Reflections on SongWorks Teaching

by Rebecca Hahn

January 2023

Greetings from Minnesota!

Last Spring, as I was being observed by my peer leader at school, she asked me to show the reading coach what I was doing, which led me to be asked to share an arrangement lesson for my elementary school faculty during workshop week in August. Who knew that SongWorks practices and principles tie in so nicely with the workshop model that my school district wants all teachers to be using? The teachers in my workshop were a little shy about sharing their arrangements, but it was super fun to watch and listen to them create using our SongWorks picture scores! I posted the faculty creations outside my door as a secret song.

My third-grade orchestra students have been learning to play “Hot Cross Buns” this fall and have just begun writing their own arrangements. I recently took them on a field trip to the hallway, where they studied the teachers’ arrangements and were so proud to be able to play them. This sparked their creativity, gave them ideas for their own arrangements, and was fun! In the upcoming weeks, we will be listening to each other’s arrangements during small group lessons and then will create a “Hot Cross Buns Rondo” using a few arrangements to create a B and C section for our December Concert. I’m so excited to hear what the kids create!

After the SWEA conference last spring, I knew I wanted to teach “The Penny Song” to my string students. My 4th and 5th grade orchestra students have had so much fun learning to sing and play the song and the game. They are also working on creating arrangements which will be turned into a “Penny Song Rondo” for our concert. It is delightful to see the excitement in my students when they have an arrangement to play, and I love the sense of ownership my students have when they are involved in creating our concert music.

I’m so thankful to have taken the SongWorks Level 3 Practicum last year. It has helped me feel more confident using SongWorks practices and helped me be a better teacher. It’s been very exciting to share what I do with my school. Without the encouragement and support of my SongWorks mentors and friends, I would never have been brave enough to say yes to presenting for my school faculty or submit a proposal to our state music conference.

Please find some photos included. The first ones are of the faculty meeting and the teacher scores from my wall. The next ones are current third grade string student “Hot Cross Buns” arrangements. Use them as you wish!

– Rebecca Hahn

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