Wednesday, December 16, 2009
As I mentioned we had two other groups helping us with the show last night. Dramarama, a Friends of Third-funded theater program, performed a short "teaser" as a prelude to a longer show in January. The program included singing and movement and acting, and it was clear the kids had a wonderful time. Stay tuned for details about the January show.
KDLP presented an encore of the their Korean-language adaptation of "Polar Express". I was particularly pleased that they used some of the music we created in 5th grade this year as transitional material.
This kind of mutual support and cross-pollenation of creative skills and ideas is something I'd like to see more of at Third Street.
The ensembles performed their Concert in the Park last night and everybody did a fantastic job. I'm posting a video of one of the songs here. Despite some recorder malfunctions it sounds great.
I want to also thank the kids from Dramarama and KDLP 4th and 5th grade for participating in the show. Working with other groups gives us a great opportunity to see how others tackle creative projects and always makes for a rich and varied show.
Going forward there will be no recorder ensemble practice this Friday. We will resume both ensembles after the holiday break, but I will send you an e mail reminder about that.
Have a happy and restful holiday everyone!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
As promised here is a short video demonstrating how to play the minor pentatonic scale on an American Indian flute. I am also providing this fingering chart. Remember -- the beauty of the pentatonic scale, as far as improvisation goes, is that all the notes sound good together. So learn the notes and get to creating some beautiful improvs!
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Friday's schedule was a little light, with two classes away on a class trip. Those who remained did some of the best playing I've heard yet. We learned how to make an "F", which completed our C scale and also allows for playing with "F" recorders -- the sopranino, the alto and the bass. About the half the class was spend just playing and arranging some of the music we've been learning. This will be the emphasis for the remaining classes. Perhaps we may get in a holiday tune or two as well.
The show begins at 6PM. Recorder and Orff Ensemble members should report the the auditorium at 5:30 to warm up. As always I am asking people to wear white or light tops and dark pants and discouraging dresses for girls (Orff players sit cross-legged). Recorder players -- don't forget your recorders!
There are also a couple of extra rehearsals to know about. The remaining rehearsal schedule is as follows:
Tuesday, December 8 -- Orff Ensemble
Friday, December 11 -- Both Orff and Recorder Ensemble
Tuesday, December 15 -- Both Orff and Recorder Ensemble
Have a great weekend!
Friday, December 4, 2009
Watch this short video and see if it helps.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The last three weeks in fifth grade music have been devoted to completing our compositions. Each student was asked to complete an eight measure composition that included a percussion line, a bourdun (bass), a melody line and an accompanying ostinato. The results from one student in Dr. Fulton's class are posted above. The song was composed, transferred to a notation software program and then learned, arranged for the instruments we had on hand, and performed today by the class. Check out the audio post -- they did a nice job.
My hope is to collect all songs from fifth grade into a booklet which we can make available and which will give us some music that the ensemble can perform. Students have until Friday to turn in their revised compositions.
I have mixed emotions about this project. I think some of the students found it a bit challenging and it was hard to give them feedback when I see them only once a week, and when their access to the instruments is limited to my time with them. On the other hand, despite the limitations, several quite extraordinary pieces of music were created. In music education having high expectations is not necessarily a bad thing.
Check back on the blog to see how the fifth grade song book is coming along. And in the mean time enjoy reading and listening to "Beautiful" by Tristan Galindo.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Hey Ensemble Cats -- you played "Ode to Joy" beautifully yesterday! I'm so excited about how great we're sounding.
Usually it is the third line of "Ode to Joy" that hangs people up, so I want you all the spend a little time working on that. I'm printing both the sheet music for the whole piece and line three by itself. Feel free to print them out.
The best way to learn a tricky piece of music is one measure at a time so that's what we are going to do. I'm posting some audio clips above. Listen to them, follow the instructions and try to play along. And remember -- everything you do to make this piece sound better also makes you a better musician.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Hi fifth graders -- so sorry to be putting this up late. I had a very busy week!
In week 7 we began to discuss accompanying our compositions, specifically the bass accompaniment. The bass is important as it indicates both the time we are using and what key we are in.
