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

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Weekly Review 12/17-12/21

This is our last week of school for 2018. Here is what we did this week:

Congratulations to our first grade students! They did a wonderful job performing at their winter showcase. Thank you to all who came to the performance. Here are some pictures:

To complete our Nutcracker unit, our second grade students learned a fun rhythm stick routine to the Trepak.  They reviewed rhythm notation which included half notes and whole notes.

Third grade students completed mad libs to fun winter tunes. They reviewed parts of speech- verb, noun, and adjective.   Without seeing the song first, students selected words and inserted them into the song.  We also learned a fun dance called the Jingle Bell Mixer.  Here is Mrs. Keating and Mrs. Kipp's class performing the dance:

The fourth and fifth graders celebrated the completion of their Winter Concert by enjoying some time outside!

We hope you all have a fun and relaxing winter break. May 2019 bring you all much love, peace, prosperity and good health!

Cheers to 2019!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Weekly Review 12/10 - 12/14

Happy Friday!

Before we get to the weekly review, we want to congratulate the fourth and fifth grade students on a fabulous performance at their winter concert! We are so proud of all of your hard work!

The first graders have been preparing for their own performance, which will be next Wednesday for the parents of first grade students. We will take you on a musical journey from September through December so you can learn a little bit more about what the first graders do in class. We hope to see you there!

The second graders finished watching the Nutcracker Ballet, performed by the New York City Ballet. The students were interested to learn about the strength and athleticism that dancing requires - especially for pointe!

The third grade students reviewed the parts of the staff as well as the line and space notes.  Then they played a fun staff games to reinforce what they have learned. The game is played on the floor staff, and it's called, "On Your Mark, Get Set, Notate!" They can't wait to start learning the recorder in February!

The fourth and fifth grade students watched their performance from Wednesday evening for self-assessment purposes. Here are a few photos from orchestra in the evening, and chorus during the morning's show!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Weekly Review 12/3-12/7

We have been really busy getting ready for our 4th and 5th Grade Winter Concert and our 1st grade Winter Showcase. Here is what we did in music this week:

First grade students are really excited to show you all what they have been learning in music this year. They are busy rehearsing for their first music performance. It will be on Wednesday, Dec. 19th @ 1:30pm.  A letter should have gone home last week. They 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. We also learned a fun song called My Red Sled for our showcase.

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 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, repeat sign , and labeled the measures.  The students did a wonderful job drawing and labeling these musical items. Here are some pictures:

We also learned a fun song to help the students remember the names of the line and space notes on the music staff.  Feel free to ask your child to sing it to you.

Our fourth and fifth grade students are working really hard for their concert on Wednesday, Dec. 12th at 6:00pm.  The students are really excited ! We have one more rehearsal left on Tuesday and then it is showtime!! You all should have a received a letter or a text from Remind Me. If you have not, here is the letter that we sent home:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

The music department at Memorial presents:

Once Upon a Winter
Wednesday, Dec. 12th, 2018
6:00 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- Students may wear regular school clothes in the daytime- but please no t-shirts with logos or words.
    • Evening- Solid white tops (no large, visible logos) with black bottoms and dark shoes. Students may also wear colorful festive winter accessories.

Note:  This is a performance, so all students should look nice.  We do not want jeans, sweatpants, or sports gear. Thank you!

  • Call Times:
  • Band students will report to the music room at 5:40 p.m.
  • String students will report to the lesson room at 5:40 p.m.
  • Chorus students who do not play an instrument will report to the kindergarten wing at 5:50 p.m.

  • 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 and instrumental skills in our ensembles!  (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

Have a wonderful weekend and we hope to see many of you at our Winter Concert on Wednesday evening at 6pm!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Weekly Review 10/29-11/2

We can't believe it is already November. Here is what we did in music this week......

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. Here is Mrs. Burnham's class performing, "Thump, Thump, Thump!"

The second graders had so much fun playing "A Funny Little Lady" that we played it again this week.  We read a book, "Old Wind," and used various percussion instruments to create sound effects.  Here are the performances:

In third grade, the students repeated their "Funeral March of a Marionette" activity from last week and played a game called, "Pass the Broomstick" that reinforces steady beat. The song is in minor to prepare for this, they sang a minor scale. Rhythm sticks were given to each student to represent broomsticks. Then they learned how to pass a rhythm stick along to the steady beat.  On the last beat of the song, whoever had one more more sticks were out.

Fourth graders have finished preparing for the Veteran's Day Assembly.  The assembly is this Thursday, November 8th at 1:30 p.m.  Due to space limitations, ONLY the parents of fourth graders may attend.  As a reminder, if you would like your child to be dismissed with you, they must send in a note that day. The front office is VERY strict about this policy. Thank you in advance!

