher for doing something silly
5) Child feeling ill and needs to see doctor
6) Child late as was in the toilet
7) Child overly excited about the lesson and going a bit crazy and needed a bit of calming down (yep this has happened)
8) Children not in any state to learn as a bird was flying around the hall
9) Children desperately and excitedly trying to tell me that their teacher had dressed up as a wolf and was blowing their houses down
10) Child crying as another child had kicked him in the foot by accident walking into the room.
Because of these and many more I have forgotten about, the beginning of the lesson can be taken up with talking or dealing with some individual children. If you are dealing with this child what are the others doing? This is why we have the Instrument of the Week. It is only for 3 to 4 minutes and the children find their spot on the carpet and watch a short video featuring one or a small group of instruments. I then ask specific children questions afterwards to test their observance and understanding. I ask if the instrument is big, small, high or low and something about the music itself. We the put the name and picture of the instrument into the correct family on the wall. At the end of the lesson I always refer back to this to refresh their memories.
This time is also useful if I need to talk to a TA or put some instruments out if there has been no time to do this before the start of the lesson. I will try to bring the real instrument out for the children to see if we have one.
What instruments do we do? Well there are about 30 lessons taking away the lessons we aren’t in the room for educational visits, transition days and show rehearsals in the hall. So that means 30 instruments of instrument combinations. Here they are for Year 1:
5) Double Bass
12) Glass Bottles
13) String Quartet (Involves viola)
14) Flute, Clarinet and Oboe
15) French Horn
19) Saxophone (explain why it is woodwind and not brass)
20) The Drum Kit
21) Peter and the Wolf Strings
22) Peter and the Wolf Woodwind
23) Peter and the Wolf Brass
24) Peter and the Wolf Percussion
25) Piano Quintet
26) Wind Quintet
27) Brass Quintet
28) Rock Band
30) Symphony Orchestra
Year 2 is slightly different as we have mainly the same instruments but different music. There are also some less well known instruments such as the ukelele, banjo, Thai instruments such as the ranat, khim, klui, ching and kong wong and lots of different combinations of instruments for the children to identify.