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

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!

Monday, September 1, 2014

4th Grade String Registration!

(Please scroll down for Weekly Reviews and Musical Showcase photos/videos!)

Next year, we are so excited to offer VIOLIN, VIOLA, and CELLO!!
Please keep your violin over the summer!  Students who are continuing violin will get re-sized in the fall, and students switching to viola or cello will change their instrument at that time as well.

Please sign up using this form below:

Thank you, and I hope you have a wonderful (and musical) summer!  :)
~Mrs. Rzasa