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

Friday, February 27, 2015

Weekly Review 2/23-2/27

Wow! We made it to the first full week of school since the beginning of January! We are all hoping and praying that there will be no more snow days! We are ready for spring!

Our first grade friends learned that our human body is an instrument! The four main body percussion sounds are stomp, patshe (patting one or both thighs with the hand), clap and stomp. We used these body percussion sounds to practice beat and rhythm. The violins have rotated to Memorial so every first grade student will have the opportunity to play the violin! We began this unit by reading the book, "Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin!" We also learned a fun song and game called, "The Button and the Key." One student comes forward to the room and closes their eyes while the rest of the class sings the song. Another student is in charge of distributing the button and the key before the solo parts. Whoever has the button will sing, " I have the button" and whoever has the key will sing, "I have the key." The student in front of the room has to guess who had those items. It was exciting to see how each student guess and sang their solo parts.

In second grade, our students finished the last section of the Young Person's Guide- the percussion section. A game called, "Instrument Bingo" was played during our second music class to help reinforce the sounds of each instrument. Students were given instrument bingo parts and had to listen to the sounds of each instrument and match them to the pictures on their instrument bingo card. When a student calls out, "BINGO!" Mrs. Rzasa and I check it on our master sheet and they receive a small musical prize. The students enjoyed playing this game a lot that we will play another round next week! Here are some pictures of students playing Instrument Bingo:

It's Recorder time for our wonderful third graders!  Please don't forget to bring your folder and recorder during the days that you have music because Mrs. Rzasa and I will be taking recorder attendance! We reviewed the notes, "B, A, & G" and went over how to play the white belt song, "Hot Cross Bun." Here is a fun little song called, "I Knew You Were Treble." See if you can recognize the familiar tune. The student really enjoyed singing this song!

Our fourth and fifth grade students practiced their compositions with their percussion instrument. We will be performing them next week so stay tuned! Here is a sneak preview of fourth grade students diligently rehearsing:

In chorus, fifth grade students went over their grade level featured song, "Johnny B. Goode." Here is a video clip of them rehearsing the refrain:

Fourth grade students continued to work on their grade level featured song, "Sourwood Mountain!" I must congratulate the boys for singing out on their featured solo part!

Both grade levels worked on the ending to, "Land That We Love," and continued to work on, "It Don't Mean a Thing!"

We hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, February 23, 2015

String Update/Assignment

Wow, with all of the snow days and a week off for February Vacation, it has been a long time since we last had a lesson!  Please see me if you are having trouble with any of the music!

Third Graders
Today we warmed up with our D scale, trying out different rhythms.  We also started our music for our very first violin concert!

  • Please practice Song For Christine and Frere Jacques on our concert sheet. 

Fourth Graders
4A:  Today we spent a lot of time working on Hickory Dickory Dock. We have seemed to forget a lot that we worked on last month!  Luckily, by the end of the lesson we were all on the same page :)   We also started the B part for the William Tell Overture, and learned how to play a hooked bowing pattern.

  • Hickory Dickory Dock
  • William Tell Overture (#190 on page 44)

4B:  Today we continued to practice our C natural and F natural- keep those 2nd fingers low and touching the first finger!  We reviewed the songs on page 34, then spent some time on the William Tell Overture.

  • page 34 (again please!)
  • William Tell Overture (#190 on page 44)
  • Submarine

Friday, February 13, 2015

Weekly Review 2/9 - 2/13

This week, the first grade students celebrated some February holidays!  First, they learned all about Punxatawny Phil, the groundhog who looks for his shadow every February 2nd.   Then, we sang a fun Groundhog's Day song.  One child was selected to be the groundhog, sleeping in the center of the circle.  Following the beat of the song, the other students walked around the groundhog while singing.  At the end of the song the sleeping groundhog woke up, and named the first person that he or she saw. That new friend became the next groundhog! 

In honor of Valentine's Day, they sang "Heel, Toe, on the Line."  There were two words that the students did not recognize- "Ja" and "Nein." These words mean "Yes" and "No" in German. Each student dances with a partner in a circle and on the word "Nein," the partners turns their back against each other and ends up with a new partner. It was so much fun to see who are new partner was going to be!  

