Friday, October 31, 2008

"Ode to Joy" - 1st 4 measures (practice speed)

Third Graders -- here's a recording of the first line of "Ode to Joy" for you to practice with for next week.

Other Fourth Grade work from week 5

work by (top to bottom) Melissa, Eunice, Eryn, Stella

Fourth Grade Week 5 -- Rhythm Rainbow Notation

sample work by Ryan K.

This week as part of our developing understanding of meter we learned a Halloween chant by James Harding  -- "Friday the Thirteenth" -- which is in the totally sinister and tricky meter of 13/8.

We spent the rest of the time adapting their Rhythm Rainbow Puzzles into melodic pieces for the Orff instruments.  Last week's homework assignment was to create Rhythm Rainbow Puzzles -- rhythmic ostinati using notation puzzle pieces that the children colored and cut out. Try clapping out the patterns they came up with.

Homework -- don't eat too much candy.  Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Orff Ensemble performs Canon #1

Here's a recording from rehearsal today of one of the pieces the Orff ensemble will be performing at Culture Day -- a little canon by Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman from Music for Children Vol. I

Excellent rehearsal ensemble cats!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Halloween chant from Ms. Birdy's Class

Here's a spooky chant Ms. Birdy's class developed using beat substitution.  It is based on a cool lesson my professor from Cal State LA, Dr. Darlene Kretchmer, taught me this week.   There are two different rhythmic lines going on, but everybody ends up in the same place at the end.

Third Grade looks at American Indian Flutes

Third Grade Week 5 -- Beginning Beethoven

This week the third graders began work on "Ode To Joy."  We also continued our work on "Pentatonic Moon," a song that utilizes the American Indian scale.  I brought in some Indian flutes for the kids to examine.

The round things out in a Halloween mood we played a fun chanting game that taught note durations for half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes and quarter rests.  A wonderfully spooky experience!

Homework -- continue work on Pentatonic Moon and learn the first line of Ode to Joy.  Those of you who did not do your homework from last time -- developing your own sayings for the lines and spaces on the treble clef.  Ms. Caruso's class -- also do the first line of Jingle Bells.  Ms. Limb's class -- I look forward to reading your Indian compositions.

Recorder Ensemble Plays Live!

Sorry -- still no pictures yet, but I do have a recording of today's rehearsal.  Click on the play button to here the ensemble's rendition of "Bransle."  A very respectable job for the third session!

Ensemble cats -- listen to the recording carefully.  Can you find ways to improve your performance?  Let's talk about it next week.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fourth Grade Week 4 -- Meter in the Marketplace

This week the fourth graders learned about meter in the Irish market place song "Molly Malone."  They had a lot fun passing boxes on the beats of two and singing or clapping on beats of three.  If a student happened to be holding the box when the lyric "cockles and mussels, alive alive-o!" came up, he or she had to make up their own market place cry.  Curiously, many of these had to do with "bananas."  Afterwards, we transferred the ideas about meter to the Orff instruments for a cool improvisation.

Homework -- complete the rainbow rhythm puzzle.  Remember -- don't just assemble it.  See if you can also clap it out.  

Orff Ensemble rocks in week 2!

Orff Ensemble had a terrific second week -- with a few more musicians from last year's group showing up to round out the roster.  The ensemble totally nailed Canon #1 and began work on "Wise Old Owl," based on the Mother Goose rhyme, with a lovely melody by my teacher, James Harding.

I'll bring my field recorder next week and put up some audio samples.  They sound great!

Jazz Cat says...

What was it that Jazz Cat says about making a "D?"

"Pentatonic Moon" - Practice speed

Third grade recorder players -- here is a recording of "Pentatonic Moon" with a click track to help you keep time.  The notes are E-G-A-B-D-B-A-G-E-G-A-B-D     E-G-A-B-D-B-A-G-E-G-A-G-E.  Remember to breathe before playing those long notes!

Third Grade Week 4 -- Lift that thumb, baby!

This week in recorder class, the students learned how to recognize whole notes, half notes and quarter notes.  We also learned about the names of the lines and spaces on the staff.

With the help of my assistant, Jazz Cat, we also learned a new note -- high D -- which is the only note on the recorder where we lift our left thumb.

Learning "D" allowed use to complete the American Indian pentatonic scale so we could begin work on a new song -- "Pentatonic Moon"

Homework -- practice our notes -- E, G, A, B and D and begin to learn "Pentatonic Moon."I'll post a recording here to remind you what it sounds like.   Also, don't forget to come up with your own phrase to help remember the lines -- E, G, B, D, F -- and spaces -- F, A, C, E.

Recorder Ensemble -- Bransle (Part 1 and 2)

Here's what part one and two of Bransle sound like together...

Recorder Ensemble -- Bransle (Part 2)

For any of you ensemble players who want to get a head start on next week, here's an audio recording of the other part of Bransle.  You can follow along on your sheet music, or try playing along on the first part to create a duet!

