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

Monday, January 28, 2013

Auld Lang Syne- Mrs. Burns and Mrs. Gonzalez's Class Singing and Playing with Tone Chimes

Here is Mrs. Burn's Class singing, "Auld Lang Syne" and playing the tone chimes

Here is Mrs. Gonzalez's Class singing, "Auld Lang Syne" and playing the tone chimes

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Weekly Review 1/22-1/25

The first grade students created their very own Peter and the Wolf book.  On one page of the book, the students had to color the picture of an instrument. On the next page, the students had to draw and color the character that represented that particular instrument. This project tested their memories and brought out their creativity! We hope your first grader shared their Peter and the Wolf book with you.  The first grade students also learned a fun song with movement called, "A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea." Here is Mrs. Gearin and Mrs. Burnham's class performing this song:

This week, second graders put all that they learned about the 4 instrument families to the test! They played an interactive game on the Touch It Board called, "A Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra." It is based on Benjamin Britten's musical composition, "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra." It is a listening game that takes you on a safari adventure as you visit the 4 instrument families and unlock each of their games.

The third graders will be receiving their recorders very soon! If your student has not paid for one, PLEASE make sure that they pay for one as soon as possible! Third grade students will be taking a music test next week. Mrs. Rzasa and I handed every student a study guide. Everything that they need to know to pass the note reading exam is on the study guide! To prepare for the test and for the recorders, we have been playing fun music notation games on our classroom floor staff. We also wrote thank you notes to members of the Lexington Symphony, telling them what we enjoyed and what we learned from the concert.

We recorded all Fourth and fifth grade students playing "Auld Lang Syne" on the tone chimes. Mrs. Gonzalez and Mrs. Burn's class still need to be recorded. Other than these two classes, you can find your student's class video in the previous post. All the students performed and sang very well!

In chorus the students reviewed "The Wind (5th grade), " "Rhythm of the Rain (4th grade),"  "3 Elements (4th & 5th grade)" and started a new song called, "Turned the World Around (4th & 5th Grade)"

We hope you have a fabulous weekend! Please stay warm!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A song for the New Year

Do you know the song "Auld Lang Syne?"  Even if you don't recognize it by the title, I'm sure you have heard it before!  Every New Year, after the ball drops in New York City, this song is played.

"Auld Lang Syne" reminds you to keep your old memories and old friends as you enter the new year- to remember the "good old days."

Fourth and Fifth Grade students have been studying this song, and have added a chordal accompaniment with tone chimes.  The chords used are: F (F-A-C), C7 (C-E-G-Bb), and Bb (Bb-D-F).

Below are some videos of the students performing this beautiful song in class:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Weekly Review 1/14 - 1/18

This week, the first grade students continued learning about Peter and the Wolf.  We followed a listening map which visually shows each section of the song.  Each part of the map included a fun activity, such as drawing the different characters, identifying instruments or describing the music as happy or sad.  Our maps will be a part of our Peter and the Wolf Books which we will start to make next week!

The second graders learned two new instrument families this week:  the brass family and the woodwind family.

Common Brass Family Instruments:
French Horn

Common Woodwind Family Instruments:

The recorder, which students will play next year as 3rd graders, is also a woodwind instrument!

The third graders had an awesome time at their field trip to the Lexington Symphony on Wednesday!  Thank you to the parent chaperones- we hope you enjoyed the concert too.  Next week I will write a post including photos and more information about the trip!  The students also reviewed their music notation this week by playing fun games on our classroom floor staff.

Fourth and fifth grade students both worked on a song for the New Year, "Auld Lang Syne."  The song is traditionally sung on New Year's Day, at midnight (for those of us watching on TV, it's right after the ball drops!)  The song reminds us to remember our old friends and fond memories as we approach the new year.  The song sounded great as we sang it, but sounded even better with chordal accompaniment.  We used our new chord-building skills to play three different chords on the tone chimes.  Next week we will practice it a bit more, then record our performance!

In chorus the students reviewed songs we started last week ("The Wind" for fifth grade and "Rhythm of the Rain" for fourth), then started a new one about 3 of the elements.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Weekly Review 1/7 - 1/11

First grade students learned and read about Sergei Prokofiev's fairytale, "Peter and the Wolf." It is spoken by a narrator and accompanied by an orchestra. Each character in the story represents an instrument and has a musical theme:

Ask your first grader to share the story of "Peter and the Wolf" with you. We will continue studying this story next week with a listening map .

Second graders will be learning about the four instrument families over the next month. Musical instruments are grouped into families based on the sound that they make. This week, we learned about the percussion family.


