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

Friday, January 26, 2018

Weekly Review 1/22 - 1/26

The first grade students are really enjoying their Peter and the Wolf Unit!  This week, they worked on a listening map.  Each part of the map included a fun activity, such as drawing the different characters and identifying different instruments. They really enjoyed listening to the story, narrated by Patrick Stewart, as well as the beautiful music written by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev!

The second graders have been continuing their instrument family unit. This week, we focused on the woodwind and brass families.

Common woodwind instruments:

  • Flute
  • Clarinet
  • Saxaphone
  • Oboe
  • Bassoon
  • Recorder
Common brass instruments:
  • Trumpet
  • Trombone
  • French Horn
  • Tuba

The third grade students took a practice test to help them prepare for their music notation test next week.  They did such a great job!  Most students won't even need to study :) For students who wanted just a little extra practice with notation were able to come to extra help at recess.  Next week will be exciting since we will be getting the recorders!!

This morning we went on a field trip to see the Lexington Symphony perform.  Click HERE for the blog post and lots of photos!

The fourth and fifth graders enjoyed performing chords on the tone chimes along with a famous song.  Fourth grade students played the accompaniment to "Auld Lang Syne," and the fifth graders rocked out to "Take On Me."  Check out their videos below!

In chorus, the students started learning songs for their spring concert.  The theme is "What a Wonderful World." Of course, one of their pieces is a song by the same name, made famous by Louis Armstrong.  Armstrong is a legendary jazz trumpet player and singer, and his nickname is "Satchmo!"

Lexington Symphony Field Trip!

Wow!  The third graders had an awesome time this morning on their field trip!  We visited the amazing Cary Hall to see the Lexington Symphony perform!

The student saw a few familiar faces in the orchestra - from when the symphony's quartet visited Memorial.

The students were taken on a musical journey through time, starting in the year 1000.  Music was primarily vocal (sung by voice) until the Renaissance, when recorders and drums were popular.  Little by little, instruments were added...

 ...such as violin, viola, cello and bass (very common in the Baroque period).

In the late Baroque and Classical periods, concertos were performed!  The students heard a gorgeous concerto movement by a young violinist.  In addition, more wind, brass, and percussion instruments were added to the ensemble!

Pretty soon, everyone was on stage, and the students were introduced to some lesser-known (but still important!) instruments such as as the contrabassoon, bass clarinet, and English horn.

By the end of the concert, there was a full modern symphony orchestra on stage!  As a finale, they played a medley of Star Wars, composed by John Williams.  This was certainly a favorite!

Big thanks to the parents who volunteered to chaperone- we hope you had fun too!

If your child is in third grade (or if you know a third grader), ask them about their favorite part of the concert!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Weekly Review 1/15-1/19

In first grade students learned a fun little song with movements called, "A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea," Each time we sang the song, we replaced the word "sea" with hands, chop, knee, toe, and Oo- was- she was." We came up with movements to reflect those words. We also began our  "Peter and the Wolf" unit which is a story and musical piece by the Russian composer.  We read the book and learned about the different characters and the instruments they represented. Next week, we will begin a listening map.

Here is list of all the character in the fairytale. Each character in the story represents an instrument and has a musical theme:

The second graders learned two new instrument families this week:  the percussion family and the  string family.

Common Percussion Family Instruments:
Snare Drum
Bass Drum
Timpani/Kettle Drums

Common String Family Instruments:
Double Bass

Next Friday, Jan. 26th, our third grade students will take a field trip to Carey Hall to watch the Lexington Symphony perform. We will leave at 9:15am and will be back by 11:30am. Dressing up is highly encouraged! We will also have our recorder test on Tuesday, Jan. 30th for Mrs. Cyr and Mrs Ferullo's class and Wednesday, Jan. 31st for Mrs. Keating and Mrs. Kip's class. Don't forget to study! Everything that you need to know is on the study guide!

Our fourth graders practiced playing chordal accompaniments to, "Auld Lang Syne" while the fifth grade students practiced playing chordal accompaniments to the famous 80's hit, "Take On Me." Here is a video of Mrs. Weinberg's class performing, "Auld Lang Syne."

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Orchestra Rocks!

I want to congratulate the fourth and fifth grade orchestra on an amazing performance at last month's winter concert!  (Yes, this post is quite belated...sorry!)

To celebrate their hard work, we had a lunch group upstairs in the conference room. We listened to music, chatted, and enjoyed our lunch together.  I can't wait until our next lunch party after the spring concert this May!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Weekly Review 1/08 - 1/12

Happy Friday!

This week in music, the first graders learned a silly movement chant called "Hands, Hands." We warmed up our cold bodies by moving just one body part at a time. I think we could all agree that our favorite was singing and moving our tongue. We also sang a winter song called "I Have a Little Snowman."  It explores movement and pitch in a scale.  As the song continues, the pitch of the song rises, and when the snowman melts the pitch returns back to the starting note (do).  They also learned a fun song and game called, "Doggie, Doggie." One student played the part of the dog who was sleeping in the middle of the room while another student distributed the bone to one person in the room as the class sang the song. Whoever had the bone on the phrase, "Who stole the bone?" got to sing the solo part of "I stole the bone!" It was so fun to see students guessing who they thought had the bone.

Second grade students reviewed a musical term from last year: tempo.  Tempo is the speed of a piece of music. We practiced listening and moving to various tempos with a song called "Freight Train." Check out their trains in the photo below! Students also had a chance to compose a "tempo story." The class chose a topic, then as each part of the story was added, students determined its tempo: adagio, andante, or allegro (slow, medium, or fast).  Then, we "performed" the story on percussion instruments, following the changing tempos.  It was so much fun! 

The third graders have been reviewing instruments and instrument families to prepare for their visit from the Lexington Symphony Orchestra.  We played a really fun game of "Instrument Family Four Corners."  We assigned these families to each corner of the room: Percussion, String, Woodwind, and Brass.  Then, we announced an instrument - students had to determine which family it belonged to, then quickly travel to the appropriate corner.  To extend the activity, we then played a recording of an instrument.  The students then needed to figure out what instrument they were listening to before moving to the correct corner.  Some were very tricky!

On Thursday, four members of the Lexington Symphony came to Memorial to talk to the students about their instruments and what it's like to be in an orchestra! These four talented musicians (Liz, Rebecca, Bill, and Jobey) will be performing during the students' field trip on the 26th!  We can't wait to go!

The fourth and fifth grade students started a new unit - chords!  A chord (unlike a pitch or interval) is a group of three or more pitches played at the same time.  There are MANY different chords in the music world, but we focused on chords with three or four notes.  We explored the different tonalities that the chords can possess, and a process for building a chord that will sound good every time!  Once everyone knew how to build a chord, we used the classroom floor staff to learn how to notate and label them.

The fourth graders also learned a song for the New Year, "Auld Lang Syne" (a Scottish tune that is typically heard right after the ball drops in Times Square!).  Next week, we will be adding a chordal accompaniment to the song using the tone chimes.

Tone chimes:

The fifth grade students will get to play chords along with a fun song from the 1980s by a Norwegian'll have to wait until next week to find out what it is!