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

Friday, November 6, 2015

Weekly Review 11/2 - 11/6

This week, the first graders performed different rhythmic patterns as solos!  It was fun to read each rhythm on the board, then translate them to body percussion (clapping).  We also discussed some important musical opposites:  high vs. low pitch.  We explored our high and low voices with the Splat Game, then learned how to sing "Bluebird."  The end of the song goes from a high to a low pitch!  Then, the students played the Bluebird circle game.  To prepare for Thanksgiving, we read "Over the River and Through the Wood" - next week, the students will sing the song.

The second grade students read a story called "Old Wind."  There are many different characters in the story, and each was represented by a different instrument.  The students played the hand drum, sand blocks, ratchet, vibraslap, whip, glockenspiel, chimes, or made sound effects with their voices.  Next week, we will share their recordings!

The third grade students finished their Ghost of John activity on the Boomwhackers.  We even added fun hand percussion instruments - the triangle and thunder drum!  We also brought out an old friend, Bony Legs, and he helped us learn the "Funeral March of the Marionette" by French composer Charles Gounod.   Then, we started a Harvest song: "Pumpkins are Ripe." Next week we will add the Orff instruments!

The fourth graders rehearsed their Veteran's Day music. We invite you to attend their assembly on Monday, November 9th at 1:15 p.m.  Please remind your child to wear red, white and blue. We can't wait to see you there!

This week, the fifth graders have been learning about Danse Macabre, a tone poem composed by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns.  A tone poem is "a piece of orchestral music, typically in one movement, on a descriptive or rhapsodic theme" (source)   Danse Macabre is based on a poem (of the same name) written by Henri Cazalis- you can read the translation from French to English below:

Zig, zig, zig, Death in cadence,
Striking with his heel a tomb,
Death at midnight plays a dance-tune,
Zig, zig, zig, on his violin.
The winter wind blows and the night is dark;
Moans are heard in the linden-trees.
Through the gloom, white skeletons pass,
Running and leaping in their shrouds.
Zig, zig, zig, each one is frisking.
The bones of the dancers are heard to crack-
But hist! of a sudden they quit the round,
They push forward, they fly; the rooster has crowed.

We discussed the story behind the poem, and how it served as an inspiration for Saint-Saëns.  We followed a listening map and identified the various themes in the music.

It's an amazing piece of music, with haunting melodies and an incredible violin solo- please check it out below!

In chorus, all fourth and fifth grade students continued to work on Happy Holidays/Auld Lang Syne. Then, we rehearsed our newest piece, "Five Favorite Holiday Songs."  Some groups also worked on their grade level songs.

We hope you have a fabulous weekend!

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