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

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: