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

Friday, September 29, 2017

Weekly Review 9/25 - 9/29

Happy Friday!

This week, the first graders learned how to sing "do" and "so" on neutral syllables. This will help prepare them to sing bass lines and more!  We tossed a ball and when it was in the air they sang "so" (the higher pitch), and when it was caught they sang "do" (the lower one).  We finished up our Lucy Locket game from last week - it was so much fun!  Then, we took a pretend field trip to a musical kitchen, and all of the students became chefs to create an amazing soup!  Ingredients were added by each child, and in between we performed the "Chop, Chop, Chippety Chop" chant.   They even had time to start a new chant called "Loose Tooth."

The second grade students played the "Grizzly Bear" game that we taught them last week.  The song explores various dynamics, including piano and forte.  It's tricky to sing loud without screaming, but the students did a lovely job!  In the game, one student was a grizzly bear, and one student was a hunter. The hunter tried to wake up the bear while singing, and the bear had to guess who it was!  It was fun to identify our classmates by their singing voices. The other activity we did this week was "Ickle Ockle." One person was the "Ickle Ockle" and had to give another friend a "high five" after the song ended. The other students have to find another friend to give a "high five" too. The last student without a partner becomes the new "Ickle Ockle."

The third graders did their Thread Follows the Needle dance in groups of 6.  Check out our video below!

Then we sang "Four White Horses," a traditional Caribbean folk tune with awesome steel drum accompaniment!  This song is in a musical style called calypso.  Once the song was mastered, we added a fun clapping routine.  Quartets of students clap the hands of the person across from them (either high or low) then clap the hands of their neighbors to the sides.  The routine repeats with regular hand claps in between each move, and alternating between high and low.   It is a little tough to get the hang of it, so we will continue this activity next week!

The fourth grade students learned a cup game this week.  It is a rhythmic cup passing routine which has been around for generations! (Most recently, you may recognize it from the movie Pitch Perfect). Next week we will change the tempo and do variations of the routine.

Fifth grade students reviewed the cup routine from last year, then performed it while singing "I've Been to Harlem." It is very challenging to sing while doing such a complicated task!  Especially since the rhythm of the song is quite different from the rhythm of the cup routine.  Next, they performed it while listening to Edward Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King."  It was so much fun since the tempo (speed) increases with each repetition! We used a traditional recording of the piece, as well as a heavy metal version!

In chorus, the students reviewed "Celebrations Around the World," then got started on their grade level pieces - "Gong Xi" for fifth grade and "Minka" for fourth.

The orchestra students have been doing wonderfully in their lessons, especially the fourth graders who are playing new instruments this year!

We hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Weekly Review 9/18 - 9/22

Hello, and happy Friday!

This week, the first graders learned the word solo - when someone performs alone.  First, we practiced different rhythm patterns as a group, and then some students were chosen to try it by themselves!  They did a great job!  We also played instruments this week.  The students learned about rest position and playing position (as well as a few creative positions!), then played our "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" game from last week with rhythm sticks.  The first graders loved singing "Welcome Back To School" again, and also started a new game called "Lucy Locket."  We will continue playing it next week!

The second grade students played Rhythm Telephone.  A 4 beat pattern (using du and du-de) was silently tapped out on someone's shoulder. Then, that person had to pass the pattern on to the next child's shoulder - and so on until all students have received the rhythm.   To make it more challenging, our eyes were closed!  We checked in with the last person in line to see if the pattern was the same as the one we gave at the beginning.  It was tricky and a lot of fun!  They also played a hiding game called "Closet Key, " which is similar to "Lucy Locket."  This game helped them practice singing piano (quietly) and forte (loudly).  They started a new game called "Grizzly Bear," which we will continue playing next week.

