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

Friday, December 23, 2016

Weekly Review 12/19-12/23

We can't believe that our last school week of 2016 has come to an end. Here is what we did in music:

Congratulations to our first grade students who performed so well at our first Winter Showcase!

Second grade students completed their Nutcracker unit with a listening map and played rhythm sticks to accompany the Trepak. We listened to the Chinese Dance, described the instruments that were played in the music and followed a listening map. Here is a video of some of our second grade students performing the rhythm stick routine to the Trepak:

The third grade students performed the, "Jingle Bells Mixer" dance. It is a fun circle dance performed with partners.  They did an amazing job!  For their second music class, they had a great time with Music Mad Libs. Here is are some of the creative Mad Libs that our children came up with:

Mrs. Keating's class:
To the Tune of: Rudoph the Red Nose Reindeer
Emily the orange-nosed monkey
Had a very hairy eye
And if you ever saw it
You would even say it glows

All of the other unicorns
Used to laugh and call him pizza
They never let poor Ryan
Join in any doggy games

Then one foggy Armenian Christmas Eve
Santa came to say
Rudolph with your face so sassy
Won't you guide my Ryan tonight?

Then all the beaver loved him
And they shouted out with sad
Kyle the black-hand sugar glider
You'll go down in history!

Mrs. Cyr and Mrs. Kipp's class
To the Tune of: Santa Claus is Coming to Town
You better not play video games
You better not play ipads
Better not dance
I'm telling you why
Sloane  is coming to Woburn
She's making a Yvenaya
And checking it twenty one times
Gonna find out who's sparkly and blue
Nora  is coming to San Antonio
She sees you when you're dabbing
She knows when you're singing
She knows if you've been thinking or pretty
So be good for goodness sake!
Oh! You better go sking
You better not do handstands
Better not do cartwheels
I'm telling you why
Andrew  is coming to Quebec City
Oliva  is coming to New York

Fifth grade and fourth grade performed an accompaniment using drums and rhythm sticks to "The Trepak" from the Nutcracker ballet. Here is Mrs. Burn's class and Mrs. Harlow's class:

Happy Holidays and Have a Happy New Year! Cheers to 2017!

Monday, December 19, 2016

String Update and Assignment

Fourth Graders
4A, 4B, 4C:  All fourth grade groups reviewed the notes on the D and A strings.  We are continuing to work on our reading proficiency, so practicing this skill is important!  The students played a few tunes from the Essential Elements book, then started a new song for the Spring Concert - Strings Will Rock You.

Assignment for 4th graders:
  • Page 15
  • Strings Will Rock You

Fifth Graders
5A and 5B:  The fifth grade students also reviewed their notes - by playing an awesome game called Staff Wars!  You can purchase and download the app HERE.  We listened to two songs that we will be playing in the spring: Blue Danube Waltz and Final Countdown.  Then, we started to play Strings Will Rock You.

Assignment for 5th graders:
  • Strings Will Rock You
  • D Scale:  Half notes, then quarter notes, then eighth notes...followed by sixteenth notes if you can!  

Friday, December 16, 2016

Weekly Review 12/12 - 12/16

Congratulations to the 4th and 5th Grade students for an amazing performance on Wednesday!  Please check out the post below for photos:

This week, the first graders have been preparing for their Winter Showcase (next Wednesday, Dec. 21 for parents and families of first grade students).  They also learned about one of Tchaikovsky's most famous ballets - The Nutcracker.  The "Marche" has three themes: soldier, puppet, and mice.  The students moved and danced along with the beat to each theme in the song.  It was so much fun!

The second graders have also been learning about The Nutcracker.  In their first music class, they finished watching the New York City Ballet's performance.  Then in the second class, the students followed a listening map for the Chinese Dance.  They followed the melodies performed by the flutes and the pizzicato in the strings.  They also learned a new musical vocabulary word - coda. After the map, they started a fun rhythm stick routine to go along with the Trepak. They will finish it next week!

The third grade students are continuing to learn music notation.  This week they reviewed the parts of the staff as well as the line and space notes.  Then they played fun staff games to reinforce what they have learned!  The first game is played on the floor staff - "On Your Mark, Get Set, Notate!"  The second game is played on the board using magnets as note heads.

The classes did so well!

The fourth and fifth graders had an opportunity for self assessment after the concert.  We watched the video from Wednesday's nighttime performance, and discussed things that went well and things that could be improved.  Self-assessment is so important for musicians and performers!

We hope you have a great weekend, and stay warm!

