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

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Violin Assignment

Yesterday, the students did an amazing job in their violin lessons! We have been working hard on our concert music.  For the next lesson, students should know how to comfortably play all of the songs on the concert sheet.  We will be reviewing them after April vacation so that we can start spending more time on "Oh, Suzanna" and "Hickory Dickory Dock."

Below is a video of some of the students playing "Song for Christine."  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Weekly Review 4/7-4/11

We are so happy that the sun is finally out and Spring is here!

First grade students learned about the Percussion Family.  To produce a sound on a percussion instrument you need to strike it, shake it, or scrape it.  Each student had the chance to play a few of these instruments. By the end of next week, each student will have played all of these percussion instruments.

  • Egg Shaker
  • Maraca
  • Claves
  • Rhythm Sticks
  • Wrist Bells
  • Sleigh Bells
  • Wood Block
  • Cow Bell
  • Agogo Bells
  • Guiro
  • Cymbals
  • Finger Cymbals
  • Triangle
  • Ratchet
  • Cabasa
  • Vibraslap
  • Hand Drum
  • Bongos
Second graders continued to play Instrument Bingo, since we had so much fun last week! This time, students were challenged to remember all of the instrument sounds heard to fill in their bingo boards.  Some were simple (violin, trumpet, bass drum, etc), and others were quite tricky! (vibraphone, shamisen, metronome, etc.)  A few of the students won prizes to take home!

The second grade students also played a song called "Spring Delight."  It is a game that reinforces rhythmic identification using quarter notes and eighth notes (du and du-de). Three baskets with three different rhythmic patterns were put into the middle of the circle.  Students passed around a spring basket filled with colorful eggs to the beat of the song.  Whoever has the basket on the last word of the song was the lucky winner who got a chance to open up one of the eggs. Inside each egg were two special things- a fun little sticker and a word that relates to the spring season. The lucky student got to keep the sticker but had to figure out which rhythmic egg basket their "special word" belonged too.  It was so much fun to see which rhythmic basket had the most eggs!

In third grade, we reviewed the challenging measures in "Old Mac Donald" and learned how to finger and play the F#. One way to remember how to play the F# is to finger the low note D and take out the right hand pointer finger. We also continued with the centers. Don't forget that Mrs. Rzasa and I are available before school to help students.

Fifth grade students will be performing "Where the Wild Things Are" to some of our kindergarten and first grade friends on Monday and Tuesday. Our fourth grade students will be performing their musical version "Jabuti" to each other. They have worked very hard on their compositions.

In chorus, the fourth and fifth grade students worked on the ending of Oceanus, learned the rest of Reflections of a Lad at Sea, and went over individual grade level songs. Don't forget that our concert is just a few weeks away- MAY 15th!

We hope you are all enjoying the beautiful weekend! Hopefully the weather will continue to stay this nice!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Weekly Review 3/31 - 4/4

This week, the first grade students explored music through movement by dancing along to In the Hall of the Mountain King.  This popular piece, by Edvard Grieg, starts at a slow tempo and gradually gets faster.  The simple movements (similar to "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes") seem easy at first, but becomes complicated as the tempo changes!  They also finished their Peter and the Wolf books!  Please visit this post for more information.

The second graders completed the Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra interactive activity.  Many of the students were asking for the link so that they could play at home.  The game is offered through the Carnegie Hall Kids website!

To test the students' knowledge of the instruments in the orchestra, we played Instrument Bingo!  Recordings of each instrument were played, so that the students could identify that instrument and check to see if it was on their bingo card.  Prizes were given to students who successfully identified five instruments in a straight line on their board!  Next week, we will play again so that more students have the opportunity to be winners!

The third graders enjoyed their centers and testing day early in the week.  For the second music class, they all learned how to read the new note D.  This helped the students who are working on learning their purple belt song, "Old MacDonald."  We also reviewed the rhythms and reminded the students to play on a steady even beat - even during the repeated notes!  It was fun to improvise melodies with the third grade students as well. Mrs. Niu or I would play a four beat question on the recorder, and asked different students to improvise an answer, ending on the tonic (in this case, a G).

The fourth and fifth graders continued to work on their group composition projects:  "Jabuti" and "Where the Wild Things Are," respectively.  Next week we will try to wrap things up, and see if we can record a video of the performances!  

During chorus, most of the classes finished learning our fourth (and last) song - "Reflections of a Lad at Sea."  We are so excited to start adding extra parts such as solos, speakers, instruments, and dancing! Don't forget - our concert is May 15th!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Violin Assignment

Good afternoon!  Just popping in to let you know that the violin assignment for this week is to work on the new concert music!

All lesson groups have reviewed "Song for Christine," "Frère Jacques," "Mozart Melody," and the B part for "Oh, Suzanna."  Reminder:  the grace note is a short and quick note that is played just before the beat.  If you are uncomfortable with playing the grace notes, you can skip them and play just the high D :)

Finishing our books!

This week, the first graders are finishing their Peter and the Wolf books.  Each book includes pictures of the instruments that are featured in the music, and the students drew the characters to go along with them!  The listening maps they completed two weeks ago are also in their book.

When your child comes home with their book this week, you can ask them to tell you the story of Peter and the Wolf!