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

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Weekly Review 3/25 - 3/28

This has been another short week, but that didn't stop the action in music!  Here's what we were up to:

The first graders continued the violin, mastering all open strings (G, D, A, and E).  We played them in order, then challenged the students with different patterns.  We also read a great book, "Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin."  This book uses the instruments of the orchestra to teach the special music words used for different sized ensembles:
One musician - solo
Two musicians - duet
Three musicians - trio
Four musicians - quartet
Five musicians - quintet
Six musicians - sextet
Seven musicians - septet
Eight musicians - octet
Nine musicians - nonet
Ten or more musicians in a small ensemble - chamber group

The second grade students once again performed the bass line for "Bluebird, Bluebird" on the violin while half of the class sang.  They were so excited to start learning the fingered notes on the violin.  By placing the first finger of the left hand on the D string (covering the tape closest the the scroll), the resulting note is E.  They learned that there is more than one E on the instrument, including the fingered E we just played, as well as the open E string!  After that, we played F# (spoken as "F Sharp") by adding the second finger.  Using F#, E, and D, we played Hot Cross Buns!! It was a lot of fun.

The third grade students enjoyed their musical centers again this week, and next week we will be switching our "Classical Snap" for a different music game.  As a reminder, the centers are: Composers Corner, Book Nook, Music Games, Rhythm Games, Practicing, and Testing.  The students reviewed the low notes E and D.  These ones are tricky because the holes need to be covered all the way: leaks make squeaks!  Please help your child with this at home if their instrument sounds squeaky.  Thank you!

The fourth and fifth grade students learned how to play "Hot Cross Buns" on the violin, and next week the fifth graders will play with the bow!  Bowing is more challenging than pizzicato, and it will be fun to experiment with the different sound that it makes!

In chorus this week, the students finished the song "Turn the World Around."  It has a great upbeat tempo and a cool clapping part!  The syncopated rhythm is a bit tricky, but the students are starting to get the hang of it.  We also worked on the Three Elements song.  It is extra important to listen to each other and to the piano for this song.  It is a joy to have Mrs. Parry accompanying us once again, and to have her join us for rehearsals. Thanks Mrs. Parry!

Note to all chorus students:  CHORUS LYRICS ARE ON THE BLOG! :)
Please click HERE to view them, and to practice at home!   All music needs to be memorized by the time we get back from April Vacation.

We hope you have a wonderful long weekend!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Weekly Review 3/18-3/22

Even though we had a snow day this week, that did not stop us from having fun in music!

Our first grade students continued the Irish theme by learning a song called, "If You Ever See a Leprechaun."  While singing the song, students passed around 2 shamrocks on a steady beat. Whoever ended up with the shamrocks after the song ended got to play either the bongo drum on the words "1,2,3," or got to play a glissando on the glockenspiel, after the word "pot."  First graders were really excited to finally play pizzicato on the open strings G and D. Pizzicato is a playing technique that involves plucking the strings of a string instrument with your finger.

Second graders were able to guess the bass line for one of their favorite songs: "Bluebird, Bluebird"
The students had a lot of fun singing the song and also playing the bass line on violin. They had to play the open strings- G, D, and A. The second graders are becoming very proficient in playing the open springs. I think it may be time to learn the fingered notes next week!

In third grade, the students reviewed the low note E and practiced playing on the recorder, "Lucy Locket." We also played the "Lucy Locket" game to go along with the green belt song. Many of the students played this game in first grade but wanted to play it again since it went along with the song. It was a lot of fun! We also learned the low note D. Since the note G and the low note D are very similar, we played the two notes with our eyes closed so that we could feel exactly which holes we were covering with our fingers.

Fourth grade and fifth grade students continued playing pizzicato on the violin on the open strings- G, D, A, and E. We played various 4 beat combinations using the open string notes.  Some of the students played 4 beat patterns on the violin and the rest of the class echoed their pattern.

In chorus, the fourth grade students sang "Turn the World Around" and "Cool Under Fire" with our piano accompanists. For both songs, we focused on dynamics and rhythm. The fifth graders finished "Singin' In the Rain" and added sound affects to "The Wind" song. We can't wait to add dance movements soon!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

5th Grade Violin Photos

The fifth grade student have remembered SO much from last year!  Today we flew through the open strings (G, D, A, E), and will be playing songs like "Hot Cross Buns" next week.

Friday, March 15, 2013

2nd Grade Violin Photos

Below you'll see the students from Mrs. Nelson and Ms. McLaughlin's classes playing the violin!

Weekly Review 3/11 - 3/15

This has been a great week!  It was nice to get some sunshine, and take advantage of the time change.  Here's what we were up to in music:

First grade students started violins!  You can learn more about the violin unit HERE.  We taught them about the different parts of the instrument, and the function of each:

  • Scroll
  • Pegs
  • Peg Box
  • Strings
  • Nut
  • Fingerboard
  • Neck
  • Body
  • Ribs
  • Bridge
  • Sound Post
  • F Holes
  • Tailpiece
  • Chin Rest
  • Button
  • Parts of the bow: frog, stick, tip, grip, screw, hair
See if your child can point to each part on the violin picture above!

The second graders continued the violin unit by reviewing rest position, playing position, and pizzicato.  We were excited to discover that they remembered so much from last year! We plucked the G, D, A, and E strings with varied rhythms (using our Conversational Solfege rhythm syllables).  The students also learned the bass line for one of their favorite songs - but Mrs. Niu and I have not revealed what song it is! :)  They will find out next week....

In third grade, the students continued their rotating centers (you can read more about that HERE).  We also learned the new note E so that students can play "Lucy Locket."  We are so proud of all of the third graders- it is fun, yet challenging to learn a new instrument, and we are impressed by their dedication.  Many students are volunteering to come for extra help/testing in the mornings and during recess.  Please as your child to play for you at home- your support will encourage them to continue working, and I'm sure they are proud of their accomplishments thus far and excited to share that with you!  In their second music class, the third graders started a book about Freddie the Frog.   The story incorporates their notation skills (reading notes on a staff) with a fun recording and lots of music!

Fourth grade students started the violin unit this week.  As third graders last year, they never learned the violin since they were focusing on the recorder.  They were eager to learn, yet patient as we taught them the different parts of the instrument and how to play.  In chorus, they finished the song "Cool Under Fire."  It is a really fun and jazzy song, and we cannot wait to add the special spoken parts, along with some acting!

Fifth graders continued the violin this week, and reviewed rest position and playing position.  We reviewed the four strings, and pizzicato.  They are excited to start playing next week!  In chorus, we sang "Singin' in the Rain" from the classic movie/musical.  It has a swinging tune and fun tempo changes.  The harmony is a bit difficult, but the students are embracing the challenge and really stepping it up!  We are looking forward to adding dancing and movement.

Hope you had a great week, and enjoy the weekend!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Weekly Review 3/4-3/8

We can't believe it's March already! Hopefully spring is just around the corner!

This week in first grade, each student got the opportunity to play over fifteen different percussion instruments which included the bongo drums, agogo bells, and the guiro. Ask your child what his/her favorite instrument is! We also played a fun percussion game called, "Walk in the House," which also gave many students an opportunity to be soloist. It was so much fun that we will have to continue this game next week!

Second grade students began their violin unit with Mrs. Rzasa performing familiar tunes on her violin. Mrs. Rzasa is an accomplished violist who also plays the violin. We reviewed the parts of the violin and our second graders remembered so much from first grade.  Next week, these students will play pizzicato on the violin.

In third grade, we started 6 different activity centers for students to rotate to as Mrs. Rzasa and I test students for their recorder belts. Here are the following 6 centers:
   1.  Testing
   2.  Practicing
   3.  Rhythm Stick Game (making 4 beat rhythms with popsicle sticks)
   4.  Musical Game- Game of the week was, "Classical Snaps."
   5.  Composer's Corner- student compose their own music using B,A and G
   6.  Book Nook- Students silently read music books

We hope your child is having fun with these music centers! We also learned how to play low E on the recorder and how to play the orange belt song, "Gently Sleep."
The fourth and fifth grade students performed their written composition on percussion instruments this week. Fourth grade students had to perform their composition in ABA form and fifth grade students had to perform their composition in ABACABA form, or also known as Rondo form. We have alot of creative students! We will be posting videos of some students playing their composition so stay tuned!

We hope you all are enjoying this snow day with your children! Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Weekly Review 2/25 - 3/1

We're sorry that the Weekly Review for last week is going up late!  Mrs. Niu and I were in Boston on Thursday and Friday to attend a music teaching conference.  We learned a few new songs and games that we cannot wait to share with the students!

First grade students learned about the Percussion Family.  To produce a sound on a percussion instrument you need to strike it, shake it, or scrape it.  Students were introduced to the following hand percussion instruments- and will be playing them all this week:

  • Egg Shaker
  • Maraca
  • Claves
  • Rhythm Sticks
  • Wrist Bells
  • Sleigh Bells
  • Wood Block
  • Cow Bell
  • Agogo Bells
  • Guiro
  • Cymbals
  • Finger Cymbals
  • Triangle
  • Ratchet
  • Cabasa
  • Vibraslap
  • Hand Drum
  • Bongos
Second graders played Instrument Bingo!  The last time we played, we did it the easy way.  This time,   students were challenged to remember all of the instrument sounds heard to fill in their bingo boards.  Some were simple (violin, trumpet, bass drum, etc), and others were quite tricky! (vibraphone, shamisen, metronome, etc.)  A few of the students won prizes to take home!

The third graders continued to practice their songs on the recorder.  They are working on Merrily We Roll Along, Gently Sleep, and Lucy Locket.  We also played with JoyTunes:

To get more information about JoyTunes, please visit our blog post HERE.

Most of the fourth and fifth grade students finished their compositions on the computer using MuseScore.  Their scores were printed, and saved as audio files!  We are hoping to share a few with you here on the blog soon.  In addition, two new songs were introduced in chorus this week:  "Singin' in the Rain" for fifth grade, and "Cool Under Fire" for fourth.  

We hope you had a great weekend!