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

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Weekly Review 12/9-12/13

We can't believe 2019 is coming to an end soon. Here is what we did in music this week:

Our first grade students have been working really hard to prepare for their Winter Showcase on Wednesday, Dec. 18th at 1:30pm. Incase you have not received the invitation, here it is:

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We would like to invite you and your family to our annual First Grade Winter Showcase on Wednesday, December 18th at 1:30 p.m. in the Cafetorium.  

We look forward to seeing you there!

Mrs. Niu and Mrs. Rzasa
Music Specialists

**If you would like to dismiss your child after the assembly, please send a note to the office. 

Second graders have been studying about the famous ballet, "The Nutcracker."
They watched, The Nutcracker movie 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 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!

Congratulations to all our 4th and 5th grade students on a wonderful Winter Concert! You all worked very hard and should be proud of yourselves!

Have a wonderful weekend and stay dry!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Weekly Review 12/2 - 12/6

We hope you had a fun and safe snow day this week!

The first graders are really excited to show you what they have been learning in music this year! They are busy rehearsing for their first music performance. It will be on Wednesday, Dec. 18th @ 1:30pm.  A letter with details went home earlier this week. They learned the musical terms 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 get REpeated at least more than once. We also learned a fun song called "Rock and Roll Snowman" for our showcase.

The second grade students learned about our new composer for December, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. He is a Russian composer who wrote The Nutcracker.   We reviewed the March (a song from The Nutcracker that they danced to in first grade).  Each student listened carefully to the different themes in the song and moved like soldiers, puppets, and mice!  Then, they learned a brand new dance for the Trepak.  The students even danced with scarves!

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:

The fourth and fifth graders had their first two rehearsals on stage, and did such an amazing job! We can't wait for you to hear them perform on Wednesday, December 11th at 6 pm!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Weekly Review 11/18-11/22

First grade students are beginning to prepare for their Winter Showcase on Wednesday, December 18th at 1:30pm. Mark your calendars! Students reviewed various rhythm notations- du, du-de, and rest. We played a Turkey Tango game which reinforced rhythm reading.

The second grade students learned a song called, "Five Fat Turkeys." This song reinforced the musical terms- melody and ostinato.  A melody is a "sweet succession of arrangement of sounds" and an ostinato is a repeated musical phrase.  We used Boomwhackers as a percussion accompaniment. 
Students also performed the Tango.

Third grade students learned about verse and refrain form while singing a hilarious song called "The Turkey Shot Out of the Oven"(to the tune of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean").  There are 5 verses in this song, and each was assigned to a different group of students. Here are performances from Mrs. Kip and Mrs. Ferullo's class:

Our fourth and fifth grade students are in full concert rehearsal mode now. We took a little break and performed songs on the Boomwhacker. The students had so much fun!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Weekly Review 11/14 - 11/15

Well, this was a short week, wasn't it? That doesn't mean we weren't busy in the music room!

The first grade students continued the fun "Bluebird, Bluebird" game from last week!  Different students had the opportunity to pretend they were bluebirds while the class sang.  We reinforced high voice and low voice during "oh, Johnny aren't you tired?" Next, we read Over the River and Through the Woods, then sang the song.  As an added treat, next week the students will learn some sign language to perform on the words "over," "through," "grandfather," "horse," "sleigh," "white," "snow," "wind," "stings," "bites," and "go."

The second graders played a new-to-them instrument, the Boomwhackers! Boomwhackers are a set of colorful plastic tubes that produce a different pitch when struck.
The longest tube (with the lowest pitch) is C, and then the pitches ascend through the musical diatonic scale up to the smallest tube, high C.  We took turns playing the Boomwhackers, then even played some familiar songs such as "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star!"

The third graders also had some Boomwhacker fun this week! They performed slightly more advanced music than the second graders, and it was so much fun! They even did a few Boomwhacker Playalongs, which are videos that can be found on YouTube. Each one has a different accompaniment, and the students provide the melody on the Boomwhackers when prompted!

The fourth and fifth graders did a wonderful job in their chorus rehearsals. Some even auditioned for spoken and singing solos! We are so proud of how far they have come, and cannot wait for our winter concert next month!

We hope you have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Weekly Review 11/4-11/8

Congratulations to our 4th grade students who sang beautifully at our Veteran's Day Assembly on Thursday.

First grade students learned about high and low sounds. The students learned that they are constantly surrounded by varying pitches. In order to reinforce high and low sounds in music, we played a fun game called, "Bluebird." Students were instructed to stand in a circle, holding hands with their hands up. One student was the bird and would fly in and out of the windows (represented by the students) during the song. On the words, "Oh Johnny aren't you tired," students would put their hand down (closing the windows) and demonstrating that they understood high to low pitch. The goal of the game was to trap the bird inside the house.