The fifth graders really enjoyed a unique listening activity this week.  They followed a listening map for "Danse Macabre" by Camille Saint-Saens.   It's based off of a poem by Henri Cazalis and features a violin soloist.  Mrs. Rzasa played some of the themes on my violin so they could find them as we listened to the song.

Have a wonderful LONG weekend with your children!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Weekly Review 10/22 - 10/26

This week in music, all students sang the refrain to a silly story called The Tailor and the Mouse, sung to them by Mrs. Niu and Mrs. Rzasa. It is a folk song from over 300 years ago!

The first grade students added silly movements to "Skeleton John," with the help of our plastic skeleton dancer! Some also had a chance to move John themselves or sing solos. It was so much fun! We reviewed "The Bats Are All Asleep" too. Check out Mrs. Farrell's class singing it, complete with decrescendos:

They also helped create a spooky story to accompany the song "Thump, Thump, Thump!" We will add hand percussion instruments to this song next week!

The second grade students sang a cute song called, "The Funny Little Lady." After they successfully learned the song, they played a game where one student closed their eyes and sat in front of an imaginary door. Their job was to guess who the soloist was when a particular part of the song was sung. They also reviewed "Come and Follow Me" (along with the hand routine), and sang it as a two part round. Maybe next week we will try it as a three part round!

The third graders finished the song "9 Lives" from last week. Two different accompaniment parts were then added to the song on the Orff instruments. One was a simple ostinato, which was a repeated pattern alternating between the D and A bars. The other was a scale pattern, but skipping over the B bar. They also listened to "Funeral March of a Marionette," an amazing piece by French composer Charles Gounod.  (Some adults may recognize the tune as the theme to Alfred Hitchcock Presents). A few volunteers were able to manipulate a skeleton marionette as we listened. For their last activity of the week, the students learned a song called "Pass the Broomstick." Next week they will play a fun stick passing game as they sing!

In fourth grade, the students sang the partner songs "Black and Gold" and "Trick or Treat."  They sounded SO cool when sung at the same time!  We also rehearsed our national anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner," which will be sung at the Veteran's Day Assembly!

The fifth graders completed the fun song, "Halloween Night," which they started last week. Everyone had a chance to play the Orff instruments, the hand percussion instruments, and act out a graveyard scene. They also listened to an interesting piece of music by a composer named Henry Cowell. It is called "The Banshee," and the students tried to guess what instrument/s was/were featured. Ask your child to teach you about this has a surprising answer!

In chorus, the students worked on their grade level pieces and ran through the two combined songs. We can't wait for you to hear them perform in December!

We hope you have an amazing weekend!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Weekly Review 10/15-10/19

Friday is here again! An opportunity to rest, play and explore. Here is what we did in music this week:

As we are continuing to connect music and literature, our students listened and participated in the song book, " I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves." 

First grade students reviewed the following rhythms: quarter note (du), eighth note pair (du-de) and a quarter rest. Students took turns writing a four beat pattern for the class to clap. Other students represented the different rhythms. Here is a picture of Mrs. Gearin's class creating a four beat rhythm:

Students had so much fun playing "Looking for Dracula" that we repeated this activity again:

We also learned a song in a minor tonality called, "Have You Seen the Skeleton of John."

Our second grade students continued to learn more about our composer Beethoven by listening to "Fur Elise and performing their own dance with their partner. Students first listened to the composition with their eyes close and had to describe the music. Each student performed their own interpretation of the song with their partner. One student was the leader and the other student mirrored the movement of the leader. Partners came up with their own "secret code" and when the "secret code" was performed by the leader, the other student became the leader. It was so much fun!

Here are two students from Nelson's class:

They also learned a challenging new song called, "Come and Follow Me."  Each phrase is sung a little bit higher than the last.  Once the students were comfortable with the song, we added the body percussion!

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.  Each student had the opportunity to play a simple melody on the xylophone, metallophone, or glockenspiel

Our fourth grade students continued to rehearse their Veteran's Day music. The assembly will be on Thursday, Nov. 8th at 1:30pm. We will be sending out a notice this week. We also began to sing a fall song called, "Black and Gold."

The fifth grade students had so much fun 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.

Whatever you do this weekend, we hope you make some time with your amazing children. We are proud to know them!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Weekly Review 10/08 - 10/12

Happy Friday!

This week in music, all students listened to the song/book, "The Crabfish." They learned the refrain to the song, and sung it during the appropriate times in the book.

The first graders finished their Apple Tree game from last week, so that all students had a turn to be the tree. We talked about beat, and found our heartbeats with our hands. After a bit of brisk movement, we checked our heartbeats again - and they were faster! Although the tempo of the beat can change, it will stay consistent and predictable throughout the song. They figured out how many beats were in the chant, "I Think Music's Neat," and performed it at different tempos to confirm that it stayed the same. We also did one of the students' favorite autumn movement activities called "Looking for Dracula."