2016 Winter Concert Photos

We want to extend a HUGE congratulations to the fourth and fifth graders for their amazing performance this past Wednesday!

The students have worked so hard to prepare for this concert and we are so proud of them.   Here are some photos from the morning and evening performances:

Thank you to Mrs. Farrand, Mrs. Gianis and Mrs. Panag for contributing the photos above.

The following were sent in by Mrs. Schultz....thanks again!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Weekly Review 12/5-12/9

We can't believe it is already December and 2017 is just around the corner!

First grade students have been preparing for their Winter Showcase on Wednesday, December 21st at 1:30pm. We practiced, "Over the River" and "Peppermint Candy Cane." The students also came up with a list of favorite songs that they would love to sing to their family and friends. The first graders also learned the musical term verse and refrain with the song, "Jingle Bells." A verse is a section of a song that has the same music but different lyrics. The refrain is the part of the song that we "remember" because the music and lyrics gets repeated at least more than once. After learning the first verse and the refrain to this song, we played a game and added wrist bells.

Th second grade students are learning about the famous Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and his famous ballet, "The Nutcracker." As an introduction to this unit, our second graders watched, "The Nutcracker" movie starring Macaulay Caulkin and featuring the New York City Ballet. The students learned that in a ballet, the story is conveyed through dance and movement instead of through spoken words.  The only voice you hear is the narrator, who occasionally speaks to give extra details about the story.

The third graders reviewed music notation on their IPAD and learned a fun song to help remember the name of the notes. Ask your child to sing the song for you!  Next week, we will continue to learn the name of our notes with the help of some fun music games.

Our fourth and fifth grade students are working for their concert next Wednesday, Dec. 14th at 7:00pm. We have one more rehearsal left on Tuesday and then it is showtime!!

We hope you have a wonderful weekend and stay warm!

Monday, December 5, 2016

String Update and Assignment

ALL fourth and 5th grade lesson groups worked on the concert songs today.  Our performance is only one week away: next Wednesday, December 14th.

PLEASE try to practice 3-5 times each week, focusing on whatever you find most difficult.  Listening (or playing along) to these recordings can also help:

Additionally, 4th graders should work on Jingle Bells and if time, 5th graders can play Dreidel (page 13 in book)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Weekly Review 11/28 - 12/2

This week, the first graders completed their Bluebird activity from last week. The game helped us review the difference between high and low pitch.  Then, we continued to work on Peppermint Candy Cane, a song that we will sing for our Showcase on December 21st!

The second grade students learned about our new composer for December, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. He is a Russian composer who wrote The Nutcracker.   Then, they reviewed the March (a song from The Nutcracker that they danced to in first grade).  Each student listened carefully to the different themes in the song and moved like soldiers, puppets, and mice!  Then, they learned a brand new dance for the Trepak.  The students even danced with scarves!

The third graders have started their music notation unit to help prepare them for the recorder.  First, they learned about the staff, and then we added the treble clef, time signature, bar lines, double bar line (or repeat sign if desired), and labeled the measures.  The students did a wonderful job drawing the treble clef - it can be tricky! Here are some pictures:

The fourth and fifth graders have been rehearsing for their upcoming Winter Concert (December 14th).   We have sent home the following letter with more information:


Dear Parents/Guardians,

The music department at Memorial presents “Winter Rock” on:

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016
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 - Our concert is all about rock and roll music in the 1950s/early 60s. We would like the students to dress as though they were from that time period!  Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Girls: Full skirts, cardigans, sweaters, jeans, capri pants, leather jackets, high ponytails, etc.
  • Boys:  Jeans, white t-shirts, button-down shirts, leather jackets, varsity jackets, sunglasses, black boots, greased hair, etc.
  • Have fun with your outfit choice, and don’t feel as though you have to purchase something.  See what’s in your closet, or borrow something from a friend!

  • Call Time:
Please make sure that your child arrives to the school no later than 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 Art Room at 6:50pm.

  • Please note: ALL 4th and 5th graders must attend the Winter Concert. The students have been working so hard since September to prepare for this performance, and we need all of their wonderful voices in our ensemble!  (Please contact us in advance if you have a conflict with attendance)

* We look forward to seeing you there! *

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

Monday, November 21, 2016

String Update and Assignment

Fourth Graders
4A, 4B, 4C:  Today we played our D scale in a round with the rhythm "du du-de," then rehearsed Jingle Bells and Autumn Rhumba.  The students came up with silly phrases to help them remember the rhythm patterns.  

