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

Friday, May 31, 2013

Weekly Review 5/27 - 5/31

This week in music, the first graders continued their lesson on Camille Saint-Saens' "Carnival of the Animals."  Early in the week we focused on Fossils.  Most people associate fossils with dinosaur bones, but any petrified bone or skeleton is considered a fossil.  After moving their bodies along with the fast tempo of the song, they worked on a listening map. The students distinguished the xylophone sounds from that of the strings, piano, and clarinet.  It was fun to listen for the familiar tune, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" that Saint-Saens incorporated into the piece!  For their second music class, the students culminated the unit by watching a video of each song being performed by the different sections of the orchestra.  It was a lot of fun!

The second grade students have started 2 new songs this week, "Ah Poor Bird" and "Hey Ho."  Both songs are in the minor tonality, and can be sung as partner songs!  Partner songs are two songs of the same length that line up harmonically so that they sound good together.  We added 3 Orff percussion ostinati.  The alto xylophone was used for a simple pattern, the soprano xylophone for one of medium difficulty, and the trickiest pattern was played on the glockenspiel.  A few students helped those performers by playing a steady beat on a hand drum.

The third graders had their very last Centers Day this week.  **Please note: We will not be testing students in the morning or during recess any more this year.  Any student who wants to continue practicing their instrument may do so, and we have copies of all of the belt songs in the classroom for them to take home.  We are SO proud of everyone's accomplishments on the recorder, and we encourage the students to consider joining band next year!  In their second music class this week, the students learned a new song called "Old Brass Wagon." This folk song was sung, played on the recorder, and one class even started to learn the circle dance!  We will continue this activity next week.

Fourth and fifth grade students started compositions on the iPad using an app called "Looptastic."  Last year, I wrote a post with more information about the program, and you can find that HERE.  The app is free for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.  You can also download additional loop sets for free or for a small fee.  The students had fun experimenting with the texture of their music, along with tempo and dynamics.  Next week, we will use the iPads once more to finish the compositions, then share them with the rest of the class.

For their second music class, the fourth graders revisited the Cup Game from the beginning of the school year.  Fifth grade students continued to work on "Today is the Day," in preparation for their Moving Up ceremony.  Two classes learned the second part, and all students are helping us with dance moves for the refrain.

~~This year's Musical Showcase is during the week of June 17th for all classes ~~
We look forward to seeing the students' performances!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Weekly Review 5/20-5/24

CONGRATULATIONS to our wonderful 3rd Graders for an outstanding performance at our annual Memorial Day Assembly! Our 3rd graders played two songs on the recorder, sang two patriotic songs, and taught us all what Memorial Day is all about. Here are some pictures from the assembly:

First grade students are studying about Camille Saint-Saens', "Carnival of the Animals." It is a humorous musical suite consisting of fourteen movements:
  • Lion's Royal March
  • Hens and Roosters
  • Mules
  • Tortoises
  • Elephants
  • Kangaroos
  • Aquarium
  • Donkey
  • Cuckoo
  • Aviary
  • Pianists
  • Fossils
  • Swans
  • Finale

We read the book and listened to the music of each movement.  After discussing the sounds of each movement, the students got into small groups and made up movements for each animal. Next week, we will continue to study this musical suite with sound maps.

In second grade, students are preparing for their "Famous American Tea Time" in June with two patriotic songs: "You're a Grand Old Flag" and "We Love the USA." The lyrics to both of these songs can be found here. Hand motions were added to both songs to facilitate memorization. We also played a fun "move and freeze" and a "erase and memorize" game to help us remember the words to both of these songs.

Our fourth and fifth graders finished watching the classical movie, "Singin' in the Rain." Two fourth grade classes reviewed the cup game and played various versions of this game. It was fun to see how many students remembered this fun activity that was taught back in September.

We can't believe that our fifth graders will be "moving up" to the middle school in less than one month! To prepare for their "Moving Up" ceremony which will happen on Thursday, June 13th, they learned a song called, "Today Is The Day." They will be performing this song during their ceremony. Lyrics to the song can be found here.

