Spring Sing

April 4, 2013

About 500 people packed Lanterman Auditorium on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 for Walden School’s Spring Sing, “Singing Around The World.” The musical selections included songs from Europe, Africa, the Americas, and Asia. Sixth Grader Chloe Gunara said, “by learning music from around the world, we can better understand, appreciate, and respect others’ cultures and different points of view. World Music emphasizes inclusivity and embraces change so you may notice a pattern of call and response, moments of storytelling, or using music as a way to teach something new.”

Pre-Kindergarten students performed a song together called “A Ram Sam Sam.” This song is from The Kingdom of Morocco, a country in the northern part of Africa. The song is used today for a children’s call and answer singing game, and is performed in the folk music style of Chaabi (CHA­BY), which means “popular.” Chaabi was originally performed in markets, but is now found at any celebration or meeting. The students chose this song because it was a good song for them to explore, learn, and practice playing new instruments together.

Other classes sang songs from Kenya, China, Mexico, France, Jamaica, Ireland, Uruguay, Spain, and Cameroon. One class of second and third graders wrote to the Tlingit tribe in Alaska to ask permission to sing the Tlingit “Canoe Song.” In Tlingit society, many things are considered property that in other societies would not be, so this song is given as a gift or for trade.  Students were granted permission to perform this song by a member of the Killer Whale clan.

Walden School’s music program, rooted in the renowned Orff-Schulwerk approach to music education, emphasizes the joy of music-making and encourages children to create their own music. Students are gradually introduced to basic musicianship, theory, and composition—skills not usually taught in elementary classrooms. “They get the same exposure to playing music that I got at San Francisco Conservatory,” Music Teacher Alejandro Lazo, Ph.D. says, “of course, at their level.”

Click here for video excerpts: http://youtu.be/Hs4bUGSTC6k

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