Assignment for 4th graders:
  • Practice Jingle Bells, focusing on smooth bowing!
  • Salamander Samba 
  • Autumn Rhumba
  • D Scale (up/ascending AND down/descending)

Fifth Graders
5A and 5B:  Today the 5th grade violinists spent time working on a VERY tricky part of Saint Nick's Canon on the Housetop.  We worked out the fingerings for the E string notes, including G natural...low 2!  The cellos and violas rehearsed Dreidl Adventure.

Assignment for 5th graders:
  • Dreidl Adventure
  • Autumn Rhumba
  • Saint Nick's Canon on the Housetop

Song Recordings:  These can help you practice!!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Weekly Review 11/14-11/18

Congratulations to all our 4th grade students who sang so beautifully at our Veteran's Day Assembly! Mrs. Rzasa and I received a lot of compliments commending you all for your hard work!

Our first graders learned a Thanksgiving song called, " Hello Mr. Turkey How Are You?" Every time we sang the phrase, "hello Mr. Turkey," we had to find a new friend in the room to shake hands with. It was also fun to gobble and wobble like a turkey. We also learned a song called, "Over the River and Through the Woods." It is also a children's classic which we read in class last week. After learning the first verse of the song, the students learned how to sing the song in sign language. Here is a video of Mrs. Burnham's and Mrs. Panag's class singing and signing the words with their eyes closed!

This song will be featured in our 1st grade Musical Showcase on Wednesday, Dec. 21st @ 1:30pm. 

Second grade students performed a tango to the song, "Turkey Tango." A tango is a partner dance that originated in Argentina and Uraguay.  Then we played a game to the song where students had to pass a ball around. When the music stops, whoever has the ball gets to pick a feather from one of the turkeys. There was a rhythm turkey and a dare turkey where students had to act what was written on the feather. It was so much fun!

Third grade students learned about verse and refrain form while singing a hilarious song called "The Turkey Shot Out of the Oven"(to the tune of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean").  There are 5 verses in this song, and each was assigned to a different group of students. The groups will act out each verse next week. Stay tuned! These third grade students also danced to the "Turkey Tango."

Thank you to all the 4th and 5th grade students who auditioned for the solo and dance parts. It was such a hard decision for Mrs. Rzasa and I! We rehearsed all the winter concert songs this week. You can find the lyrics and the recordings here:  2016 Winter Concert

The design covers for the winter concert were given out this week. Don't forget to turn them in by Wednesday, Nov. 30th.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, November 7, 2016

String Update and Assignment

Fourth Graders
4A, 4B, 4C:  All fourth grade groups worked on Jingle Bells today, which is #41 in the lesson book.  We will be adding this tune to our Winter Concert!

Assignment for 4th graders:
  • Practice Jingle Bells, focusing on smooth bowing!
  • Salamander Samba (scroll to the bottom of this post for recordings)
  • Autumn Rhumba
  • D Scale (up/ascending AND down/descending)

Fifth Graders
5A and 5B:  Due to an exciting Star Lab science lesson, we ended up combining both 5th grade lesson groups into one lesson.  Today we worked on Dreidl Adventure, a new song in minor tonality!  

Assignment for 5th graders:
  • Dreidl Adventure
  • Autumn Rhumba
  • Saint Nick's Canon on the Housetop

Song Recordings:  These can help you practice!!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Weekly Review 10/31 - 11/4

For those of you who celebrate Halloween, we hope it was safe, fun, and you didn't eat too much candy! :)

This week, the first graders completed their Halloween activities from last week.  We moved to "Looking For Dracula," sang "Ghost of John" (in unison and as a round), and heard a spooky story as we sang "Woman All Skin and Bones."  Then, the students learned how to read the rhythmic notation for du and du-de.  We have been echoing rhythmic patterns since September, and now we can read them too!  We also read a story to them - Over the River and Through the Wood - then introduced the Thanksgiving song.

The second grade students are also starting to learn music for Thanksgiving.  We sang all about "Five Fat Turkeys" and how they were scared of the cook that was looking for them!  Then we added two spoken ostinato parts.  Then, the students learned how to transfer the ostinato patterns to the Orff instruments.  

In third grade, we finished our "Pass the Broomstick" game from last week.  Students who were eliminated got to reinforce the steady beat by playing on the egg shakers.  Then, they learned a song for the autumn season called "Pumpkins are Ripe."  The song is in minor tonality, and has a beautiful melody.  Once the song was mastered, we added two different ostinato patterns on the Orff and hand percussion instruments.