The third graders started learning how to decode rhythm patterns this week.  They would hear a pattern played on the drum, then would repeat the pattern back to the teacher with rhythm syllables (du and du-de).  They also reviewed "Tideo," and did the dance once more with a challenging twist.  It was super tricky! We then started a new folk dance called "The Thread Follows the Needle."  In the activity one student is a needle, another student is a knot, and the rest form a line as the thread. As they sing the song and perform the dance, they end up making "cross stitches" with their hands, like magic!

The fourth and fifth graders did similar activities during general music, using different songs.  The fourth grade played with "Rocky Mountain," and fifth used "Sansa Kroma." They played a stick passing game and students were eliminated each round until we had a winner!  They had to pass on the steady even beat, and hopefully did not end the song holding the Red Stick of Doom! :)

In chorus, we did our stretches and sang a new warm-up song (along to a fun musical recording!).  Then, the students started to rehearse one of their songs for the winter concert called "Celebrations Around the World."

We hope you have an amazing weekend!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Weekly Review 9/11 - 9/15

Welcome back to school! We made it through our first full week - congratulations to everyone!

We hope you and your family had a fun and relaxing summer. Today, we sent home the following letter:

Dear Parents/Guardians:

As our school year begins, we would like to welcome you and your family into the music community here at Memorial Elementary School. The lifelong benefits your child will obtain through music extend beyond the classroom and are transferable to every other academic subject. Below are the dates of our performances, showcasing some of  the skills that your child will develop throughout the year:

4th Grade Veteran’s Day Assembly - Monday, November 6, 2017 at 1:30 p.m.
4th/5th Grade Winter Concert - Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.
1st Grade Showcase - Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at 1:30 p.m.
4th/5th Grade Spring Concert -  TBD - We are waiting for the state testing window to be announced. This concert will be sometime in May at 7:00 p.m.  A letter will be sent home when this date is finalized, and it will be posted on our blog.
2nd Grade Memorial Day Assembly - Friday, May 25, 2018 at 10:00 a.m.
3rd Grade Recorder and Violin Concert - Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at 8:30 a.m.

For all performance information, weekly lesson reviews, songs, games, and classroom photos/videos you can visit our Memorial Music Blog:

Again, welcome to our musical family and we look forward to meeting you!

Musically Yours,
Memorial Music Department:
Mrs. Rzasa
Mrs. Niu
Mr. Napierkowski
Mrs. Cline


The first graders are so excited to have music class this year! We discussed the rules and fun things like BRAVO and Music Superhero, and did a great activity called "Jump Jim Joe." It is a movement game where students sing and pick a different partner each time for the dance. The students also sang or spoke their name as a solo in our "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" activity and chant! We started another new song this week called "Welcome Back," which helps students explore musical opposites: fast vs. slow, and loud vs. quiet.

Can you believe that our second grade students were jump roping in music this week? We learned a a fun song called the "Skipping Rope Song." Each round, we sang a different child's name as they jumped over the rope (making sure to stay with the steady, even beat!).

The second graders also played a game similar to "Lucy Locket" called "I Have Lost My Closet Key." We will continue the game next week!

In third grade, the students played along with one of my favorite beginning of the year activities- "Hey Children."  The students learned the song first, followed by a clapping routine.  Once the routine was mastered, the clapping routine was transferred to the rhythm sticks so we could play the name game!  It was a lot of fun. They also started a great circle dance called "Tideo" - we will finish this next week.

The fourth grade students learned a song called, "Rocky Mountain."  This song explores high and low voices, and was a bit tricky at first!  The song has a hand routine that goes along with it- we did the routine in whole notes (4 beats), half notes (2 beats), quarter notes (1 beat) and eighth notes (1/2 beat).  For the second class this week, we were able to use "drums" (recycled water jugs) instead of our laps.  EVERY student had a drum to play!  It was fun to play and sing at the same time.

In fifth grade, we sang an African song called "Sansa Kroma."  Ask your 5th grader about the meaning of the song!  Once we learned all of the words, we did a drumming activity similar to the one the fourth graders did with their song. It was a blast (and quite loud)!

We hope you have an amazing weekend!