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

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Weekly Review 4/13- 4/17

Sadly, this was our last week playing the violins before they rotate to another school. Don't worry, they will be back next year!

Our first grade students played four beat patterns on the open strings. Then each student got a chance to perform, "Mississippi Hot Dog" on any open violin string. The rest of the students had to play back that song. It was so much fun to see how creative our first grade students were. We are so proud at how much they learned in just their first year of playing the violin! Next week, we will continue to play the rest of the percussion instruments! Stay tuned!

Second grade students ended their violin unit by playing an ostinato along to Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off." This song has been one of their favorites this year so Mrs. Rzasa and I thought it would be fun to learn the ostinato. The had fun singing the song and performing the ostinato. We also learned a body percussion part to the fossil movement in the, "Carnival of the Animals."

In third grade, students spent time on a fun interactive game called, "JoyTunes" where students can master the recorder.  Joy Tunes (  This site is a great way for students to practice through recorder games.  To play, you need a computer with a microphone (most laptops have built-in mics).  You can also download the free app if you have an iPad (

You will need to make an account so the student's progress will be saved.  Here's how to do it:

Go to, and click "Play for Free"

Next, make a username, password, and type in your email address:

Click "CONNECT" to allow the site to access your microphone:

Now you're ready to play!  Have fun :)

We also learned our first song using our IPADS,for our June 10th concert .

Thank you to all of our fourth and fifth grade students who tried out for solo and dance parts! Please don't feel bad if you did not get chosen! There were so many talented singers and dancers that Mrs. Rzasa and I wished we could have taken everyone! We will be having rehearsals right after spring break. Please make sure you have your songs memorized! We can't believe the concert is just a few weeks away! Parents should have received a letter reminding the date of the concert and the dress attire. Incase you have not received the letter yet, here it is:

Dear Parents,

The choral department at Memorial presents, “America the Beautiful” on:

Wednesday, May 13, 2015
7:00 p.m.

Your child has been working very hard towards this concert and we hope you and your family can be there to support them. Feel free to email or call us if you have any questions.

  • Concert Attire:  
Morning - The students may wear regular school clothes in the daytime - but please no t-shirts with logos or words.
Evening - Red, white, and/or blue tops to go along with our theme of “America the Beautiful.”  Students must also wear black bottoms, and black shoes.  

  • Call Time:
Please make sure that your child arrives to the school at 6:40 p.m. Band students will report to the music room, string students will report to the lesson room, and chorus students who do not play an instrument will report to the gym.

  • Please note: All 4th and 5th graders must attend the Spring Concert. The students have been working so hard to prepare for this performance, and we need all of their wonderful voices in our ensemble!  Please contact us if you have any questions.

* We look forward to seeing you there! *


Mr. Napierkowski, Mrs. Niu, and Mrs. Rzasa

Lastly, we hope you all have a fun and relaxing spring break! Good luck to our second grade teacher, Ms. McLaughlin, who will be running the Boston Marathon on Monday!

Monday, April 13, 2015

String Update/Assignment

Third Graders:
With our concert less than two months away (June 10th!), we have really been focusing on those concert sheet songs.  Today we reviewed Song for Christine and Frere Jacques.  Some of the lesson groups worked on the other songs too.

PLEASE remember to practice at home!  Soon I will be giving some extra music for students who have already mastered the concert pieces :)


  • D Major Scale, with varied rhythms
  • Concert Sheet, focusing on whatever you find the trickiest

Fourth Graders:
4A:  Today we focused on the Submarine Song and the William Tell Overture.  These are our most difficult pieces, and it is important to practice them often at home!

  • D Major Scale, with varied rhythms
  • Submarine, William Tell, and Ode to Joy should be the focus of your practicing
  • Play through Hickory Dickory Dock as a warm-up or a reward for a good practice session!

4B:  Today we spent most of our lesson time on the Minuet.  We also learned what a slur was!  A slur is when two (or more) notes are played smoothly using one bow stroke.  We also ran through Ode to Joy and William Tell.  It sounded beautiful today with the dynamics! :)

  • D Major Scale, with varied rhythms
  • ALL concert tunes!  Focus on the A section (first half) of Minuet

Thank you to Paul for suggestion the rhythm for our scale, and thanks to Steven for taping it!!

