Mrs. Niu - Mrs. Rzasa -
For all information regarding the Memorial String Orchestra Program, please click HERE.  

Friday, February 9, 2018

Weekly Review 2/5-2/9

This week, the first graders did patterns in triple meter. This means that each beat gets divided in to 3 equal parts. We challenged them by making each pattern more difficult than the last. The students did so great with this challenge!  They also finished watching Peter and the Wolf - it was so great to get to hear the beautiful music that Prokofiev composed while watching the movie.

The second grade students continued the Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra.  Most classes completed the activities for the woodwind family and the string family.  Next week we will be finishing things up with the brass and percussion families.

The third graders learned their first song on the recorder! They used the notes B, A, and G to play Hot Cross Buns.  This happens to be the white belt song for our Recorder Karate program.  If you have a child in third grade, please encourage them to practice at home.  Next week we will start belt testing, and we will be available for extra help in the mornings beginning after break.

The fourth and fifth graders continued to focus on rhythm this week in preparation for their composing unit - ABA form for 4th and rondo form for 5th.  They also reviewed all of the hand percussion instruments.  Here are some 5th graders introducing you to some of the instruments!

In chorus, the students started to learn new languages! The fourth graders were singing "J'entends le Moulin," which means "I hear the mill." It is a traditional French Canadian folk song. Fifth graders worked on a Columbian dance song, "Cumbia del Sol."  It was so much fun!

We hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Weekly Review 1/29-2/2

This week, the first grade students have continued their Peter and the Wolf unit by watching the movie! We don't watch movies often in music class, but this one is a great way for the students to connect the story with the music.  Next week, they will be finishing this unit with a fun and exciting activity! Students also added another hand clapping routine to, "A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea."

The second grade students have been learning about the four main instrument families, and this week they started to learn about the Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra.  The piece was composed by Benjamin Britten, a famous English composer, in 1946.   It was written to help teach children about the instruments of the orchestra.  The second graders played an interactive Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra game in class- it is a listening activity that takes you on a safari adventure as you visit the four instrument families and unlock each of their games.

Third grade students received a very special instrument this week- A RECORDER!! Students were very excited about this. Here is some information to help your students succeed with the recorder:
  • The students need to bring their recorders to class for each music day.  
  • Mrs. Rzasa and I will be taking "recorder attendance," and three or more unprepared days will result in a call home.  The students will learn best when they have their instrument in school!
  • Recorders are only allowed to be played in music and outside of school.  Please remind your child not to play on the bus or in their regular classroom.
  • To help students succeed, home practice is necessary.  Please have your child aim for 5 minutes each day.  Of course, more is always good too!  Since the recorders are new, they will likely practice a lot- but this may fade in the coming weeks.  Ask your child to play for you to help encourage them!
  • To clean the recorders, you may wash them with warm soapy water, or place them in the TOP RACK of the dishwasher. 
  • Thank you- we appreciate your patience and support as your child learns a new instrument!

Our fourth and fifth graders are beginning their composition unit!  We reviewed all the different note values from our recorder unit in third grade- quarter note, quarter rest, half note, and an eighth note pair.  For our fifth graders, we added a half rest. Next week, they will be choosing their partners  and writing their compositions. Fourth grade students will compose an "ABA" form and fifth grade students will compose a Rondo form, also known as "ABABA."

Here is a picture of a 5th grade student helping out a 4th grade student on the cello during recess time.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Weekly Review 1/22 - 1/26

The first grade students are really enjoying their Peter and the Wolf Unit!  This week, they worked on a listening map.  Each part of the map included a fun activity, such as drawing the different characters and identifying different instruments. They really enjoyed listening to the story, narrated by Patrick Stewart, as well as the beautiful music written by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev!

The second graders have been continuing their instrument family unit. This week, we focused on the woodwind and brass families.

Common woodwind instruments:

  • Flute
  • Clarinet
  • Saxaphone
  • Oboe
  • Bassoon
  • Recorder
Common brass instruments:
  • Trumpet
  • Trombone
  • French Horn
  • Tuba

The third grade students took a practice test to help them prepare for their music notation test next week.  They did such a great job!  Most students won't even need to study :) For students who wanted just a little extra practice with notation were able to come to extra help at recess.  Next week will be exciting since we will be getting the recorders!!

This morning we went on a field trip to see the Lexington Symphony perform.  Click HERE for the blog post and lots of photos!

The fourth and fifth graders enjoyed performing chords on the tone chimes along with a famous song.  Fourth grade students played the accompaniment to "Auld Lang Syne," and the fifth graders rocked out to "Take On Me."  Check out their videos below!

In chorus, the students started learning songs for their spring concert.  The theme is "What a Wonderful World." Of course, one of their pieces is a song by the same name, made famous by Louis Armstrong.  Armstrong is a legendary jazz trumpet player and singer, and his nickname is "Satchmo!"