Percussion instruments make sounds when you hit it, shake it, or scrape it. For example, a drum or tambourine makes a sound when you hit it. Maracas make a sound when you shake them. Guiros make a sound when you scrape them. Other percussion instruments include tambourine, triangle, bongo drum, cymbal, cowbell, and cabasa.

Our third grade students had some very specials visitors this week. Four musicians from the Lexington Symphony came and taught the students about the instrument families.  For many students, it was their first time seeing a violin, viola, clarinet and tuba at such a close range. The performers engaged our students with the sounds of their instruments and played familiar tunes that put a smile on each of their faces. On Thursday, Jan. 17th, the students will get an opportunity to watch and hear the whole orchestra perform. "Fancy" attire is strongly encouraged!

Fourth and Fifth grade students continued to learn and build chords on a special instrument called Tone Chimes.

Tone chimes are a type of hand bells made out of light-weight aluminum. When played, they create a long, clear, resonating tone. Both grades learned how to properly play the tone chimes. To produce a clear sound, the arm that is holding the tone chime is brought back to the ear in a circular motion. The wrist snaps as it comes back to the start position. The snap brings the clapper into contact with the chime tube, thus producing a resonating sound. We will continue to play the tone chimes next week to a very famous music. Stay tuned!

Chorus began again this week! Our theme for our spring concert is.................
              "The Four Elements- Fire, Water, Wind, and Earth." 
The fourth graders learned "Rhythm of the Rain" and the fifth graders learned, "The Wind."

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Visit from the Lexington Symphony

To prepare for their upcoming field trip, the third grade students had an exciting visit on Wednesday from four members of the Lexington Symphony Orchestra.

Students got up close and personal with the violin, viola, clarinet, and tuba.  (or as we pronounced it, the "TUUUUUUBAAA!").  The performers played beautiful music and taught us about their instruments.   We discussed the four instrument families (string, brass, woodwind, and percussion), and learned a little bit about concert etiquette.

Below are some pictures and video of our fun morning!

Thank you again to the Lexington Symphony for providing us with such an enriching experience! We are looking forward to our field trip to Cary Hall next Thursday January 17!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Weekly Review 1/2 - 1/4

We're so happy to see all of the students excited to be back to school.   It seems like everyone had a fun and relaxing vacation.  Here's what we were up to the past three days:

First grade students shared something about their winter break with the class- using only a singing voice!  It was fun to hear the students improvise a melody as solo singers.   We also did a movement activity while chanting "Hands, Hands."  The students learned a song that uses the whole scale called "I Have a Little Snowman," then played "Lucy Locket!"

In second grade this week, we played a new rhythm game called "Now Feel This."  To play, you lightly tap a 4 beat rhythm on a friend's shoulders, and they have to clap and speak that pattern!  We also decoded 4 beat rhythms in duple and triple meter, and learned a clapping routine to go along with a song called "Over the Prairie."  One of the classes still had some of the Nutcracker to watch (we didn't have time to finish before vacation), so they had the opportunity to see the ending!

Third graders discussed our upcoming visit from the Lexington Symphony, and reviewed the four instrument families to prepare for their presentation.  We played a fun game called "Instrument Family Four Corners" and identified what instrument sounds were heard.  

Fourth and Fifth grade students learned about building chords.  A chord (unlike a pitch or interval) consists of three or more notes.  We focused on notes that have 3 or 4 pitches, and used music letter cards to help build them.  Here's a picture of some of the fourth graders getting ready to build a chord following our "keep a note, skip a note..." rule:

Once we knew how to make the chords, we used the classroom floor staff to learn how to notate and label them. It was a lot of fun!

We hope you have an amazing weekend!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Important 3rd Grade Dates

Hello and happy 2013!

We have some exciting things planned for this new year, especially in third grade.  Below is an outline of some important upcoming dates!

Friday January 4 - Lexington Symphony field trip money is due.  The permission slip and $8 must be given to us in order for your child to attend the trip.
Wednesday January 9 - Four members of the Lexington Symphony will visit Memorial to prep the students for the concert.  They will be playing some familiar tunes as well as some that might be new to your child!  This assembly will occur during the 3rd grade specials block.
Thursday January 17 - Field trip to Carey Hall in Lexington.  The program is organized by the Lexington Symphony Orchestra, and is entitled Orchestrating Kids Through Classics.  We encourage students to get dressed up for the performance, as it is the typical attire for attending classical music concerts (This of course is optional).
Friday January 25 - Recorder money is due.  $6 cash will pay for a recorder, carrying case, and fingering chart for your child.  If your child has an older sibling who already has a recorder they may use that.  We do not recommend that you purchase a recorder on your own- the recorders need to be alike and equally in tune.

Thank you, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions!