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

Monday, December 22, 2014

More Winter Caroling Videos!

String Update/Assignment

Third Graders
Today, we practiced reading music on the staff, and identifying each note.  Sometimes it's tricky to get them right away- working on it at home will help you memorize the notes!  We played through Jingle Bells, one measure at a time, then tried to do the whole thing.  The students did an excellent job- ask them to play it for you at home!


  • D Major Scale
  • Page 14- focus on Old MacDonald.  
Fourth Graders
4A:  Today the students played Jingle Bells with the bow!  The 4th grade beginners are starting to catch up with the other 4th grade students, which is awesome.  :)

  • Page 15
  • If page 15 goes well, please move on to page 16!
4B:  For fun, we read through a new song- Deck the Halls. It was a lot of fun!  The students played part A in the lesson.

  • Deck the Halls- you can play it for your family!
  • pages 31-32
We will start music for our Spring concert when we get back from break!

(Thank you Paul for videotaping while I played piano!)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Weekly Review 12/15 - 12/19

The first graders enjoyed dancing and moving to the March, from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker ballet.  We were so excited to see that they remembered the music to each of the different themes!

The second grade students finished watching the New York City Ballet's rendition of The Nutcracker.   They really enjoyed visiting the Land of Sweets and seeing the different types of dancing.  So many fun styles!

The third graders reviewed parts of speech (verb, noun, and adjective) with some Musical Mad Libs!  Without seeing the song first, students selected words and we plugged them into the song.  When the final lyrics were revealed, we had a great time singing them- they are so funny!  You can read some of their lyrics here.

The fourth and fifth graders celebrated the completion of their Winter Concert by enjoying some time outside!

All students did some winter caroling this week!  We have talked to them about the wonderful tradition of caroling, and how it brings the community together in song.   Please check back soon for some photos and videos, and a big thank you to the parents to took the time to come to the school and join us!

We hope you have a safe and lovely Winter break!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Winter Caroling

This week, the students are caroling in the hallways during their second music class of the week- parents are welcome to join us and sing along!  We have talked to the students about the wonderful tradition of caroling, and how it brings the community together in song.  They would really love to hear their loved ones singing with them!

Here are some of the highlights from today:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

3rd Grade Holiday Mad Libs!

Below are the silly and creative songs that Mrs. Ferullo and Mrs. Cyr's class wrote by doing Mad Libs!

The first song is to the tune of "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" and the second song is to the tune of, "Frosty the Snowman." Enjoy!

Alex  the green -nosed dog
Had a very cold leg
And if you ever saw it
You would even say it glows

All of the other birds
Used to laugh and call him light
They never let poor Ava
Join in any dolphin games

Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say
Rudolph with your digestive system so fat
Won't you guide my George Washington tonight?

Then all the kittens loved him
And they shouted out with obsession
Mrs. Niu the pink-head pig
You'll go down in history!

Frosty the Barack Obama man
Was a furry colorful brown soul,
With a Hawaiian Pizza and a heart foot
And two eyes made out of chicken.
Frosty the Bach man is a blue tale, they say,
He was made of bathroom but the children know
How he came to  New York one day.
There must have been some magic in that
Old pants they found.
For when they placed it on his head
He began to play around.
Oh, Frosty the  Angel man
Was alive as he could be,
And the classes say he could ski and jump
Just the same as Ava and me.

Monday, December 15, 2014

String Update/Assignment

I want to extend an extra Congratulations to all 4th Grade String students for such a wonderful performance last week!  I am so proud of you and all of your hard work :)


Third Graders
Today, we continued to review all notes on the D and A strings, then played through page 13.  By now, students should have each of those notes memorized - not only the fingerings, but also what they look like on the staff.  If your child is having trouble with this, remind them that they can go back to the earlier pages in the book to review.  If it is still difficult, please let me know so I can give them extra help in school!  Thanks.


  • Pg. 14.  This one is a little tricky!!  Please focus on "Jingle Bells" so we can play it in our lesson next week :)
  • Please continue to work on holding the bow, and switching between strings.

Fourth Graders
4A:  Today we had (a belated) Performance Day!!  

  • Now that the concert is over, we can get back to the book!  Please review pages 13 and 14.

4B:  Today we had (a belated) Performance Day!

  • Review G String notes (G, A, B, C)
  • Pg.  31 

(note:  not all students choose to be videotaped)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Weekly Review 12/8-12/12

It was a BIG week for our talented 4th and 5th grade students! They did an AMAZING job performing at the Winter Concert on Wednesday. Congratulations!!!! Mrs. Rzasa and I are very proud of you all!

Once again, we will be singing in the hallway in front of the cafeteria to bring in the holiday spirit on Dec. 17th, 18th, and 19th!  Feel free to join us! Your child will be singing with his/her class during their music class. Here are the dates and times:

Holiday Sing-Along: Dec. 17-Dec. 19

Wednesday, December 17th:
10:30 Keating
11:30 Farrand
Thursday, December 18th:    
8:30 Burns, Rabazzi
9:15 Gonzalez, Warford
10:30 Cyr, Kippenberger
11:30 Santullo
1:15 Farrell, Panagiotopoulos

Friday, December 19th:

8:30 Olshaw, Conceison

9:15 Weinberg, Harlow

10:30 Ferullo

11:30 Nelson, McLaughlin

1:15 Burnham, Gearin

Our 1st grade students listened to the "March" from the Nutcracker ballet. We discovered that there are three main themes to this suite and danced to it. The themes were soldiers, puppets, and mice because of how they sound. We had so much fun dancing like and to these themes.

In second grade , we watched a video of "The Nutcracker." It was performed by the New York City Ballet.  The students now know that in a ballet, the story is conveyed through dance and movement instead of through spoken words.  The only voice you hear is the narrator, who occasionally speaks to give extra details about the story.

The third graders reviewed music notation on their IPAD and learned a fun song to help remember the name of the notes. Ask your child to sing the song for you!  Our recorder unit is coming up! Mrs. Rzasa and I sent home information about the recorder and the Lexington Symphony Field Trip. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions! The third graders also learned a fun dance during the holiday season called the "Jingle Bell Mixer." Here are the performances:

In fourth and fifth grade, we watched a video of the concert in class and assessed the performance.  It is always beneficial for musicians to discuss how they did individually, and how they did as an ensemble.  It helps them to develop better musicianship.

Have a wonderful weekend!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Reading Notation!!

The third grade students have been learning how to read music notation, and they practiced drawing the staff, treble clef, time signature, bar lines, measures, double bar, and repeat sign!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

String Update/Assignment

**Reminder! There will be an ensemble rehearsal TOMORROW for ALL FOURTH GRADE string players!  Please don't forget to bring in your instrument!**

Third Graders
Today we reviewed ALL A string and D string notes.  This includes:  D (open), E, F#, G, A, B, C#, and high D.  Some students are still struggling with remembering the fingerings.  Please encourage them to practice at home to reinforce what we work on in school!  Thank you.

We also played through page 13.


  • Bow Tube Practice
  • Practice open strings with the bow
  • Page 13 again- pizzicato and bow

Fourth Graders
Our concert is this Wednesday!  Yay!! Please practice ALL concert songs, focusing on Firoliralera and Silent Night.

**Sorry, no pictures/'s been a busy day! :)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Weekly Review 12/1 - 12/5

This week in music...

The first graders learned some new musical terms: verse and refrain.  The verse is a part of a song that has new lyrics each time the same tune returns.  The REfrain (also referred to as a chorus), however, is the part that gets REpeated, and it's the part that you REmember!  Our first graders recognized that each of those words starts with the same two letters!  The students applied these new terms to the song "Jingle Bells."  After we sang the song, we added sign language, then played an awesome game called "tap tap pass"- using our jingle bell hand percussion instruments!

The second grade students learned about our new composer of the month, Tchaikovsky!  Tchaikovsky composed during the Romantic Period, and one of his most famous works is the Nutcracker ballet.  We listened to the Trepak, or Russian Dance.  Of course it was only natural to have everyone dance along!  The students learned a complicated and fun dance, then we gave everyone scarves to use!

The third graders are starting to learn how to read music notation. We will be continuing to work on this skill for the next few weeks to prepare for the recorders that the students will start to play in the new year. It's so exciting!  They used their iPads and the Drawing Pad app to draw the musical staff, treble clef, time signature, measures, bar lines, double bar line and repeat sign.  Next week, they will learn how to add the rhythms and pitches!

The fourth and fifth grade students have been working towards their upcoming concert.  We are so impressed with their hard work and dedication!  We invite everyone to attend our evening concert on Wednesday, December 10th, at 7:00 p.m.

Remember:  Performers must arrive to Memorial that night at 6:40 p.m.  We'll see you there!

Monday, December 1, 2014

String Update/Assignent (Performance Day!)

**Reminder! There will be an ensemble rehearsal TOMORROW for ALL FOURTH GRADE string players!  Please don't forget to bring in your instrument!**

Today was PERFORMANCE DAY!!  This is an opportunity for each student to play a piece that represents their best.  Below are some of the benefits of Performance Day:

  • Students play for, and inspire, their peers
  • Students gain independence playing alone
  • The more frequently they perform, the less nerves there will be come concert time
  • I can more accurately assess each student, and help them one-on-one
  • Each student becomes a teaching tool for the others in class, and students may offer suggestions to help their peers. 
  • It's fun!

Before we get to the videos, here are the assignments for the week:

Third Graders

  • Page 13 (pizzicato first, then with the bow)
  • Bow Tube practice.

Fourth Graders

  • Practice ALL concert songs, focusing on Firoliralera and Silent Night

(note:  not all students choose to be videotaped)

The Turkey Shot Out of the Oven

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Last week, the third graders sang, "The Turkey Shot Out of the Oven."  They got into groups and were each assigned a verse.  The groups came up with a little routine to perform while they sang.  It was so much fun!  In between the verses, the whole class sang the refrain.  Check it out:

Monday, November 24, 2014

String Update/Assignment

**Reminder! There will be an ensemble rehearsal TOMORROW for ALL FOURTH GRADE string players!  Please don't forget to bring in your instrument!**

Third Graders
Today we focused on ALL D string and A string notes by working on the D scale.  We also reviewed the songs on page 11.


  • Bow tube practice.  Watch your wrist to make sure it stays flexible!  Pretend to play on each string and focus on that moving elbow! :)
  • Page 12.  Pizzicato first, then bow.
Fourth Graders
4A:  Today we played through the first two songs on the concert sheet.  The sound great, and particularly awesome with the cello, viola, AND violin parts!

  • Concert Songs!
4B:  Today we worked on the concert sheet, and got a new song: Silent Night.  

  • Concert Songs!

Here are some of our 3rd graders playing a song from the book:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Weekly Review 11/17- 11/21

We can't believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner! In music, we celebrated this American holiday by learning songs about Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for this year?

Our first graders learned a Thanksgiving song called, "Over the River and Through the Woods." It is also a children's classic which we read in class. After learning the first verse of the song, the students learned how to sing the song in sign language. Ask your child to perform this song for you! The second Thanksgiving song we learned was called "Smells Like Thanksgiving." It shares a tune with another familiar tune (ask your child if they remember what it is!), and each person in class was able to contribute by thinking of something you might smell on Thanksgiving Day.

The second grade students sang "Five Fat Turkeys," then learned a percussion ostinato part to go along with the song. The ostinato parts were, "Cook- Cook" and "Five-Fat-Tur-keys." An ostinato is a repeated rhythm or a phrase on the same pithes. Each of the students played the ostinato parts either on a xylophone or a glockenspiel.

The third grade students learned a hilarious song called "The Turkey Shot Out of the Oven."  It has a verse/refrain form, and we split the class into 5 groups, so that each group could be "in charge" of one of the verses.  Working as a team, they came up with a short routine to go along with their verse.  Next week, the groups will perform for each other, and in between the verses the entire class will sing the refrain!

Our 4th and 5th grade students are in CONCERT MODE!! Don't forget that the concert is on Wednesday, Dec. 10th and we have less than 2 weeks to go until it is PERFORMANCE TIME! Keep up the hard work and PLEASE practice your music and memorize it! We will be singing without our iPads when we get back from Thanksgiving break!  Also, don't forget to bring in your flashlights :)

The chorus lyrics are on the blog (click that link, or "Chorus Lyrics and Recordings" on the side bar).  

Have a fabulous weekend!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Weekly Review 11/10 - 11/14

It was another short week!  We hope you had a great long weekend.  Here's what the students did in music:

The first graders practiced singing with high and low voices. We explored pitch by playing the Splat Game. During this game, the students sing with their whole vocal range! They also learned "Bluebird, Bluebird," and we played a circle game to go along with it. At the end, everyone sings "Oh, Johnny aren't you tired?" and our pitch drops lower!

The second grade students have been working on their mallet technique.  Mrs. Niu and I are picky when it comes to technique, but proper form is important for creating the best sound on the xylophones, metallophones, and glockenspiels!  They played scales and other patterns, and worked on alternating their mallets.  It was so much fun!

The third graders learned a harvest song and sang about pumpkins, autumn breezes, and Thanksgiving! Once they mastered the song ("Pumpkins are Ripe"), they were able to play an ostinato (accompaniment part) on the Orff instruments. They reviewed mallet technique - just as the second graders did - and focused on playing with a steady beat and accurate rhythm.

Fourth grade students spent some time discussing Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  See if your child can answer the following question:

  • Where was Mozart born?
  • At what age did he start learning music?
  • What is one of Mozart's most famous operas?
  • Mozart was alive during which period in music history? (Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, or Romantic?)
Fifth graders have been learning some interesting facts about Mozart too!  They even watched a funny video depicting Mozart's rivalry with another composer of the time, Salieri.  

In chorus this week, the 4th and 5th grade students had the opportunity to run through some of the first songs they learned for the Winter concert.   We still have things to clean up, but it feels good to know that we are on our way to being prepared for that performance!

The chorus lyrics are on the blog (click that link, or "Chorus Lyrics and Recordings" on the side bar).   4th and 5th graders - PLEASE practice at home so you can memorize the music.  We will be singing without our iPads when we get back from Thanksgiving break!  Also, don't forget to bring in your flashlights :)

Have a lovely weekend! 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Chorus Lyrics

We have just updated our "Chorus Lyrics and Recordings" page.  4th and 5th graders, please practice your songs at home to help memorize the lyrics!!

Reminder- you also need to bring in a flashlight.  Please put new batteries in and put your name on your flashlight BEFORE you drop it off in the music room.  We will be using them to rehearse, and they will go back home right after our evening concert!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Weekly Review 11/3- 11/7

Congratulations to our fabulous fourth grade students who sang the, "Armed Forces- America" beautifully at the Veteran's Day Assembly.

Our next music event is the 4th and 5th Grade Winter Concert which will be on Wednesday, December 10th at 7pm. 

This week, every student was introduced to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who was a famous composer during the classical period. We learned about one of his famous operas called, "The Magic Flute." Next week, we will learn more about Mozart.

In First grade students watched Mozart's opera in a cartoon form called, "The Magic Flute." An opera is "an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work." Conversations between characters are sung rather than spoken. "The Magic Flute" was the last opera that Mozart wrote. We will finish watching the cartoon version of the opera next week.

Second grade students learned a fun song and game called, "A Funny Little Lady." Ask your student who the funny little lady is? The song had a solo part (a witch)  who disguised his/her voice singing, "rap, rap, rap..." It was fun to guess who the soloist was. We also taped all the classes performing, "The Old Wind." Please enjoy!

Our third grade students learned a song that talks about things that happen in the fall called, "Harvest Song."  The song is in minor and next week we will be adding an ostinato part using Orff instruments. The students are very excited to use these types of instruments again. Let's see how much they remember from second grade.

It was a big week for our fourth grade students as they prepared their song for the Veteran's Day Assembly. They did a fabulous job singing and memorizing a medley that talks about the five branches of the military! Congratulations fourth graders! In chorus, they finished learning, "Candlelight Canon" and "Stars that Twinkle and Shine." Please begin memorizing the songs! We will begin having tryouts for our solo and instrument parts in the next two weeks!

In chorus, our fifth grade students completed learning, "Candlelight Canon" and "Candle for Peace." We will begin to ask you all to bring in your flashlights to add to your grade level song! Please begin memorizing the songs! We will begin having tryouts for our solo and instrument parts in the next two weeks!

To all those who have served in the U.S Armed Forces, we THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts!

We hope you have a relaxing and enjoying LONG FOUR DAY WEEKEND!

Monday, November 3, 2014

String Update/Assignment (Performance Day)

Today was PERFORMANCE DAY!!  This is an opportunity for each student to play a piece that represents their best.  Below are some of the benefits of Performance Day:

  • Students play for, and inspire, their peers
  • Students gain independence playing alone
  • The more frequently they perform, the less nerves there will be come concert time
  • I can more accurately assess each student, and help them one-on-one
  • Each student becomes a teaching tool for the others in class, and students may offer suggestions to help their peers. (For example, today one student told another "You are doing an awesome job, you just need more bow pressure"). 
  • It's fun!
Before we get to the videos, here are the assignments for the week:

Fourth Graders
4A:  Page 11, pizzicato first then bow

4B:  Submarine song, #106 in book

Third Graders
Page 9 (pizzicato), bow tube practice, String Name sheet (bow)

(note:  not all students choose to be videotaped)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Weekly Review 10/27 - 10/31

Happy Friday, and Happy Halloween!!

This week, the first graders continued working on their sol, la, and mi solfege singing.  To help celebrate Halloween, we listened to some fun classical music in minor while they decorated bats, then played a great game called "Flap and Fly."  Bats are nocturnal, meaning that they sleep in the daytime and are awake at night.  Bats were asleep while the lights were on, then a student (the Sun) turned off the lights so the bats could dance and sing!  When the sun came up, the lights were turned back on and the bats fell asleep.  We also sang a call and response song called "Woman All Skin and Bones."
First grade sleeping bats

The second graders read a book, "Old Wind," and used various instruments as sound effects.  It was so much fun to add the instruments and vocal sounds to make the book sound even cooler!  We recorded the students' performances, and we will share them next week - so stay tuned!  They also got to meet our special friend, the skeleton marionette!  He danced while we listened to "Funeral March of the Marionette" by French composer Charles Gounod.

In third grade, the students repeated their "Funeral March of a Marionette" activity from last year- they loved it so much!  We compared the music from that piece to the "Funeral March" by another composer, Frédéric Chopin.  Even though they are both in the minor tonality, they have such a different mood!

The fourth grade students are almost ready for next week's Veteran's Day assembly!  They rehearsed the music for their featured part of the song, and also learned the other parts so they can sing along.  In chorus, they worked on their grade level song, "Stars that Twinkle and Shine," as well as the slow and lyrical "Candlelight Canon."

The fifth graders did an awesome listening activity this week! They followed a listening map for "Danse Macabre" by Camille Saint-Saens.   It's based off of a poem by Henri Cazalis and features a violin soloist.  I (Mrs. Rzasa) played some of the themes on my violin so they could find them as we listened to the song.  We also listened to a spooky song with a cool secret twist by Henry Cowell.  Ask your 5th grader what the surprise is!

We hope you have a fun and safe Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

5th Grade Music Listening

This week, the 5th graders are listening to some spooky pieces of music!  The students were interested in listening to them at home, so here they are!

The Banshee by Henry Cowell


Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns

Monday, October 27, 2014

String Update/Assignment

Third Graders
Today was our first day with the bow  :)  There was a lot of excitement, and a lot of things to remember. If you forget anything, please consult the guide below!  


  • Get a bow tube, a.k.a. an empty toilet paper roll, to help with your bow control
  • Bow exercises
  • Page 8 (pizzicato)
  • String names sheet (with bow!)

Fourth Graders
4A: Today we reviewed our bow technique, and practiced playing on the different strings!


  • Page 10 - pizzicato first, then bow
4B:  Today we continued to work on our G string notes.  Reading the notes below the staff is a bit tricky!   If you forget, look back in the book a page or 2 for a reminder.   We also played through the songs on page 27 and learned how to conduct in 3!

  • Page 28
  • First 3 measures of Submarine song


To Hold the Bow:
Start by making your little "shadow puppet," making sure to place the middle fingers over the thumb.

Following the steps I taught in class, hold the bow as shown below- the trickiest part will be that pinky!

In addition to the windshield wiper exercise we practiced today, please watch these videos and give them a try:

These exercises should be fun, and also count towards your minutes of practicing! :)

When using the bow tube, please be sure to hold it firmly with your left hand on your left shoulder, and to place the bow inside carefully.  Keeping the proper position of your right hand on the bow, pretend to play the violin through your tube.  Your right hand wrist should be flexible to bend up and down as you bow.  To make it more fun, you can listen to some music while you practice!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Weekly Review 10/19-10/24

Thanks to our wonderful PTO, the Burlington Music Department, and our music friends and Francis Wyman, Mrs. Rzasa and I were able to purchase this wonderful educational rug for all of our students. The students walked in with excitement with this new addition to our classroom:

In first grade, students learned the words crescendo (a gradual increase in loudness of the song)  and decrescendo (a decrease in loudness of the song) with a fun October song called, "The Bats Are All Asleep." Mrs. Rzasa and I created a story and every time the students had to sing the phrase, "The Bats Are All Asleep," the had to sing it using decrescendo. We also learned another song called, "Thump, Thump, Thump" that involved the students singing certain phrases with these new musical terms. We made the song more spooky by adding the egg shaker, hand drums, and triangles. The students loved it and had so much fun!

Second grade students reviewed the song "Ghost of John" from first grade and added an ostinato (repeated musical phrase) with boomwhackers. The words, "Ghost of John" became the ostinato on the pitches D/E and B/A.  students continued to work on tonality, identifying major patterns and minor patterns.  We completed our "Witches' Stew" activity (complete with instrumental sound effects), sang a different song called "Witches' Brew" (funny that they have such similar names!), and even composed new lyrics!  The students also enjoyed a game and song called "A Funny Little Lady" guessed it...a witch!

In third grade students  reviewed the song "Ghost of John" from first grade and added an ostinato (repeated musical phrase) with boomwhackers. The words, "Ghost of John" became the ostinato on the pitches D/E and B/A. We also added a triangle and a thunder drum. Here are some videos of our third grade students performing, "Ghost of John."They learned a new song and game called "Pass the Broomstick," which is also in a minor tonality

Fourth grade students have been busy preparing for their Veteran's Day Assembly on Friday, Nov. 7th at 8:30am. Here are the lyrics if you need them: Veteran's Day Songs. They also continued learning, "Stars that Twinkle and Shine."

The fifth graders learned a spooky song called "Halloween Night."  They read along with the musical score, and identified the different pitches on the staff for the instrumental accompaniment. We  reviewed how to play the Orff instruments and how to hold the mallots properly on a C Major scale. We also learned two ostinato parts of the song. Next week, we will add other instrumental parts of the song. In chorus, we continued working on, "Candle For Peace" and "Candlelight Cannon."

We hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ghost of John

This week, the third graders sang one of their favorite Halloween songs, "Ghost of John."  We added an accompaniment part on the Boomwhackers and triangles.  In addition, our classroom Superheroes had the opportunity to play the coveted thunder drum!  Half of the class sang the melody, and the other half sang a vocal ostinato pattern.  Check out their videos!

Monday, October 20, 2014

String Update/Assignment

Third Graders
Today we reviewed the fingerings for E, F#, and G (1, 2, and 3 fingers covering the tapes on the D string).

This week, please practice page 7, and bring in a bow tube for the next class.  The bow tube is an empty (and clean!) toilet paper roll that will help us control our bows!

Fourth Graders
4A:  Today we reviewed the fingerings for E, F#, and G.  We also started to work on our bowing hand position!  Please consult THIS LINK in case you forget  :)

This week, please practice pages 8 and 9.  Do pizzicato first, and if you feel ready, go ahead and try it with the bow!

4B:  Today we learned the notes on the G string!  We also worked on the first measure of the Submarine song, and played using accents!

This week, please practice pages 26-27, and the first 3 measures of the Submarine song.

Below is a video of our first-year fourth graders working on their fingerings!!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Weekly Review 10/13 - 10/17

This week, the first graders played "Apple Tree" - a really fun game with a silly song!  One student was the apple tree, and the other students held hands as they walked past him/her.  At the end of the song, each apple tree dropped a soft ball (the apple) onto the head of one of the students!  That student became the new apple tree, and students who were already the tree got the opportunity to play an egg shaker! They also did the all-time favorite "Looking for Dracula" activity, as well as "Ghost of John" and "The Bats are All Asleep."  Then, they learned all about the words crescendo and decrescendo.

The second grade students finished the story, "Bony Legs."  They played an ostinato on the Orff instruments- xylophone, metallophone, and glockenspiel.  Nathan is demonstrating excellent posture and mallet technique.  

They also reviewed the "Ghost of John" song from last year and added a fun instrument- Boomwhackers!!

Above is a video of the second graders dancing to Prelude in C from the Well Tempered Clavier by Bach

The third graders also used the Orff instruments this week- everyone played the accompaniment to "9 Lives" once more, but with a twist!  Instead of playing the D and A at the same time, they learned a really cool cross-over mallet technique!  For their second music class, they sang "Ghost of John" and added Boomwhackers and triangles!  Half of the class sang an ostinato pattern, and the other class sang the melody.  We also tried a round!

The fourth graders played instruments to accompany "Black and Gold," then they continued to work on their music for Veteran's Day.  Only a few weeks left until the concert!  In chorus, they started a new song- the "Candlelight Canon."  It is a slow and beautiful piece of music.   Ask your child what the song makes them think of!

The fifth graders completed "I Love the Mountains" and had some time left over to start a new song- "Halloween Night."  They read off of the score, and learned what "d minor" means! (the tonality is minor, and the tonic pitch is d).  In chorus, the students sang "A Candle for Peace," and our new song, "Candlelight Canon."

We hope you enjoy this lovely weekend!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Weekly Review 10/6-10/10

Our first grade friends continued to learn more about our composer Bach by listening to Prelude in C from the Well Tempered Clavier and performing their own dance with their partner. Students first listened to the composition with their eyes close and had to describe the music. Each student performed their own interpretation of the song with their partner. One student was the leader and the other student mirrored the movement of the leader. Partners came up with their own "secret code" and when the "secret code" was performed by the leader, the other student became the leader. It was so much fun!

Second grade students accomplished a lot in music this week.  Students created their "I'm An Acorn" song accompanied by rhythm sticks or a cabasa. They listened to  Prelude in C from the Well Tempered Clavier and performed their own dance with their partner. Although this dance was a review to them from first grade, they had so much fun creating their own interpretation of the composition.  We also listened to part of a story called, "Bony Legs." The students can't wait to find out how the story ends and we will be putting instruments to the song that is also titled, "Bony Legs." Stay tuned!!

In third grade, we put percussion instruments to each rhythm on the song, "Ding Dong." Triangles were played every time there was a quarter note, hand drums were played every time there was a eighth note, and guiros were played every time there was an sixteenth note. Here is a performance from Mrs. Ferullo's class:

We also learned a song called, "Nine Lives." The tonality (the key) is in minor and we added a simple accompaniment with Orff instruments. Next week, we will be adding more accompaniments to this song.

Fourth graders are continuing to prepare for their Veteran's Day concert on Friday, November 10th. We also learned a fun October song in a minor key called, "Black and Gold." Next week, we will be learning the partner song that goes with that composition and will also add an Orff accompaniment. In chorus, we finished learning, "Light Up the World," and "Holiday Holiday Lights." We also began to learn our 5th grade feature song, "Candle for Peace."

In fifth grade, we learned a catching song called, "I Love the Mountains." Students drew pictures on the board to help us remember to sing various parts of the song. We added a dance and an accompaniment using Orff instruments. In chorus, we finished learning, "Light Up the World," and "Holiday Holiday Lights." We also began to learn our 4th grade feature song, "Stars That Twinkle and Shine."

We hope you have a wonderful 3 day weekend!!!!!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Weekly Review 9/29 - 10/3

Good morning!  This has been an action-packed week here in the music room:

The first grade students completed their "Loose Tooth" activity.  Half of the group performed the chant, while other students had the opportunity to play hand percussion instruments!  "Loose tooth" was performed on the hand drum (quarter notes), "wiggly jiggly" on the guiro (eighth notes), and "thread"/"bed"/"head" on the triangle (quarter note).  Of course, once we were done we switched so that everyone could have a turn!   The students have also been learning about the composer Bach, so we listened to his Prelude in C from the Well Tempered Clavier.   The students moved gracefully to the song, and will dance with partners in the next class!

Second grade students finished their "I'm an Acorn" song.  To extend the activity, they composed their own lyrics to fill in during the rhyming section of the song.   We also added fun hand percussion instruments like the rhythm sticks and cabasa!

The third graders sang a really fun song called "Dipidu."  Ask your child to see if they remember what "dipidu" means!  During the song, we switched between body percussion patterns in three (pat, clap, snap) and patters in two (pat, clap).  This is getting them ready to learn about time signatures and form!  The students also learned "Ding Dong" and figured out the rhythm of the song using quarter notes, eighth notes, quarter rests, and our new rhythm- sixteenth notes!