The fourth graders finished their Halloween song from last week, Black and Gold.  It was so much fun to play on the instruments in minor tonality. Then, they continued to rehearse their music for next week's Veteran's Day assembly.  Fourth grade parents/families - we would love to have you join us on Wednesday, November 9th at 1:15 p.m.

The fifth grade students had a blast performing Halloween Night.  Some students played an ostinato pattern on the Orff instruments, while others played a scale-based melody.  Then, we had a group playing on hand percussion instruments.  The rest of the students pretended they were witches, skeletons, and goblins in a graveyard who came to life to spook the instrumentalists!  It was SO much fun to do each part, so we rotated to give everyone a chance to try them all.  

In chorus this week, we focused on "Jingle Bells Rock" and "Rock and Roll is Here to Stay."  Please visit this page to find lyrics so you can practice at home.  We will also add some recordings soon!

We also had our first 4th and 5th grade combined orchestra rehearsal this week. Check out their warm-up!

We hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Weekly Review 10/24 - 10/28

In first grade, students added three percussions instrument to the song,"Thump, Thump, Thump."  A hand drum was played during the crescendo on the words, "Thump, Thump, Thump," a triangle was played on a quarter rest, and egg shakers were played on the spooky words, "Who's There?" Every student got a chance to play all three instruments.   We also learned a song and played a game called, "Flap and Fly." Bats are nocturnal, mammals meaning that they sleep in the daytime and are awake at night.  Bats were asleep while the lights were on, then a student (the Sun) turned off the lights so the bats could dance and sing!  When the sun came up, the lights were turned back on and the bats fell asleep.

Second grade students revisited "Ghost of John" and performed an ostinato on an Orff instruments. We reviewed the Orff instruments which consisted of xylophones (bass, alto and soprano), metallophones (bass and alto) and glockenspiels (alto and soprano). Here is a picture of the instruments :

Our third grade students also got a chance to play on the Orff instruments this week. Instead of playing a simple accompaniment with two notes on the song "9 Lives", we performed a melody line that involved alternating mallots. Here are some students from Mrs. Cyr's performing on the xylophone. 

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.  Here is Bony Legs:

The fourth graders played Orff instruments to accompany "Black and Gold," and learned the partner song called, "Trick or Treat." Here is Mrs. Gonzalez's class performing the partner song, "Black and Gold."

Our Veteran's Day Assembly is coming up in a few weeks! All parents are invited to attend the assembly on Wednesday, Nov. 9th at 1:15pm. Here are the lyrics to the song: Veteran's Day Song. 

The fifth graders learned a spooky song called "Halloween Night."  They read along with the musical score, and identified the different pitches on the staff for the instrumental accompaniment. We  reviewed how to play the Orff instruments and how to hold the mallots properly on a C Major scale. We also learned two ostinato parts of the song. Next week, we will add other instrumental parts to the song.

Chorus lyrics are on the blog! Please check out the Chorus Lyrics and Recording Page! We learned two new songs this week: Jingle Bell Rocks! and Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay. 

Have a wonderful weekend and stay WARM!

Monday, October 24, 2016

String Update and Assignment

Fourth Graders
4A:  The students are still working on the A string and D string notes on their new instruments, and practicing reading their new clefs!  Today we played through "Song for Christine."  We also started one of our orchestra pieces, Salamander Samba!  Keep scrolling to check out their video :)

Assignment for 4A:
  • Continue pages 12 and 13 in the Essential Elements book
  • Salamander Samba!

4B:  Today we played through all of Salamander Samba, and focused on our rhythm and new G string notes.

Assignment for 4B:
  • Salamander Samba
  • Start to look at St. Nick's Canon on the Housetop

4C:  Today we kept working on the A string and D string notes, focusing on good tone and bow control.  We played the D major scale, then practiced "Rolling Along" on page 8 in the Essential Elements book.

Assignment for 4C:

  • Practice ALL of the A string and D string notes.
  • D scale, ascending and descending (up and down)
  • Start the Salamander Samba

Fifth Graders
5A:  The students did a wonderful job playing the first half of Saint Nick's Canon on the Housetop!  We got up to rehearsal 33...almost to the end of the song!  I also recorded a video of the students, but sadly it was deleted due to to an iPad error :(

Assignment for 5A:
  • Please focus on Canon on the Housetop.  I am hoping we can get past rehearsal 33 in orchestra on Thursday!