It was so beautiful out today that Mrs. Keating's class had their lesson outside!  It was quite windy, but the students above knew their tune from memory.  Great job!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Weekly Review 4/6 - 4/10

This week, the first grade students learned their first song on the violin- Mississippi Hot Dog! It was fun to experiment playing this song on different strings, then improvising on any notes!  This unit has been so much's sad that we only have one more class left with the instruments!  The first graders also learned about Haydn, an Austrian composer who wrote the "Surprise Symphony."  They did a great movement activity to this song, then started their new Percussion unit.  Each student played many of our classroom percussion instruments- ask your child which ones they liked the most!

The second graders also had a wonderful week- they played Hot Cross Buns on the violin, and some students even played a solo!  They played along to Twist and Shout, following the bass line and chord progression.  Then, they learned a bit about a musical suite by French composer Camille Saint-SaĆ«ns called "Carnival of the Animals."  There are 14 movements, each representing a different animal (with a few jokes thrown in too!).

The third grade students had a wonderful Center Day, with two new games!  One was a rhythm game using popsicle stick, and the other was a fun card game.  During their other music class, we reviewed "Lucy Locket" (the green belt song), and started "Old MacDonald."  Our new note, D, can be a little tricky.  The students had to make sure they were covering the holes all the way!

The fourth graders played with the bows this week on violins, and reviewed their accompaniment part to "Twist and Shout." They also played an ostinato along to Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off."  In chorus, they finished learning "Party in the USA," then we ran through the other songs that we will be singing in our Spring Concert!

The fifth graders also played "Twist and Shout" and "Shake it Off" on the violins.  Then, students had the opportunity to try out the viola or the cello.  Check out their pictures, below! :)  In chorus, the students finished "Party in the USA," then sang through the rest of our concert songs.

*NOTE: Below are the audition dates for fourth and fifth grade:

  • Solo Singers:  Tuesday, April 14th at Intervention
  • Dancers: Thursday, April 16th at Intervention
Have a lovely weekend! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

String Update/Assignment (Performance Day!)

Today was PERFORMANCE DAY for the 3rd Graders!! (4th Graders are working on their challenging concert music). 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

  • Concert Sheet - ALL SONGS! :)

Fourth Graders
4A & 4B:  Today was structured a bit differently than usual!  Instead of performance day or a traditional lesson, we had a Peer Practice Day!  Students paired up and helped each other with concert music.  This gave me the opportunity to cruise around and give individual help to each child.  We had a great time!  We will probably have one more Peer Practice Day before our concert  :)

Reminder:  Orchestra Rehearsal is every Thursday at recess.
**Our Spring Concert is Wednesday, May 13th!**


(note:  not all students choose to be videotaped)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Weekly Review 3/30-4/2

Spring has sprung in music this week! The younger students played games related to eggs while the older students got a chance to use the bow on the violin!

The first graders helped bring in the spring season by playing a game and singing "I am Looking for Eggs." The students had so much fun looking for eggs hidden around the music room as they sang the fun, catchy song.   As soon as a student found an egg, they were directed to shake the egg shaker (which represented a Spring egg) to the beat of the song. The students who found the eggs during each round of the game became the ones that would hide the eggs for the rest of the class. We also had fun playing open strings on the violin. Sadly, next week will be our last week playing the violin for the 2013-2014 school year.

Second grade students also played an egg game called, "Spring Delight." 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! Our second grade students also reviewed the notes F#, E and D by playing "Hot Cross Buns." We also learned how to play an ostinato to the Beatle's song, "Twist and Shout."

Our third grade students had so much fun practicing their learned notes on Joytunes that we revisited this website again this week. We reviewed low E and went over the green belt song, "Lucy Locket." For our centers, we added two new games: Musical Jenga and Musical Old Maid. Ask your 3rd grade students about these games.

For our fourth and fifth grade general music class, students continued to learn how to bow and learned how to play an ostinato to the famous pop song, "Shake It Off!" In chorus, we finished learning, "It Don't Mean a Thing," reviewed "Party in the USA" and "Land That We Love." Don't forget that our concert is on Wednesday, May 13th at 7:00pm. We have just a little over a month left to prepare for our concert! Please start memorizing the songs!

We hope you have a wonderful weekend!