We hope you all have a fabulous three day weekend! A special THANKS to all the men and women who have died serving our country!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

1st Grade- Mrs. Burnham's Class Compositions

With their partners, our first grade students performed their ABA compositions using either a triangle, hand shaker, hand drum, or a pair of rhythm sticks. 

Here are the performances from Mrs. Burnham's class...... ENJOY!!!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Weekly Review 5/13 - 5/17

This has been another wonderful week in music!

The first grade students completed their ABA composing projects.  Each pair of students selected two percussion instruments with different timbres.  They were able to choose the rhythm sticks, triangle, hand drum, or egg shaker.  Below are the link to the videos for each class!

The first graders also started to learn about the Carnival of the Animals- by French composer Camille Saint-Saens.  You'll hear more about that next week!

In second grade, students completed and performed the lyrics they wrote for the class composition.  Here are the links to their videos!

In their second music class this week, the students started to learn "We Love the USA"- a song that they will sing for their Famous American Tea project!

Third graders are getting so excited about their Memorial Day assembly next week!  To prepare for the musical portion, they have been singing "Grand Old Flag" and "It's a Day to Honor Those Who Served."  Both songs will feature two soloists, and the students who have tried out so far have done an amazing job!  It will be difficult for Mrs. Niu and me to choose only 4 student soloists!  The assembly will also include two recorder songs: "Hot Cross Buns" and "Old MacDonald."  Please encourage your child to practice at home!

As a reward for such hard work leading up to our Spring concert, the fourth and fifth grade students have started watching the classic 1952 musical, "Singin' in the Rain." It's a very funny movie that takes place in the 1920s during the change from silent films to "talkies."  There are great songs and amazing dances in the movie.  The students were able to hear how the movie version of the song "Singin' in the Rain" differs from the choral arrangement the 5th graders sang in the concert.  We will be finishing the last 20 minutes of the movie next week!

We hope you have an awesome weekend, and enjoy the sunshine!

ABA compositions by Mrs. Panagiatopoulos' class!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

McLaughlin's Compositions

Below are the videos for Ms. McLaughlin's class compositions.  You can find more information about their group project HERE.

"The black lagoon is very scary, no one's alive"

"Ms. Rzasa is the best. She sings the best melodies"

"Beagle hounds are nice dogs. Chihuahuas are nice dogs too"

"Music has a good sound. Play a tune and do a round"

"I love pizza, da doo.  So let's eat a pizza now"

"There are lots of yummy desserts to eat all the time"

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

1st Grade- Mrs. Gearin's Class Compositions

With their partners, our first grade students performed their ABA compositions using either a triangle, hand shaker, hand drum, or a pair of rhythm sticks. 

Here are the performances from Mrs. Gearin's class...... ENJOY!!!

2nd Grade- Mrs. Nelson's Class Compositions

Here are the compositions from Mrs. Nelson's class. Enjoy!!

1st Grade- Mrs. Calandrelli's Class Compositions

With their partners, our first grade students performed their ABA compositions using either a triangle, hand shaker, hand drum, or a pair of rhythm sticks. 

Here are the performances from Mrs. Calandrelli's class...... ENJOY!!!

2nd Grade- Mrs. Farrand's Class Compositions

Here are the compositions from Mrs. Farrand's class. Enjoy!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Weekly Review- 5/6-5/10

A BIG CONGRATULATIONS to our  4th and 5th graders for putting on a wonderful performance on Wednesday! Your hard work paid off! Mrs. Rzasa and I are so proud of you all!

With their partners, the first grade students  performed their song using body percussion in ABA form. They did a great job! Then we transfered these compositions to hand percussion instruments. Students could choose from 4 different instruments: hand shakers, hand drums, triangles, or rhythm sticks. In order to ensure different timbres in each composition, partners had to pick different instruments. We can't wait to hear each group perform next week! We will post their performances on the blog. Stay tuned!