The second grade students reviewed a fun movement song from last year called "A Sailor Went to Sea." Then, we talked about a composer named Ludwig van Beethoven. He wrote many recognizable pieces of music, including his Fifth Symphony, Für Elise, and Ode to Joy (from the Ninth Symphony). We watched a cartoon which shows what his life was like, from a young man until he passed away. It was incredible to learn that he composed many pieces as he was going deaf. So remarkable!

The third graders played another round of Dipidu, a singing game which helps them feel the differences between 2 and 3 in music. They also learned about Beethoven, and filled in a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast two different pieces by Beethoven: Sonata in G and Moonlight Sonata. We asked the students to focus on the mood, tempo, dynamics, rhythm, pitch, tonality, instrumentation, and anything else that they could think of.  Of course, some students may interpret the two pieces differently, and that's okay!  However, some qualities (such as instrumentation and tonality), are concrete and not open for interpretation. They then reviewed rhythms and learned a new one - sixteenth notes!

The fourth graders worked on their Veteran's Day music. Each class is going to be singing a different branch of the military, and they will all sing the music for the Coast Guard (since there are five branches and only four classes!). Then, they did a silly movement activity called "Hand, Elbow, Ankle." So much fun!

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 mallets properly on a C Major scale. We also learned two ostinato parts of the song. Next week, we will add additional instrumental parts to the song, and act out a fun scene!

In chorus, the students finished "Hot Chocolate," and continued to rehearse "First Footprints." We discussed meter changes, since First Footprints switches between 4/4 and 3/4 time. Next week, we will start working on their grade level featured songs.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Weekly Review- 10/1-10/5

We can't believe it is October already! Here is what we did in music this week:

This week, the first graders reviewed the Loose Tooth chant, then switched their body percussion movement to hand percussion accompaniment!
  • "Loose Tooth" clapping = hand drum
  • "Wiggly Jiggly" patting = guiro
  • "Thread," Bed," "Head" snapping = triangle
Here is Mrs. Gearin's class performing, "Loose Tooth"

They also learned a new song called, "Apple Tree" to celebrate the autumn season.  One student was the apple tree, and the other students held hands as they walked past him/her.  At the end of the song, each apple tree dropped a folded bandana (the apple) onto the head of one of the students!  That student became the new apple tree, and the song was sung again! We will continue to play this game next week.

The second graders extended their activity with the song "I'm a Nut" by adding instruments (rhythm sticks) and composing new verses.  Below are some of the lyrics they came up with:

Please visit I'm a Nut  to watch videos of some of the students singing their verses!

Third grade students had so much fun playing, "Four White Horses" that we performed the clapping routine again. In third grade, the students sang a song from Uganda called Dipidu.  There is an A section and a B section, each with a different meter!  The A section is in 3, and the B section is in 2.  To help feel this change, we added movement.   Then, we played an elimination game along with the song - it was awesome!  The third graders also completed Venn Diagram to compare and contrast two pieces by Beethoven:  Sonata in G and Moonlight Sonata.

Our fourth grade students continued playing the cup game. We played different variations of the cup routine. Here is Mrs. Gonzalez performing the routine with their eyes closed.

The fifth graders reviewed the cup song"I've Been to Harlem." It does not have the same rhythm as the cup routine, so it can be a little tricky to do at the same time.  Mrs. Burns and Ms. Conceison's class had the opportunity to try the funcup routine to accompany Edward Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King.  Here is Mr Rabazzi's and Mrs. Warford's class performing the cup routine with their eyes closed:

In chorus, both grade levels continued learning "Hot Chocolate" and "The First Footprints." Here is Mrs. Burns and Mr. Rabazzi's class singing their vocal warm ups:

We hope you all have wonderful long weekend!!!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

I'm a Nut Compositions

The second graders recently learned a song called "I'm a Nut." They extended the activity by adding instruments (rhythm sticks), and composing new verses.  Below are some of the students singing the lyrics they wrote!

Here is Mrs. Nelson's Class:

Here is Mrs. Langone's Class:

This is Ms. McLaughlin:

Friday, September 28, 2018

Weekly Review 9/24 - 9/28

This week in music, the first grade students reviewed their new rhythm syllables, du and du-de. They played Poison Pattern, a game to work on their rhythms AND listening skills. Then, we talked about what makes a chant different from a song. In a chant the students use their speaking voices, and they use their singing voices for a song. We finished off the week's lessons with a chant called "Loose Tooth." Three body percussion parts accompanied some of the words - "loose tooth" (two claps), "wiggly jiggly" (pats on your knees), and "thread," "head," "bed" (snaps). We extended the activity by taking out these words and only using the assigned body percussion when we sang these words in our heads. Lastly, we transferred the body percussion to the hand drum, guiro, and triangle.

