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

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Weekly Review 4/25- 4/29

This week, the first grade students discussed the instruments of the orchestra and talked about the song, Carnival of the Animals. This hilarious musical suite which consists of fourteen movements is composed by a French composer, Camille Saint-SaĆ«ns.  Each movement is about a different animal (except for the little joke) and features different instruments of the orchestra. The animals are having a carnival and everyone is invited to participate, even our own students! After discussing each part, the students had a lot of fun moving around to the music of the various animals. Next week we will watch a movie about the Carnival of the Animals. 

The second graders worked on a class composition.  They will be learning to read music notation next year, so this week we gave them a brief introduction to the staff.  Then, we reviewed rhythmic values and the musical alphabet ABCs - there are only 7 letters!   To compose, students took turns with selecting a rhythm (quarter note, eighth note pair, or quarter rest), then choosing a pitch (A, B, C, D, E, F or G).  Students continued until each class had their own song!  The next step is to add lyrics.  Students will work in pairs to write words to accompany the tune, making sure to match up the correct number of syllables to each rhythm. They also reviewed their dance move for the songs that they will be singing for the Memorial Day concert on May 25th. 

The third grade students are also busy preparing for their concert in June.  They reviewed, "Juba Jive" and enjoyed their centers day.  Students learned how to play the F# on the recorder, and practiced "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." Playing from the F# to the E is really tricky so don't forget the seesaw move! 

The fourth and fifth graders are almost ready for their concert!  Students have been in and out of the music room all week rehearsing solos, dance parts, acting parts, and speaking parts.  Don't forget that program covers are due on Monday, May 7th. We can't wait to share with you all our hard work on May 11th!  As a reminder, here is the concert attire and the call times. Please feel free to email Mrs. Rzasa or I for 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 opera and music from classical composers.  We would like the students to be as fancy as possible, while still being comfortable.  Below are some ideas:
  • Girls:  Fun/fancy dresses, skirts, or nice pants.
  • Boys:  Suits and ties/bowties, dress pants with polo shirts, or even tuxedo t-shirts!
  • Mrs. Niu and Mrs. Rzasa will likely be wearing gowns with opera gloves and costume jewelry.  Have fun with your outfit choice!

  • 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.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

a little orchestra video

Good afternoon! I just wanted to pop in and share a video of our orchestra rehearsing for our upcoming Spring Concert.

Below is an excerpt from Little Largo:

Have a great day!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Weekly Review 4/11 - 4/15

This week, the first grade students sang a great song called "Walk to the House."   There are 2 moments in the song where two students each select a hand percussion instrument and play a special rhythm.  The rest of the class gets to guess which instruments were played based on the sound!  It is a great opportunity for them to review the timbre and names of each instrument!  The classes also learned about audiation.   Audiation is when you can hear music in your head, almost as if you turned on a radio in your brain!  They practiced audiating with a cute song called "Little Peter Rabbit" - complete with hand motions!

The second grade students continued to practice their songs for the Memorial Day Assembly!  We had a great time dancing with scarves and ribbons - the performance will be so much fun!  The students also started to learn "America the Beautiful."  They practiced singing with good tone, and worked on taking a good supportive breath with excellent posture in order to reach the high notes.  They also finished the song "Ah, Poor Bird" by adding boomwhackers and metallic percussion instruments.

The third graders have been doing an amazing job with our Recorder Karate program.   Please encourage your child to practice at home - we're sure they would love performing for you! On Centers Day, the students played Musical Jenga again, and a musical card game similar to "Old Maid."  The third graders also started a new song for their concert, "Juba Jive," and learned a new note - F#.

The fourth and fifth graders have entered "Concert Mode" - they are hard at work preparing for their May 11th concert.   All chorus lyrics need to be memorized by the time we get back from April Vacation so that we can add hand movements, dancing, instruments, and solos.  We hope that you can all attend the performance next month!

Please have a wonderful and safe week off, and enjoy the nice weather!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

ABA Compositions

Our 1st grade students composed an ABA composition with their partners using quarter notes, eighth notes and rest. Each group chose a percussion instrument to perform their compositions. Here are their wonderful performances!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Weekly Review 4/4 - 4/8

Good morning!

This week, the first graders continued practicing their ABA Form compositions.  Then, they had the opportunity to perform them in front of their classes!  We will have some videos here on the blog soon :)  They also started a new song called "Walk to the House."  There are 2 moments in the song where two students each select a hand percussion instrument and play a special rhythm.  The rest of the class gets to guess which instruments were played based on the sound!  It is a great opportunity for them to review the timbre and names of each instrument!  We will play this fun game again next week.

The second grade students have been continuing to rehearse Grand Old Flag, Yankee Doodle Boy, and This Land is Your Land.  We will be adding one last song next week!  (Their Memorial Day Assembly will be held on May 25th at 10:00 am).  The students also learned a really fun chant in Spanish, all about food!  It's called "Tortillitas," and it includes a great clapping game.  The students really loved changing partners and keeping up with the different tempos!

In third grade, the students shared the percussion instruments that they created in their homerooms for science.  They have been studying sound, and their instruments were made from recycled items.   They each demonstrated their instrument, and also identified which family (or families!) it belonged to.  Most of the instruments belonged in the string or percussion families.

The fourth and fifth graders were so excited to use their kazoos in chorus!  We also spent some time auditioning for dance, instrumental, and acting parts for our upcoming Spring Concert.  Please mark your calendars...Wednesday, May 11th!  Flyers are being sent home today with more information regarding call times and attire.

We hope you have a musical weekend!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Weekly Review 3/28-4/1

First graders composed an ABA form composition.  Working with their peers, students composed an 8 beat "A" section, and an 8 beat "B" section using quarter notes, eighth note, and quarter rests. During their second music class, students selected hand percussion instruments to perform with.  Each group decided how they wanted to structure the composition.  Since they must follow the form, here are the choices:

  • Both students perform ABA in unison
  • One student performs A, their partner performs B, then the first student performs A
  • One student performs A, their partner performs B, then they perform A together
  • Both students perform ABA, with one person playing all quarter notes, and the other playing all eighth notes
Next week they will play them for the class, and we will share some of the videos with you here on the blog!

Our second grade students are doing such a wonderful job learning their songs for the Memorial Day assembly. We finished learning all the songs that we started coming up with hand movements for various parts of the song. Students got an opportunity to sing their class song for the assembly while dancing with either a scarf or a ribbon. Mrs. Rzasa and I will be sending a letter home shortly inviting you all to the Memorial Day assembly which will be held on Wednesday, May 25th at 10am in the Cafeteria. 

We are so proud of our third grade students who are making great progress in learning the recorder.  During their second 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!

Our fourth and fifth grade students are continuing to work hard on their composition projects. Many of them cannot wait to perform them for our 1st and 2nd grade students. In chorus, both grade levels have officially completed learning all the songs for the concert.  We will begin adding hand motions to some of the songs so start thinking of what you would like the chorus to do! Mrs. Rzasa and I are looking to the students for creative suggestions! Please start memorizing the songs! Again, the lyrics and recordings can be found here:

Have a wonderful weekend and stay warm!