Each second grade class composed their very own two measure long class song. Each student contributed either a rhythmic value or a pitch to the song. It was nice to see how uniquely different each class's song was. The students also worked together in groups of two or three to add lyrics to the song.   Each group focused on making sure the syllables of each word in their song matched up to the rhythm in the composition. Mrs. Siegal's class's performance is up on the blog. Stay tuned for the other three classes!

Third grade students are busy preparing for Memorial Day Assembly. The assembly will be on Friday, May 24th, at 9:00am. The assembly will consist of recorder playing, speaking parts, and songs- "It's a Day To Honor Those Who Served" and "You're A Grand Old Flag!" Lyrics are on the blog now! Make sure you take the time to memorize the songs! Don't forget to memorize your white and purple belt songs!

Happy Mother's Day to ALL the moms out there!!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

2nd Grade Compositions

On Tuesday, Mrs. Siegel's class composed a two measure song.  Each student contributed either a rhythmic value or a pitch to the song, and it was fun to listen to it once it was finished.  Everyone was so proud of the final composition!

Today, the students worked together in groups of two or three to add lyrics to the song.   Each group focused on making sure the syllables of each word in their song matched up to the rhythm in the composition.

Check it out!

"Lacrosse is so awesome 'cause you get to slash"

"I like Taco Tuesday on my big birthday"

"Monsters like to live in flowers in late Spring"

"Hamsters are so tiny, so cuddly, and cute"

"Oceans are so salty and cool and fun"

"I like tacos with meat.  It is very good"

"Iron Man is so cool and he can fly high"

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

To Stop the Train

Today, the second grade students sang the song "To Stop the Train" in three different ways.  Enjoy!

PS. Don't forget, tonight is the 4th and 5th grade Spring Concert!  All parents and students are welcomed to attend :)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Weekly Review 4/29 - 5/3

Happy Friday, everyone!  With concerts and performances approaching, we have been working so hard to prepare!  Mrs. Niu and I are so proud of all of the students and their dedication towards music.

First graders continued their unit on form with a group project.  Working with their peers, students composed an 8 beat "A" section, and an 8 beat "B" section using tas (quarter notes), ti-tis (eighth notes), and quarter rests.  Using body percussion, they performed their song for the class in ABA form, making sure that the last part was identical to the first.  Next week, we will transfer these compositions to hand percussion instruments!

In second grade, students discussed audiation.   Audiation is a musical skill where you can hear music in your head that isn't being performed out loud.  For example, you can probably very clearly "hear" your favorite song, even when you aren't listening to it.  We sang an English tune called, "To Stop the Train," and added movement.  We practiced audiating the song with a fun activity!  The second graders played the "Radio Game," and also experimented with boomwhackers.  Boomwhackers are pitched tubes that resonate when you hit them together, or on a surface.  The students enjoyed playing rhythms and familiar tunes!


The third graders enjoyed their centers, which featured a new game this week: Instrument Bingo!  Their recorder skills are getting more and more refined, and we are so happy with their hard work!   They also started learning songs for the Memorial Day assembly.  This assembly is happening in a few weeks, and it features all four third grade classes!  It will be their moment to shine :)  This week we sang "Grand Old Flag," which has a partner song called "We Want to Cheer."  Next week, we will learn a new song!

Fourth and fifth graders had two combined chorus rehearsals this week.  Students have been giving speaking parts, and we sang the music with instrumental accompaniment and dancing!  We still have more work to do on Tuesday before next Wednesday's concert.

Concert information is as follows:

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
7:00pm at Memorial Cafetorium for Family and Friends
  • All students must report to the gym at 6:40pm.  Band students will check in with chorus first, then report to the music room at 6:45pm.
  • Concert Attire: Black bottoms.  Wear a plain colored shirt of your choice that represents one of the four elements:
blue - water
white - wind
brown - earth
red - fire