Ellen Foncannon Stephenson
Music: New music: instructional music concepts for theory, band, and choral
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Ellen Foncannon Stephenson's choral, keyboard and instrumental works published by Alfred, Lillenas, Pavane and others have been performed internationally. Her choral signature piece Cold and Fugue Season has sold almost a million copies and achieved Basic Library status with J.W. Pepper Music. Working closely with Craig Ramsell, the inventor of Boomwhackers® Tuned Percussion Tubes and founder of Whacky Music, Inc., she developed a full line of educational products and curriculum for Boomwhackers® Musical Tubes. As the company representative she was the educational consultant at the National Association of Music Merchants, the International Toy Fair and the National School Supply & Equipment Association. Studies at Fort Hays State University and the University of Kansas prepared her for this life-long career in the music business and education sectors. She is a popular speaker at music workshops including Colorado, Nebraska, Indiana and California state conventions and recently became a faculty member for Inspiration Point Piano Camp near Eureka Springs, AR.
After years of classroom and private instruction in Kansas, Arizona and the Washington D.C. area, she is currently involved in the unique cultural life of Eureka Springs. She is a member of ASCAP
and enjoys all her teaching, performing, accompanying and composition activities.
My approach to this music project is a game format. We are “doers” and when students are involved in the process we all enjoy learning. Music is a language combining the two elements of pitch and rhythm. Although notation can be memorized, rhythm begins as an experience and feeling. I often hear from older students and adults that they never understood counting. And, well, they quit. I'm convinced experiencing beat and rhythm with physical activity, rather than listening to a lecture or watching a demonstration, is the key to rhythmic success. Using percussion tools like Boomwhackers, hand drums and bells are excellent tools to advance this communication in an informal and effective way. Boomwhackers and bells also use the Chroma-Notes colored based system, coordinating with the color wheel, which cross over into notation skills.
Rhythm is our primary objective using Whack-a Boom Card Games and also note values with Music Mind Games. Concurrently we will be learning the musical alphabet with both steps and skips and progressing to other intervals as well. Active games including relays, tossing and crossing tubes provide unforgettable fun. We will then combinie these skills to compose our own music.
The overall description complete week lesson plan is detailed in the AIE Narrative 1: Sample Work Lesson Plan. Below is a more general plan for an Across-the-Curriculum program showing Boomwhacker applications for all subjects.
Across-the-Curriculum (adapted to all age groups)
Music: Discover rhythm and pitch with hands-on instruments.
Learn music concepts with Whack-a Boom! Cards & Music Mind Games.
Play music literature appropriate to level.
Learn notation and compose songs.
Science: Relate tube length to pitch.
Experiment with other materials affecting pitch. (water, internal tubes)
Math: Learn music note values.
Make shapes of triangles, rectangles, etc.
Art: Make and play designs with primary, secondary and tertiary colors.
Relate color to tube pitch, Design the color wheel with Boomwhackers.
Physical Education: Running, tossing, “sword” play and relay activities.
Language: Use syllables for rhythm games.
Create word and rhyme verses to play.
Drama: Use the tubes as props in Charades and imaginative play.
- Preferred Age Level: Elementary; Middle/Junior High
- Geographic Availability: Northwest and Western Arkansas
- Time Availability: Open exceptthe month of December
- Special Needs: large space for movement, preferrably carpeted; CD player and adequate sound system for the space; electircal outlets; paper and pencils