The fourth and fifth grade students have been working hard on their chorus songs.  "Light up the World With a Song" is so much fun to sing, and has a cool syncopated rhythm!  They have also been getting better at the concert's grand finale piece, "Holiday Lights."  We are so excited about the flashlight choreography, and can't wait until the students know the song well enough to start practicing it! 

Below is a video of the fourth graders singing their very first choral warm-up- aren't they incredible?

Monday, September 29, 2014

String Update/Assignment

Friends in fourth grade, and third graders from Mrs. Ferullo, Mrs. Keating, and Mrs. Kip's classes had a great time in their lesson today!

Third Graders
Please practice pages 4 and 5 in your lesson book, and work on pizzicato for all strings.  Practice switching from rest to playing position so you can look and play your best! :)

Fourth Graders
4A:  Please practice pages 5 and 6 in your lesson book.

4B:  Please practice/review page 25 in your lesson book.  For students that are ready, you may move onto the D scale/arpeggio, and Handel Minuet.

See you next Monday!
(reminder:  students in Mrs. Cyr's class will have their first lesson with Ms. Berger this Friday!)

Below is a video of group 4A playing a round- for the first time this year!   We had some trouble in the third measure, but if you listen carefully, you can hear that all of the students found their way back :) A big thanks to Erika for filming!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Weekly Review 9/22-9/26

Congratulations to 26 of our 5th grade students who participated in the John Lennon Tour bus and also performed as part of a concert that showcased the Burlington Music Department. These students performed the "Star Spangled Banner" with the elementary, middle school, and high school chorus members and also performed "Ghost Ship" from their spring concert. Here is a picture of our 5th graders getting ready to perform. We are gathering other pictures from parents so stay tuned!!

This week, every student learned about Johann Sebastian Bach. He was a famous German composer and musician of the Baroque period. Ask your student if he/she remembers the three instruments that Bach played.

In first grade, the students learned a fun chant with instruments called, "Loose Tooth." Mrs. Rzasa and I noticed that our first grade friends are loosing many tooth these days that we thought they would have so much fun learning this chant. Three body percussion parts accompanied three word- Loose Tooth (two claps), wiggly jiggly (pats on your knees), and thread, head, bed (snaps). We extended the activity by taking out these words and only using the assigned body percussion when we sang these words in our heads. The students had so much fun that we will be adding instruments to this chant!

Second grade students learned a silly song called, "I'm a Nut." It's a song about an acorn who is cracked because everyone walks all over him. Some students had a chance to make up their own rhyming phrase. Next week we will continue this activity and put instruments to this fun little song!

Our third grade students performed "Four White Horses" with the clapping routine. During the interlude (the middle part of the song inserted between a longer composition), the students made a conga line. It was so much fun and the students did a fabulous job with clapping to the song at a steady tempo.

It was rhythm review week for our fourth and fifth grade students. We played a fun bean bag game. Students were separated into two teams. Mrs. Rzasa and I took turns clapping out four beat patterns and each student took turns getting the bean bags into the right rhythm buckets.  Each student in line also had a chance to participate by writing/drawing the correct rhythm on their iPad. Teams were awarded 2 points if their team member got the bean bags into the right bucket and were the fastest. If the other team still got the bean bags into the right bucket, they were awarded 1 point. If every team member wrote the rhythm correctly on their IPAD, they were also awarded 1 point. Since not every student had the opportunity to play, we will continue this game next week.

In chorus, both the fourth and fifth grade students went over breathing techniques, fun warm ups, and learned a fun jazzy song called, "Holiday Lights." 

We hope you all enjoy the beautiful sunny weekend!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Music Room Tour

This past Tuesday was Open House here at Memorial.  A few parents stopped by (thank you!), but in case your schedule did 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, bean bag chairs, 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 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!

Bach: Toccata and Fugue

Just popping in to share a video that we showed to the students this week.  They loved it SO much that many students suggested we add it to our blog!   Enjoy:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Weekly Review 9/15 - 9/19

Good morning!  It feels like the students (and teachers!) are finally back in the groove of coming to school, and we had an amazing week full of singing, dancing, and earning BRAVOs!

The first graders are starting to learn solfege:
We are starting with Sol and Mi.  The students have learned the hand signs for these two syllables, and can echo the four beat patterns we sing!  We will be spending a lot of time on mastering Sol and Mi, and will eventually add La and Do.  Practicing solfege will help your child sing in tune more accurately and confidently!  We also learned a chant called "Chop, Chop, Chippety Chop."  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 second graders have been working on a challenging new song called, "Come and Follow Me."  Each phrase is sung a little bit higher than the last, with one phrase ("singing together, as one!") completing the phrases.  Once the students were comfortable with the song, we added the body percussion!  It takes a lot of coordination to get the hang of, but we worked on it slowly and patiently.  The students have done a wonderful job!  They also began singing a hilarious song- "Alligator Pie."  Some of the students suggested new lyrics, and it was a blast to sing!

