Oh which child doesn't like whispering then screaming as loudly as they can or screaming, then whispering as softly as they can. Whispering and screaming are two different volumes; two different levels of sound.
Sound levels are something we are exposed to every day. From the quiet rustling of the leaves to your neighbors barking dog or the fire engine blaring past, sound levels are all around us in varied forms. These levels are obviously an integral part of music. From composing to arranging to live performance detail is paid to the different levels of individual instruments and the entire composition as a whole.
Even in daily life when we speak, sound levels can help others determine our mood, personality, and character to name a few.
In the lives of children, sound levels are paid particular attention. Words such as "inside voice" and "whisper tone" are used as a way of helping children understand when they should bring their sound level down a notch or two. In the case of some special needs individuals sometimes sound levels can be particularly stressing, especially levels that are on the loud spectrum.
So you see, without going into too much detail, it is clear that sound levels play an important role in our daily lives. That said, we are currently exploring more activities within our "Ocean" theme and we had our awesome jellyfish umbrella prop, which we thought would be perfect to use as a visual aid to complement our sound level lesson; crescendo and decrescendo fun and also helps children understand how a crescendo and decrescendo is achieved.
How did it go?
This activity gradually moves through different sound levels; starting at a soft level and gradually rising to a louder level (crescendo) then gradually climbing down from that loud level to end at a soft level (decrescendo). It was a big hit primarily because of our awesome prop. The prop definitely did its job. Either way, the activity itself was compelling on its own. Our students loved the idea of whispering quietly and gradually getting louder, then shouting their lungs out only to eagerly glide back down to a quiet level. At the end of the activity, they were able to understand the difference between jumping from soft to loud and vice versa versus gradually moving from soft to loud and vice versa.
A suggestion when doing this activity would be to start off with a quick demonstration of the activity. This way your students will know exactly what to do once the actual activity commences.
Take a look!
So if you are a little bit intrigued, then feel free to check out our video. You will see how we used the prop in relation to the scope of the activity. We are confident that your students will not only love the prop, but learn a little bit more about sound levels. They will also perfect this with repetition, of course, so feel free to repeat it as many times as you'd prefer. We surely hope this activity can add a new ocean-themed crescendo and decrescendo lesson to your repertoire!
Let Your Voices Be Heard,
Tiva & Randa