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

Monday, September 30, 2013

Third Grade Violin!

I have some very exciting news to share!  The Burlington Music Department is piloting a violin program at Memorial and Pine Glen!   It will be offered to third grade students only, and will be structured much like the current band program.

Letters will be sent home to all third grade students this week.  Please review this information, then if you choose to sign your child up for violin, you may follow the link below to register.

The rental fee is $21.99 for the first three months (an introductory rate), and $21.99 per month thereafter.

Thank you so much, and feel free to contact me with any questions!
~Mrs. Rzasa

Friday, September 27, 2013

Weekly Review 9/23 - 9/27

I hope that everyone enjoyed visiting Memorial for Open House!  For those of you who were not able to attend, I put together a little tour of the music room.  You can check it out by clicking on the photo below:

The first graders started to discuss some "musical opposites" - piano, meaning quiet, and forte, which is loud.  We practiced singing in both dynamics- it was a lot of fun!  More students were able to sing solos (or duets) during "Oh My," and we also aded instruments to our "Loose Tooth" chant from last week!  Students played the rhythm sticks, guiro, vibraslap, egg shakers, maraca, and wood block!  The students also experimented with a fun rap music app and we talked a lot about Johann Sebastian Bach!

In second grade this week, the students continued to practice their rhythm patterns and solfege.  They learned a hilarious song called "Alligator Pie," and we even sang in alligator voices!  Some of the second grade students sang the song "I'm a Nut," about a poor little acorn who gets stepped on.  At one point, we all sing "I'm a nut, ch ch."  Once we mastered the song, it was fun to play the "ch ch" part on the cabasa.  The cabasa is a wonderful hand percussion instrument with a unique sound.

The third grade students had a blast singing and performing "Four White Horses" in class- they did a fun clapping game and danced in a conga line!  They also began to talk about the composer Johann Sebastian Bach.  In addition, the students worked on their rhythms, and composed four-beat patterns.

The fourth graders are starting to learn some music for an important upcoming holiday- Veteran's Day.  They are going to be singing an Armed Forces Medley- a wonderful song which incorporates the music from the different branches of the military.  

The fifth grade students played a funny game to work on reading rhythms and melodies.  They got into two teams and one representative from each team had a fly swatter.   Rhythm and melody cards were scattered around the carpet, and I would choose one to read.  The person who found the correct card first (and swatted it with their swatter!) earned a point for their team.

In chorus this week, we worked on "All I Want for Christmas is You."  It is so much fun to sing, but can be a bit tricky! (Especially for the students singing the harmony part).  Next week will review what we rehearsed, along with the Grinch!

Thank you so much to the parents who stopped by the music room at Open House.  We really appreciate it!  Have a lovely weekend :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Music Room Tour

This Thursday is Open House here at Memorial, and you are all welcomed to stop by the music room!  However, if your schedule does not allow for a visit, I wanted to give you a short tour of the classroom so that you can see where your child goes for music twice a week!

We have a wonderfully large space that allows us to keep classes separate, or combine two classes without feeling cramped! (not pictured:  the colorful risers in the back of the room!)

Music Room Rules:

  • Follow Directions the First Time Given
  • Respect All People and Property
  • One Voice Speaks at a Time
  • Participate With Effort
  • Earn Your BRAVO!

We keep track of the BRAVOs earned on these charts.  10 BRAVOs earns a class 10 minutes of music party time!

Students who follow the rules and serve as a positive example for other students can be selected for Music Superhero.  The superhero gets to sit on a special cushion (for the most comfy seat in the room!), put the BRAVO letters on the board, add the sticker, and they have the privilege of being the first volunteer for any activity!

Of course we have a word wall to help with the (sometimes tricky) music vocabulary we use so often.

...and we also have a Composer Corner, which gets updated throughout the year as we learn about new composers and their music!

One of my favorite places in the classroom is the Book Nook.  A comfy rocking chair and a collection of music books is all you need for a relaxing afternoon.

The music room would not be complete without instruments!  Above is the digital piano that Mrs. Niu, Ms. Rolfing and I (Mrs. Rzasa) use in every class.

Although the students cannot use our piano, they love playing on the percussion instruments!  Above you will see some of our favorite hand percussion instruments....

...and in our closet you can find the xylophones, metallophones, and glockenspiels.

We also have an awesome assortment of drums, tambourines, and cymbals!

Lastly, my desk and Mrs. Niu's desk.  You'll find us here between classes! :)

Thank you so much for taking this little tour, and we hope you stop by sometime!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Weekly Review 9/16 - 9/20

Here's what we were up to this week in music:

The first grade students completed their "Chop Chop" chant and activity from last week.  We all pretended that we were chefs in a fancy restaurant (wearing our fancy hats and jackets too, of course!) and we "made" the most interesting soup you could imagine!  Broth, celery, chicken, carrots....Kit-Kats?  Pizza?  Each student selected their own ingredients, and we incorporated them into the chant.  The first graders learned a new chant too - "Loose Tooth" - and sang a fun song in a minor tonality called "Oh My."  Some students also started to learn about the Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach!

In second grade, we continued to discuss what patriotic music is, and why it is important.  We continued to work on "America," and a few students got to sing solos!  We have been practicing a challenging song and body percussion routine called "Come and Follow Me."  The students are starting to improve, and we are all excited about it! Some second graders learned "I'm a Nut" and composed new verses.  We will add an awesome percussion instrument next week!

The third graders finished the "Thread Follows the Needle" song and activity that they started last week.  The class was lined up in two rows, and each row had a child designated as the needle, a child as the knot, and the rest all held hands to make up the thread!  The needle led the thread in and out (and under the arms of their classmates) to create cross stitches as they sang!  It was so much fun!  They also continued to created four beat patterns individually.  In addition, we started to learn an awesome calypso song called "Four White Horses." 

In fourth grade this week, the students finished the "Cup Game."  We even tried it with our eyes closed!  In Chorus, they started to work on the "Grinch" medley.  We counted the rhythms, worked on our breathing, posture, and pronunciation!  Next week we will start "All I Want for Christmas is You."

The fifth grade students also completed their cup activities.  Mr. Rabazzi's class made a video while they were practicing, and I shared it on the blog yesterday. You can scroll down or click here to check it out!  Ms. Conceison's class will share theirs with you next week. Since many of the students are at Bourndale this week, we started the "Grinch" medley during their general music class, and we'll work more on it next time!

I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Cup Game! (Part 1)

At Memorial, fourth grade students learn a very fun "cup game"- a rhythmic cup passing routine!

The fifth grade students reviewed last year's cup game, and added another element- singing.  It is very challenging to sing while doing such a complicated task!  Especially since the rhythm of the song is quite different from the rhythm of the cup routine.  

I shot a quick video yesterday as the students from Mr. Rabazzi's class were practicing- you'll notice a few "runaway" cups, but overall, I think they did a fantastic job! 

Awesome, fifth graders!!
(PS.  This post is Part 1- Ms. Conceison's class learned a different cup game, so hopefully I can share that one next week!)

I'll be back tomorrow with our weekly review :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Weekly Review 9/9 - 9/13

We had an amazing first full week in music!  The 2nd-5th grade students are getting back into the routine, and the first graders are starting to get used to being at specials so late in the day- last year in Kindergarten, their day would have been over already!

This week, the first graders started to learn the difference between a singing voice and a speaking voice.  Some of the classes played a game called "Simon Sings."  The concept of the game is similar to "Simon Says," only in our game, the instructions that are sung are the ones that get followed.  If an instruction is given in a speaking voice and a child follows, he/she is out!  They also finished the "Welcome Back" song, varying the tempo (speed) and dynamics (volume) while they sang.  The students were introduced to the "sol"and "mi" scale tones, along with the appropriate hand signs (see below).  Some of the students learned a fun chant called "Chop, Chop," and learned the rhythm syllables "du" and "du-de."  They also played a great game called "Poison Pattern!"  It has been a busy week for first grade!

The second grade students also worked on their solfege scale tones- they learned re, fa, and ti- so now they can sing the entire scale!! (see hand signs below).  

They also switched to using "du" for speaking quarter notes, and "du-de" for speaking eighth notes- last year they had used "ta" and "ti-ti."  These beat function syllables will help them count rhythms more accurately!  We discussed what patriotic means and sang "America," and some students started to learn a song and body percussion activity called "Come and Follow Me."  Ms. McLaughlin's class played a bit of "Ickle Ockle" on Wednesday, and wanted to share it with you!

The third graders finished their name game from last week, "Hey Children"- it was a lot of fun!  They practiced their solfege scale tones, and many of them sang solos in class.  The students who didn't sing alone this week will get to next week!  Some students created their own four beat patterns using quarter notes and eighth notes, then started to sing a great new song called "The Thread Follows the Needle."  They will finish the activity next week!

Fourth and Fifth graders had similar weeks in music- they both learned a cup game and had a fun time practicing the routine.  If you play at home, remember to use a plastic or paper cup, and not glass! :)  They also started chorus this week with more breathing practice, stretches, and vocal warm-ups.  They are starting to learn a medly from "The Grinch"- our winter concert theme is music from the movies!!  Fifth graders reviewed how to read a score, and came up with a list of Chorus Rules and Expectations to help the fourth graders who are new to singing in an ensemble.  Below are the expectations that they remembered from last year:

  • Good posture when singing or chanting
  • Respect chorus music and folder
  • Participate actively in stretches, warm-ups, and the rest of the rehearsal
  • Stand respectively, even when you are not singing 
  • ALWAYS watch the conductor
  • Listen to each other

These will surely help the fourth graders get on the right track, and will serve as an excellent reminder for fifth graders!


We hope you have an amazing weekend, and enjoy the last few warm days before Autumn!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Welcome Back!!

We would like to warmly welcome any new friends to Memorial School. We hope you all had a wonderful summer!

We will use this site to communicate with you what your child has been learning in music class each week and important concert dates.

We were so excited to meet our new first graders this week! They learned a “Welcome Back” song and the rules of our music class to ensure that every child has a safe and fun environment to learn.

Our second graders did an excellent job in remembering our “Memorial School” song. Ask your child to sing it for you! We also learned a song and game called "Ickle Ockle."

Our third graders learned a fun way of remembering the names of their classmates as they sang “Hey Children Who’s In Town.” We also learned a rhythm stick routine to go along with the game!

We would like to welcome our new fourth graders to chorus! We have a great crew! Fourth and fifth grade students learned some important breathing techniques to help them sing better.

The links below (also located on our sidebar) will bring you each grade's website. This is where we post lyrics to the songs we sing in class. Hopefully this will encourage your children to sing at home, and share what they learned with your family!

First Grade
Second Grade
Third Grade
Fourth Grade
Fifth Grade
Chorus Lyrics & Recordings (fourth and fifth grade)

We also believe that literacy and reading are important in the music room, so in addition to our word wall, we love reading music books to the students. The link below has a list of the books we have read so far. It gets updated each time we read a new one.

Books We Have Read in Class

Other fun links can be found in our sidebar, so we encourage you and your children to explore them!  

We also have a new teacher joining us for the first few months of school while Mrs. Niu is on maternity leave- Ms. Rohlfing!

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call or email us.
Mrs. Niu:
Mrs. Rzasa:
Ms. Rohlfing:

Thank you for your help in making this a wonderful and musical year!

The Music Teachers :)