Recorder Ensemble -- week 2

We had a great practice on Wednesday morning.  We worked on the Bransle and talked about our practice approach -- remember to spend about 1/3 of your time warming up, 1/3 practicing your material (in the case Bransle), and 1/3 experimenting...or as Jazz Cat says, "doin' the mess around!"

At this point you should be practicing about 15 minutes a day. 

Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy Chaos -- Take 1

This audio file is of an improvisation done in Ms. Yoon's class on Thursday.  It is the student's first attempt at using the Orff instruments...and my first attempt at recording them.  

Note -- the text you hear me reciting in the background is from two other student compositions -- "See Me Du" by Christian and "Black Stripes" by Ella

Fourth Grade Week 3 -- Orff Instrument Intro

This week the fourth graders got their first exposure to the Orff instruments.  These are the xylophones and metalophones of various sizes that were a gift from the Third Street parents last year. 

Because these instruments can be adjusted to limit the possibility of sour notes, children can become creators and composers very rapidly.  The result the first week was a little chaotic, but it was good chaos.

Homework -- the composition assignment last week seemed to give people trouble.  I'm afraid I may not have explained it very well the first time around.  So for those of you who didn't complete it, take another shot this week.  Those of you who managed to muddle through -- you're in the clear! 

B-A-G-E -- quarter notes

Here is the same B-A-G-E exercise using quarter notes.  Notice there are four of them for each note.  Remember -- left hand goes on top.

B-A-G-E -- half notes

Third Graders -- use this to help you practice B-A-G-E on half notes.  Use your fingering chart if you need help remembering how to make these notes.

Third Grade Week 3 -- Whole/Half/Quarter notes

This week the third grade was introduced to the concept of whole notes, half notes and quarter notes.  We learned that because half notes are half as long as whole notes, and because quarter notes are half as long as half notes, it is possible to play them at the same time in different combinations and still start and begin in the same place.

We also learned a new note -- "E" -- that requires us to use fingers from both hands.  Remember -- the left hand always goes on top.

Homework -- continue to practice "Mary Had A Little Lamb" and practice the fingerings for B-A-G and E.  You can go back to earlier posts to hear the audio for "Mary Had A Little Lamb."  For exercises on B-A-G-E, click on the audio samples entitled "B-A-G-E half notes" and "B-A-G-E quarter notes." 

Recorder Ensemble -- Bransle Audio Performance Speed

Here is a sample of lines one and two of part 1 of the Bransle played at normal speed.

Recorder Ensemble -- Bransle Audio Practice Speed

Here is the first line of part one of the piece by Claude Gervais.  Try to play along.  Remember the note pattern is - G-A-B-B-C-B-A-G-B-B-A-G-A-A:

Ensembles begin -- Great First Rehearsal!

The Recorder Ensemble and Orff Ensemble had their first rehearsals this week.  The turnout for both was outstanding!

On Wednesday for recorder ensemble (and I'm sorry I don't have a picture, I forgot my camera that day) we began to learn a Renaissance piece called Bransle by Claude Gervais, which I taught to Mr. Bassett's class last year.  

Recorder players -- you should be practicing 15 minutes a day on the Gervais Bransle and you can listen to it here on this blog.  Just click on the posting that says "Bransle Audio".

On Thursday the Orff ensemble met.  Despite the fact that most students were using the instruments for the first time, they performed a very nice version of Canon #1 written by Orff himself.

Although both ensembles are a good size, I will always try to make room for motivated musicians.  Additional sign up forms for both ensembles are available in the office.

Nice job, ensemble cats!  See you next week. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sing along with the 4th Grade!

Last week the fourth graders wrote new lyrics for a traditional melody I'm sure you will all recognize.  Here are a few of their "stanzas."  Click on the music track below and try singing along with their new lyrics.

"The Non-Cool Girl"
by Sarah

I will now walk to my school
They will think that I'm not cool
Till they see my new pink pool
I can now sit on my stool

"The Hard Lock, As Hard as a Rock"
by Anne

This is a very hard lock
It is as hard as a rock
You will never open it
Because any key won't fit

"Skateboarding with my Landlord"
by Jake

I really hate to skateboard
With my really fat landlord
I think he is so so weird
With his curly big red beard

by Taite

There were two big bad loud hens
In a very cramp - ed pen
They like - ed to sing and dance
And had very tiny pants!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Anyone for Orff Ensemble?

                      last year's Orff ensemble at Concert in the Park

In addition to the recorder ensemble we will be starting  an Orff ensemble that will meet on Thursdays before school.  What is an Orff ensemble, you may ask?  Well, it is a performance group built around the wonderful xylophones and metalophones Friends of Third purchased for the school last year.  Students are able to perform professional sounding music, improvise and compose right away with astonishing results.