The second graders continued their fun instrument family activity: the Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra interactive game!  They learned all about the instruments in the string and brass family, and how their sound is produced.  After February vacation, they will finish the game with the percussion family! 

This was a HUGE week for the third graders....they all took their notation test, then finally received their recorders!  If your child is in third grade, here are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • The students need to bring their recorders to class for each music day.  
  • Mrs. Niu and I will be taking "recorder attendance," and three or more unprepared days will result in a call home.  The students will learn best when they have their instrument in school!
  • Recorders are only allowed to be played in music and outside of school.  Please remind your child not to play on the bus or in their regular classroom.
  • To help students succeed, home practice is necessary.  Please have your child aim for 5 minutes each day.  Of course, more is always good too!  Since the recorders are new, they will likely practice a lot- but this may fade in the coming weeks.  Ask your child to play for you to help encourage them!
  • To clean the recorders, you may wash them with warm soapy water, or place them in the TOP RACK of the dishwasher. 
  • Thank you- we appreciate your patience and support as your child learns a new instrument!
The fourth and fifth graders enjoyed practicing their compositions on the classroom percussion instruments.  Each group thoughtfully selected the instruments they thought would sound best with the rhythm they composed.  After vacation, we will be performing them for class and recording the songs.  

In chorus, the students continued to work on "Land That We Love and "It Don't Mean a Thing."  They all started to learn their grade level featured songs too:  "Sourwood Mountain" for 4th grade, and "Johnny B. Goode" for 5th.  Don't forget- the lyrics and a few videos/recordings can be found on our Chorus page!

We hope that you have a wonderful and safe February break!  We'll leave you with a few pictures and a video from our impromptu Patriots pep rally:)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Weekly Review 2/2-2/6

Congrats to our wonderful Patriots who won the Superbowl! I guess mother nature knew that we needed two extra days to celebrate and gave us two feet of snow!  Here is what we learned during this short week of school..........

In first grade, we ended our "Peter and the Wolf" unit with watching the cartoon. The students love it! We also learned a cute movement song called, "Tony Chestnut" which involved active participation. We sang this song in three different tempos and bursted out laughing after each one because we had so much fun!

Second grade students continued the interactive game called, "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra." We had fun finding instruments within a family, putting parts of various woodwind instruments together, and differentiating between high and low sounds.

Our third grade students are just about ready to receive their recorders! They took a practice note quiz this week and most of our students did a great job! Make sure you study this weekend because we will be giving out the test on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday! If you need more help, please see Mrs. Niu during your recess (at 12:45) on Monday! You should all have your practice quiz and study guide to study from. Best of luck!

Fourth and fifth grade students continued their compositions this week. Many of our students chose a percussion instrument to perform their compositions. Next week we will be performing them! Stay tuned!

In chorus, we finished "Land That We Love" and "It Don't Mean a Thing." Next week we will be starting our featured grade level songs. For fourth grade, it will be the fun country song called, "Sourwood Mountain" and for fifth grade, we will be learning "Johnny B. Goode." Recordings and lyrics can be found here: 2015 Spring Concert Songs

Have a wonderful weekend and hopefully, just hopefully we won't be snowed in again!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Featured Musician: Sophie

When the string students complete over 90 minutes of practicing in a given week, they are awarded stickers and and a ticket to put in the ticket box.  Once per month (on their Performance Day), I pull out 5 random tickets, and those students receive a prize!

This month, Sophie won the Featured Musician prize...a special feature and interview right here on her blog!  Keep scrolling to learn a little bit about Sophie :)

Grade :  3rd
How long have you been playing violin?  Since October 2014
Why did you choose to play the violin?  Because my friends were playing it, and I thought it would be fun- and it is!
What is your favorite song to play?  Teeter Totter
Does anyone else in your family play the violin?  Nope
Do you play any other instruments?  Yes- the piano.
Who is usually your stand partner in our lessons?  Ava D.
Are you looking forward to playing the recorder? Yes.
What music do you listen to outside of school? Eminem, Jobi (the tuba player), Katie Perry, Ariana Grande, and Taylor Swift.
Have you ever been to a live concert? No, but I am going to a Taylor Swift concert in July.
Do you like singing?  Yes, I’ve been singing since I was three.
Do you have any advice for young musicians?  It takes time and practice to learn an instrument!

Thanks so much, Sophie!