The second graders competed in Rhythm Telephone, a game to reinforce steady beat and rhythm. Then, they finished their Ickle Ockle game from last week. It was so much fun! The students also participated in another activity called "Old King Glory" - as they sing the "king" taps on 3 students, and the third one gets to be the new king (or queen!). Lastly, they learned "I'm a Nut" and added a rhythm stick part. Next week, they will compose their own verses!

The third graders reviewed quarter notes, eighth note pairs, and rests - then they practiced rhythm flash cards. We also sang "Four White Horses," a traditional Caribbean folk tune with awesome steel drum accompaniment! 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!

Today was picture day, so Mrs. Ferullo's students took a few photos in music class to show off their nice outfits!

And here is a video I forgot to post last week of the students playing "Tideo."

The fourth grade students worked more on their cup came this week! It was fun to vary the tempo, and try silly things like performing with eyes closed. We will play a bit more next week.

The fifth grade students reviewed last year's cup game, and added another element - singing. The song they paired it with is called "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 week, they will learn a challenging new cup routine to accompany Edward Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King.

In chorus, the students learned how to read a choral score, then started to rehearse their songs for this year's winter concert. Two of our combined songs are Hot Chocolate and First Footsteps. We will continue these next week!

Have a wonderful weekend :)

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Weekly Review 9/17-9/21

Fall is just around the corner. Here is what we did in music this week.....

First grade learned their first two solfege tones:  so and mi.  We tossed around a ball to help us practice singing those pitches. When the ball was tossed in the air everyone sang "so," and once it was caught everyone sang "mi."  They also finished their "Lucy Locket" game from last week.  Then we made soup for our home room teachers.  All were chefs and participating in making the soup by adding their own ingredients.  As each child added an ingredient, we performed the "Chop, Chop, Chippety Chop" chant. 

The second grade students continued to play the "Grizzly Bear" game to reinforce the dynamics-  piano and forte.  We also played "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."

Our third grade students had so much fun performing "Tideo" last week that we decided to play the game again. Here is a video and picture of Mrs. Cyr and Mrs. Ferullo's class:

We also finished the  "Thread Follows the Needle" song and activity that they started last week.  The class was lined up in two rows, and each row had a child designated as the needle, a child as the knot, and the rest all held hands to make up the thread!  The needle led the thread in and out (and under the arms of their classmates) to create cross stitches as they sang!  It was so much fun!   In addition, we started to learn an awesome calypso song called "Four White Horses." It is a 3rd grade favorite! Next week we will learn the hand routine.

The fourth and fifth graders both played a stick game using the songs that they learned last week.  The fourth grade sang "Rocky Mountain," and fifth sang "Sansa Kroma." They played a stick passing game and students were eliminated each round until we had a winner!  They had to the stick on a steady even beat. We also extended the game but adding different color sticks to the game. If a student received a red stick, they were out. If they received a green stick, the person to the right of them was out. We had so much fun playing this game!

It was also our first week of chorus. We discussed our theme of Music and Literature and listened to the song to see if we could figure out what book it was from.

We hope you stay warm and happy first day of fall!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Weekly Review 9/17 - 9/21

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

The first graders are so excited to have music class this year! We discussed the rules and fun things like BRAVO and Music Superhero. 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. Then, students learned about "Lucy Locket," and started a new game to practice singing loud and quiet.

Can you believe that our second grade students were jump roping in music last week and 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!). During their second music class, they played a fun game called "Grizzly Bear."

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. Lastly, there was some friendly competition between classes as they played Rhythm Telephone.

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). Then, we used hand drums and bongos instead of our laps.  EVERY student had a drum to play! It was fun to play and sing at the same time. After they finished playing the drums, we started a stick passing game to the same song.

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)! They also learned a stick passing game which we will continue next week!

We hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Orchestra Star Wars Project & Lunch Party Photos

After our spring concert in early May, the orchestra got started on a fun project. First, they spent a few weeks learning an arrangement of music from Star Wars.

Then, our lesson room transformed into a recording studio! It was so much fun to record them playing, and a great way to document all of their progress on their instruments. The following week was spent planning our video, and then it was time to shoot!

One full orchestra rehearsal and a day of lessons were spent filming on stage and in the lesson room. We even got to borrow the green screen from the library!

Here's their completed project:

The students were able to watch the video yesterday at our annual end of year lunch party. Then, we headed outside to eat in the sun and play on the playground. It was such a fantastic day!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

2nd Grade Musical Showcase

*Please check back to this post - we will be updating it all week with photos and videos from the Musical Showcase!

3rd Grade Musical Showcase

*Please check back to this post - we will be updating it all week with photos and videos from the Musical Showcase!