Orff ensemble will be available for 4th and 5th graders this year.  Interested students can report to the Third Street School auditorium on Thursday at 7:20 AM.  Parents must sign the permission form that was sent home in backpacks today.  

Hope to see a few of you there on Thursday.  The rest of you keep checking this blog for concert details. 

More fourth grade week 2

Fourth Grade Week 2 -- untuned percussion improv

In today's special Friday edition of music, the students learned to re-interpret the songs they wrote last week as percussion pieces -- first using body percussion -- clapping and slapping (and grunting) and then in combination with untuned percussion instruments such as a drums, bells, guiros and shakeres.  The results were fun...and exhausting at least for me.

Homework -- create a percussion composition based on the rhythm of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."  Use three different instruments and be sure and make the patterns different.  If I have a chance I will put up some audio clips of the instruments you can use, so be sure and check back.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Recorder Ensemble begins next week

I am delighted to announce that I will be starting the recorder ensemble next week for all interested 3rd, 4th and 5th grader recorder players.  The kids who did it last year had a blast.  It's a chance for them to improve their proficiency on the instrument and play some more challenging music.  All skill levels are welcome.

This year Recorder Ensemble will meet on Wednesdays before school from 7:20 to 8.  Students may be dropped off at the side entrance to the auditorium on June Street.  They must bring their own recorders.  Students are not allowed on the main campus before 7:45.  Therefore admittance to rehearsals will be limited to participating student/musicians, although we will try to accommodate siblings, should the need arise.

Our first meeting is next Wednesday, October 15.  After that we will meet once a week with the goal of playing at least two concerts in December and the Spring.  We have also been invited to participate in the Culture Day.  Since this is a voluntary activity, my expectations regarding practice and commitment will be somewhat higher than in general music class.  At the same time the goal is to have fun.

If your child would like to give ensemble a try, please fill out the permission form we will be sending home this week and return to the music box in the office.  And feel free to post any questions or comments here on the blog.

Mary Had A Little Lamb - "Bag" Version

Can you play along with me, Third Graders?

Recorder Exercise 2 -- B-A-G quarter notes

With this exercise we work on quarter notes which are much shorter tones.  Remember to use your tongue to interrupt the flow of air.  No puffing please.

Recorder Exercise 1 -- B-A-G long tones

Try this exercise first.  

Long tones are an excellent way to warm up, as well as a good way to improve tone.   We play them each for 4 counts beginning on B with 4 counts of rest in between.  Remember the fingerings?

B -- Left thumb on back hole and first finger on first hole
A -- Left thumb on back hole, first finger on first hole and second finger on second hole
G -- Left thumb on back hole, first finger on first hole, second finger on second hole and third finger on third hole. 

Third Grade Week 2 -- Recorders Arrive!

Today we distributed recorders to Ms. Caruso, Ms Byham and Ms. Limb's class.  Mr. Han and Ms. Tyler's students get theirs on Friday.  The kids seem pretty enthusiastic.  These excellent Yamahas are definitely an upgrade from the two whole flutes we worked with last week.

We will be learning the basics of this wonderful baroque instrument over the next several weeks. And for students who wish to take their learning a step further we will be starting Recorder Ensemble next week.

Check out the post regarding ensemble on this blog for more information.

Homework -- Practice your recorders 15 minutes a day and work on our song.  I will post some audio clips to help you.  Remember Jazz Cat's rule about practice -- 5 minutes warm up, 5 minutes working on exercises and songs, 5 minutes to do the mess around! 

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ah Ree Rhan -- Test Audio

I plan to use the ability to mount audio on this blog to post examples of student work and record practice exercises.

Here is a recorder version of the well known Korean folk song, Ah-ree-rhan, which 3rd graders will be learning this year, and which I have posted as a test.  Does it work on your computer?  Let me know!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A few more pictures from week 1 of fourth grade

Welcome Back Fourth Grade! -- Week One

In fourth grade the students pull together what they have learned about rhythm and melody in previous grades and begin to compose songs.

This week their assignment is to develop a song lyric that is 4 lines long.  Each line must contain seven syllables.  And the first two lines and last two must rhyme.  The lyrics will then be added to an existing well known melody.

We'll be performing a few of their songs next week.  The results are always entertaining. 

Homework -- finish your song lyrics.

Other Images from Third Grade Week 1

Welcome Back Third Grade! -- Week One

Third Grade music classes began this week.  

Third Grade is when we introduce the concept of melody by teaching all students to play the recorder.  We also discussed how "aerophones" in general work.  The students had a lot of fun looking at examples of flutes from around the world as well as "improvising" on their two hole flutes.  Next week they get their recorders.

Homework -- for next week complete the aerophone worksheet and compose a song for the two whole flute.  This song will be sixteen notes long and will consist of the 4 notes the flute can make -- both holes closed, both holes open, large hole closed, small hole open.  Remember it is okay to repeat notes even in a row.