5B:   The students learned some new notes on the E string:  Open E, first finger F#, and third finger A.  They played through Saint Nick's Canon on the Housetop up to rehearsal 25.

Assignment for 5B:
  • Please focus on Canon on the Housetop.  I am hoping we can get past rehearsal 33 in orchestra on Thursday!

Please note Orchestra this Thursday is for 5th grade only

Students can practice Salamander Samba along with the recording found HERE

Friday, October 21, 2016

Weekly Review 10/17 - 10/21

This week, the first graders reviewed musical dynamics:  piano, forte, crescendo, and decrescendo.  We sang "The Bats are All Asleep," a song in minor tonality in call and response form.   The call (sung by the teacher) features a crescendo, and the students' response has a decrescendo!  The first graders also repeated a favorite activity from last week, "Looking for Dracula."  Then, I told them a story called "Thump, Thump, Thump." The students helped create the story, then they sang the song.  Next week, we will add a percussion accompaniment on hand drum, triangle, and egg shakers.

The second grade students reviewed a favorite song from last year, "Ghost of John."  We sang it in unison, and then again as a round.  We also read them a story about Bony Legs, which has a fun song in minor tonality to go along with it!  When the story was over, we played an accompaniment on the Orff instruments (xylophone, metallophone, and glockenspiel). 

The third graders completed their "Ding Dong Diggidiggi Dong" activity from last week, reinforcing our new rhythm (du-ta-de-ta, or sixteenth notes) on our classroom percussion instruments.  Then, they sang another song about a cat called "9 Lives."  Before we sang the lyrics, we sang the song with solfege syllables, starting on "la" - since the song is in minor tonality!  Then, we reviewed proper mallet technique for the Orff instruments.  Next week, the students will play the song's melody on the xylophone, metallophone, or glockenspiel.   

The fourth graders had a great time finishing a fun Irish folk dance they started last week, the Bridge of Athlone.  Here is a photo of one of the rows...exhausted (but happy!) after completing the activity:

They also continued to rehearse music for the Veteran's Day Assembly.  (Fourth grade parents may attend: Wednesday,  November 9th at 1:15!)

The fifth graders listened to two pieces by German composer Ludwig von Beethoven.  Then, they used a Venn diagram to compare the two pieces to see what musical qualities they have in common! The students also finished the folk dance they started last week, the Boston Tea Party Dance.  It was tricky, but so much fun!

In chorus this week, the students finished their grade level feature songs.  Everyone also worked on our combined piece, "North Pole Rock and Roll."  We had a little fun with our warm ups this week too...we sang "Ghost of John" in a 3 part round, focusing on tonality, tone, and intonation.

We hope you have a fantastic weekend! :)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Monday, October 17, 2016

String Update and Assignment

Fourth Graders
4A:  The students have been doing an excellent job on viola and cello!  Today we reviewed the D string notes:  Open D, E, F#, and G.  It can be a little tricky to get all of these notes in tune, but the students did a great job!

Assignment for 4A:
  • Continue to practice the D string notes.
  • Please work on the A string notes too! (Open A, B, C#, and D)
  • Start to take a look at our first orchestra piece, Salamander Samba.
4B:  Today the students performed a song that they chose from page 14 or 15 in our book.  They did such a great job that I had them all play again so I could record videos! (Check them out at the bottom of this post).  We also practiced the A string notes and played through some of the songs on page 10, then learned how to read open G and open E on the staff.

Assignment for 4B:

  • Practice ALL of the A string and D string notes.
  • Play the D scale, ascending and descending (up and down)
  • Start the Salamander Samba
4C:  Today we continued to reinforce the notes on the D string, then we moved to the A string.  We also worked on string crossings with the bow!

Assignment for 4C:

  • Practice ALL of the A string and D string notes.
  • D scale, ascending and descending (up and down)
  • Start the Salamander Samba
Fifth Graders
5A: Today we spent most of our lesson working on St. Nick's Canon on the Housetop.  The rhythm can be a little bit difficult, so make sure that you count first before you play!

Assignment for 5A:

  • Work on the beginning of Canon on the Housetop, up to rehearsal 13.  This is the part we will focus on in orchestra on Thursday!
  • You may start to practice the First Finger Suite.

5B:  Today we focused on St. Nick's Canon on the Housetop.  There were many note mistakes, so please review all of the notes in the D major scale!

Assignment for 5B:
  • Canon on the Housetop, up to measure 22.
  • You may also start to practice the First Finger Suite.

Please note:  Orchestra this Thursday is for 5th grade only