Our second grade students performed an obstinate accompaniment to the song Bony Legs. Students played the notes E and B separately, the two notes together, then learned a challenging accompaniment- E-B-E-B. 

Third grade students also practiced their Orff instrument skills by playing an accompaniment to a fall song called, "Pumpkins Are Ripe." This song also reinforced hearing songs in minor, which we learned in the month of October. 

Our fourth grade students were busy practicing for the Veteran's Day Assembly. Now that is it over, we will finish up Black and Gold next week.

Fifth grade students learned about the Danse Macabre by Camille Saint Saens. It is a tone poem for orchestra but in 1874, Saint Saens replaced the vocal line with a solo violin line. We listened to Mrs. Rzasa perform the violin solo part and followed a listening map.

Thank you to all our Veteran's for serving our country! Have a wonderful LONG weekend! See you all on Thursday!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Weekly Review 10/28 - 11/1

We had an amazing week in music!

The first graders learned a song and played a game called "Flap and Fly." Bats are nocturnal mammals, which means they sleep in the daytime and are awake at night. The students decorated bats while listening to music, then played the game! The 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.

The second graders had a D.A.R.E presentation with Officer Shepard for their first music class. In their send class this week, they learned a fun song called "Witches' Brew!" The song features a fun refrain with silly dance moves, and they loved singing it over and over during the song! The verses included lyrics with gross "ingredients" to put into the witches' brew!

The third grade students read a story called The 13 Days of Halloween...suspiciously similar to the 12 Days of Christmas - only spooky!  We sang the song in minor tonality, and some students helped us out by holding up posters for each day.  Our favorite parts: 5 cooked worms, and the evil laugh at the end!

The fourth graders continued to rehearse for their Veterans Day Assembly. We hope to see the family and friends of the fourth grade students on Thursday, November 7th at 1:30! They also sang the partner songs "Black and Gold" and "Trick or Treat."  They sounded SO cool when sung at the same time! Then, they played a short ostinato to accompany the songs on the metallophones and xylophones.

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!

We hope you had a fantastic weekend!

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Weekly Review 10/21-10/25

This week, the first graders learned a chant called "I Think Music's Neat." Learning this chant  has helped the students realize that the number of beats in a song or chant stays the same- even if you perform it with a different tempo! The students also 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?"  

The second grade students read a story called "Old Wind."  There are many different characters in the story, and each was represented by a different instrument.  The students played the hand drum, sand blocks, ratchet, vibraslap, whip, glockenspiel, chimes, or made sound effects with their voices!
Here are their performances:

In third grade, the students listened to "Funeral March of a Marionette," by a French composer, Charles Gounod. A few students had the opportunity to move a skeleton marionette as we listened to the song. We also played a game called, "Pass the Broomstick" that reinforces steady beat. The song is in minor and 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 two or more more sticks were out.

Fourth graders have finished preparing for the Veteran's Day Assembly.  The assembly is this Thursday, November 7th 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 fourth grade students also finished learning the Bridge to Athlone dance.

Fifth grade students started to learn a song called "Halloween Night."  We discussed the song's tonality (minor), and reviewed how to read a musical score.  They had just enough time to learn two different xylophone parts, and we will continue playing next week.

Have a Spooktacular weekend!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Weekly Review 10/15 - 10/18

This week in music, the first graders sang a spooky song in minor tonality called "Ghost of John." The students danced around the room pretending they were ghosts as they sang. Next week, we will try singing this as a round! They also sang a call and response song, "The Bats are All Asleep," which helped demonstrate dynamics: piano, forte, crescendo, and decrescendo. In their second music class, they learned another call and response song called "Skin and Bones." It was funny AND spooky!

The second graders learned a fun October activity called, "A Funny Little Lady." After students 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 sang "Skeleton John" in unison, then as a round. Practicing simple part singing like this will help them when they get to chorus in fourth grade! In their second music class, they learned a song called "Witches' Stew," then added an activity with hand percussion sound effects. Students got a chance to pick various funny percussion instruments and played them on the words "Ew," "Ick," "Ugh," and "Yuck." The students really enjoyed it!

The 3rd grade students had a great time using the Orff instruments this week.  They first sang the minor scale (based on "la"), then learned "Nine Lives."  Of course, the song is about a cat so we had pictures of black cats all over our music!  They played an ostinato pattern on the instruments (xylophones, metallophones, and glockenspiels) to accompany the tune. They also played a game to go with the song "Ghost of John" which was taught to them by a fellow student! Thanks for teaching it to us, Dylan!

