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

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)