In third grade, the students have been practicing "Four White Horses."  It is a calypso song from Trinidad with a catchy rhythm and steel drum accompaniment.  The students giggle every time we get to the lyric, "shallow bay is a ripe banana!"  You can ask your child what that lyric means :)  After we learned the song, the students got into quartets and practiced a fun hand clapping routine. We will be performing the song in class next week, complete with a conga line!

The fourth graders reviewed the cup game, and did some variations on the routine.  Cups were passed right, cups were passed left, and they even performed with their eyes closed!   It was fun to practice different ways to play.  The fourth graders also started chorus this week!  We spent a lot of time setting up our iPads so we can read the score, and learned about the importance of warming up our voices.  Bill and Ted (see below) helped with breathing!  We are ready to get busy with our Winter concert songs next week!

Bill and Ted

Fifth grade students reviewed their cup game along with the song "I've Been to Harlem." Some students were even ready to learn the "super hard cup game."  The routine is a little bit harder, and a little bit faster.  It pairs perfectly with "In the Hall of the Mountain King," and things certainly get trickier when the tempo increases!  Most students spent the second half of the week at Bourndale, so they will start chorus next week!

We hope you have an awesome weekend!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Weekly Review- 9/8-9/12

Yeah! We completed one full week of school and had a fun filled week in music!

This week, the first graders finished the "Chicka- Chicka- Boom Boom" name game chant and learned the song, "Welcome Back."  The song was a lot of fun because we sang and performed the actions in different tempos (the speed of the song)  and used different dynamics (volume).  We also learned a song and game called, "Lucy Locket." One person is Lucy (he/she hides the pocket book in the room) and another person Kitty Fisher (finds the pocket). The rest of the students play an important role in this song/game because they help Kitty Fisher find the pocket by how loud or quiet they sing the song. This song/game is very similar to "Hot and Cold."

Second grade students finished playing "Grizzly Bear" and learned the song "Ickle Ockle." What does "Ickle Ockle" mean? NOTHING! After learning the song we played the game. One person was the "Ickle Ockle" and had to give another friend a "high five" after the song ended. The other students have to find another friend to give a "high five" too. The last student without a partner becomes the new "Ickle Ockle." 

The third graders finished their name game from last week, "Hey Children" and then learned a fun sewing song called, "The Thread Follows the Needle."  In the activity one student is a needle, and another student is a knot, and they form a cross stitch with their arms as they sing the song. It was a lot of fun! We also began learning a song called, "Two in A Boat."

Fourth and Fifth graders both learned a cup game and had a fun time practicing the routine.  The fifth graders learned a song called, "I've Been to Harlem" that goes along with the cup game. Next week we will be picking up the tempo of the game! Chorus also began this week. We sang some fun warm-ups and got into our chorus spots on the riser. 

We hope you have a fun and relaxing weekend!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Third Grade Violin!!

Registration has started for all third grade students who would like to play violin!  Letters will be sent home this week.  Please review this information, and if you choose to sign your child up for violin, you may register via the form at the bottom of this post.

We had a very successful pilot year, and I'm thrilled to announce that the string program has extended to all elementary schools in the district!  If you would like to see videos from last year's violin concert, please click the link below- the students did a wonderful job, and the music department is so proud of their accomplishments!

2014 Violin Concert Videos

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

Friday, September 5, 2014

Weekly Review 9/2 - 9/5

Welcome back to school!  I hope everyone had a wonderful (and relaxing) summer!  We are so happy to be back and school and to see all of our awesome students.

Here is what we were up to this first week of school:

The first graders learned a bit about beat, and we practiced finding the beat on our bodies, and walking with a steady beat to music. We discussed the rules and fun things like BRAVO and Music Superhero, and danced along to a funny song about clapping, jumping, swaying, and freezing.  The students each sang their name as a solo in our "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" activity and chant!

The second grade students learned a new song called "Grizzly Bear."  The song explores various dynamics, including piano, forte, and crescendo.  It's tricky to sing loud without screaming, but the students did a lovely job!  There is a game that we played along with the song: one student was a grizzly bear, and one student was a hunter. The hunter sang part of the song as a solo, and the bear had to guess who it was!  It was fun to identify our classmates by their singing voices.

In third grade, the students played along with one of my favorite beginning of the year activities- "Hey Children."  The students learned the song first, followed by a clapping routine.  Once the routine was mastered, the clapping routine was transferred to the rhythm sticks so we could play the name game!  It was a lot of fun.

The fourth grade students learned a song called, "Rocky Mountain."  This song explores high and low voices, and was a bit tricky at first!  The song has a hand routine that goes along with it- we did the routine in whole notes (4 beats), half notes (2 beats), quarter notes (1 beat) and eighth notes (1/2 beat).  For the second class this week, we were able to use drums instead of our laps.  EVERY student had a drum to play!  It was fun to play and sing at the same time.

In fifth grade, we sang an African song called "Sansa Kroma."  Ask your 5th grader about the meaning of the song!  Once we learned all of the words, we did a drumming activity similar to the one the fourth graders did with their song.

We hope you have a fantastic weekend!