The fourth graders have started to prepare for their Veterans Day assembly.  They will be singing an Armed Forces medley, which goes through the songs for each of the five branches of the military.  Fourth grade parents: please mark your calendars for Thursday, November 7th at 1:30pm - we can't wait to see you there!

The fifth graders reviewed the Bridge of Athlone dance from last week. Here is a video of some of the students dancing! 

Then, they learned a new folk dance called The Boston Tea Party. It is a tricky dance inspired by the time of the Boston Tea Party, which took place in 1773. It was interesting to compare and contrast the Irish dance with the American one.

In chorus, the students continued to rehearse their music for the winter concert. Hope everyone had a great week and weekend! 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Weekly Review 10/7-10/11

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. Felton and Mrs. Burnham's class performing Loose Tooth:

We also played a fun moving activity called, "Looking for Dracula." Ask your first grader about this fun activity!

Our second grade students did many variations of Come and Follow Me including body percussion and singing the song in a two and three part round.

Students also continued listening and moving to the song: The Night on Bald Mountain.  Here is a video and pictures of students performing their dance:

We learned a fun October activity called, "A Funny Little Lady." After students 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.

The third graders completed their "Ding Dong" activity from last week, reinforcing our new rhythm (du-ta-de-ta, or sixteenth notes) on our classroom percussion instruments.

Students also learned 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.  Students had the opportunity to play a simple ostinato on the xylophone, metallophone, or glockenspiel. Next week, students will learn to play the melody on the Orff instruments.

The fourth graders started learning a new folk dance called "Bridge of Athlone."  They first found Ireland on the map, then talked about the history of that famous bridge.We will continue this dance next week.

Fifth grade students reviewed the "Bridge of Athlone" dance from last year. Next week, they will learn the Boston Tea Party Dance. 

Have a wonderful three day weekend!

Monday, October 7, 2019

Weekly Review 9/30 - 10/4

Last week in music, the first graders finished their Apple Tree song and game. It was so much fun! Then, they learned an echo song in minor tonality called "Oh My." The students practiced singing in a large group, in a duet, and as a solo!

So many of our first grade friends are beginning to loose their baby teeth, so we wanted to teach them a little chant called "Loose Tooth." This chant had body percussion parts for the following words: loose tooth - two claps, wiggly jiggly - alternating pats on your knees, and bed/head/thread - snaps. Next week we will transfer these body percussion movements to three different instruments!

The second grade students enjoyed working on a challenging song called "Come and Follow Me."  Each phrase is sung a little bit higher than the last, with one phrase ("singing together, as one!") completing each part. Once it is mastered, we will sing it in a round! Since it is October, we listened to a spooky piece of classical music by Mussorgsky called "Night on Bald Mountain." The students first listened to the composition with their eyes close and had to describe the music. Then, 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 it was performed by the leader, the other student became the leader. Next time, the class will have to guess the secret code for each pair!

In third grade, we played an elimination game with the song, "Dipidu" that we learned last week. Students had to find a new partner right after section B, and at must be someone that they have never been paired up with before. Then, the students reviewed rhythms in duple meter: quarter notes, eighth note pairs, and quarter rests. Next, they learned a new rhythm: sixteenth notes! They sang a song called "Ding Dong" to help reinforce each rhythmic value, and read the rhythms on the musical staff. To complete the activity, each rhythm was transferred to a different percussion instrument for the students to perform.

The fourth and fifth graders enjoyed practicing and performing their different cup games. In chorus, they reviewed their grade level featured songs, and started to learn one of their combined pieces.

And here are some photos of the fourth graders on their orchestra instruments!

Hope you had a great weekend!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Weekly Review 9/23-9/27

We can't believe it is already the last full week of September. Here is what we did in music:

First grade students learned their first two solfege tones:  sol and do.  For every pitch in music, there is a visual hand sign. The height that the hand sign rests is correlated to how high or how low the pitch is. We tossed around a ball to help us practice singing those pitches. When the ball was tossed in the air everyone sang "sol," and once it was caught everyone sang "do."  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.

Second grade students learned a fall song "I'm a Nut" and composed their own version. Here are two partner groups:

In third grade, we learned a traditional Caribbean folk tuned called, "Four White Horses." This song is in a musical style called calypso. Students thought that they heard a piano or a drum. They actually heard the steel drum! We talked about the steel drum and saw how it was played in a popular song.  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.

The fourth grade students learned a cup game this week.  It is a rhythmic cup passing routine which has been around for generation. Many of the students know 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. We will continue with this routine next week and learn one more cup routine!

We hope you are enjoying the lovely weather! Have a great weekend!