Here’s a big “Thank you” to Lori for suggesting a song to post. It was a good choice, too! Not only is Hogs in the Cornfield a useful song, but it’s a fun game for the students to play. Here are a few ways that I use Hogs in the Cornfield:
1. Phrase 1 for ta-dimi prep
2. Phrase 2 for takadi prep
3. Phrase 2 for high do’ prep
Rather than elaborate on all three concepts, I’ll just touch on the third one, do’ preparation. Everyone learns in different ways, so it’s important to provide kinesthetic, aural, and visual learning opportunities. Kinesthetic activities might include singing and clapping in contour, pointing to a picture or the words in contour, or even moving the body higher or lower as the voice moves. Aural questions involve identifying the pitches for each beat of phrase two and calling do’ “high.” It’s important at this stage to identify how far the “high” sound is from la. (a skip, or two steps) Finally, students should have the opportunity to create a visual representation of the phrase on their own. I like to use Unifix cubes, but almost any small object will work. Some teachers will allow their students to use anything in the room to make their picture. Brave souls! Personally, I like Unifix cubes because four cubes equals one beat and each student receives a baggie with four beats. Some students can make a melodic picture very quickly while others may need to sing the phrase several times or receive one on one assistance. Need to show your principal differentiation? Ask the more advanced students to figure out the rhythms, break the cubes into a rhythmic representation, and then move them into melodic contour.
While you’re prepping a new melodic concept, students should demonstrate known melodic concepts. Why not have the students read or write the solfége to phrase 1 prior to the kinesthetic, aural, and visual steps? It’s a great way for students to hear the interval from so to do’ (end of phrase 1 into phrase 2) and should help them identify do’ to la (beginning of phrase 2) as being closer.
For more information about preparing and presenting high do, I recommend Kodály Today by Mícheál Houlahan and Philip Tacka.
Which techniques have worked well in your classroom?