Above are some sample bourduns you can use for your homework this week. I will be posting the audio that matches directly above. Bourduns, as discussed in class, are made up of the first and fifth note of the scale of the key you are in (C and G, D and A and so on). You can borrow one of the rhythm patterns posted above but -- VERY IMPORTANT -- make sure you adjust the pitches to match the home note of your composition.
Homework --since I am late posting this, you can have until Monday to come up with your own bourdun. Remember, it is only one measure long.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Today the Recorder and Orff Ensembles performed this Zimbabwean flavored groove. Thanks Recorder Cats for helping out on shakers. Also nice job by Max Rubin shooting video.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
There is a rehearsal for both ensembles on Friday morning. Orff people -- this will give you a chance to work with the recorders and set the program. We will be playing:
This rehearsal is important so, please, everybody be there on time.
On Saturday you call -- that's the time you have to show up -- is 1 PM in the auditorium. We will be performing at approximately 1:25. Please wear a light top and dark pants, unless you are in costume for some other part of the show. Recorder players please bring your recorders. All other instruments will be provided.
See you on Friday, cats! And then on Saturday!
This week all fifth graders began their final project -- composing an original piece of instrumental music which can be performed on the Orff Instruments. Perhaps a few of them can even be performed by the Orff ensemble.
We began with everybody developing a 4 measure melodic theme which has the qualities of a good melody -- contour (rising and falling line). repetition and resolution. This year I am allowing students to chose a different home note in the C pentatonic, which should produce some more variety.
Homework -- complete the 4 measures of music -- remember these are due on Friday!
Saturday, October 31, 2009
This week in third grade we continued our work on "Pentatonic Moon" and learned a new note -- C (as in Claw and Creature). With the C we are now able to play a number of tunes, including "Bransle" handed out by Claude Gervais and Jingle Bells. We also had a lot fun playing and singing "Skin and Bones", a Halloween classic, as part of our warm up.
I am a little concerned about the number of students who are not doing their homework and are forgetting either their recorders, their folders our both. Students will be receiving a grade in music and their participation (or lack of) will be taken into account. Let's do a better job with our practicing and other homework.
Homework for this week -- practice "Pentatonic Moon" and "Jingle Bells" (Ms. Caruso's class only). Also all students need to do a score analysis for "Pentatonic Moon" and "Bransle." This means identifying the names of all the notes in all recorder parts. I'll be posting copies of both scores here later today.
Happy Halloween everybody!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
In this week's fifth grade music we reviewed the elements of rhythm and melody we discussed in previous weeks and began an examination of harmony and modes. This ended with the kids performing "Wise Old Owl", a really cool song in Dorian mode.
Above is a list of various modal scales, each of which has a different mood and characteristics. For homework this week, fifth graders, I'd like you to follow the link to the online keyboard. Try out these modal scales and do a little improvising (remember to end on the home note.) How do the different modes make you feel?
For the keyboard click here.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
My apologies for not getting this up until Sunday night. My internet was offline until this afternoon.
This week in Third Grade music we learned a new note "high D" completing the minor pentatonic scale which is used in both Native American and Asian music. We also learned a new song using that scale -- Pentatonic Moon. I was most impressed with how quickly the kids picked up the new song and also with what a nice job they did on our improvisational version of "Little Johnny Brown." Third grade is starting to get in the groove. The remaining time we spent learning how to analyze a score -- figuring out rhythm and pitch patter.s As the kids learned this tends to go faster than you think it will, as both pitches and rhythms tend to repeat.
Homework -- finish analyzing "Pentatonic Moon" and learn to play all three parts. A recording is posted above.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
This week in fifth grade music our focus shifted from rhythm to melody. The students were given several patterns developed by their classmates in week 2 and asked to construct a melody around them which the whole class could learn. Despite the distractions of "Back To School: breakfast they did a pretty good job. They also learned some of the conventions associated with melodic development -- contour, repetition and resolution.
Homework -- complete the "melody" worksheet. The audio samples are posted below on this blog.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Above: Ms. Birdy's class does the mess around
This week we reviewed the four notes we have learned so far -- B-A-G-E -- as well as how to organize our practices. We also had a lot of fun learning the some and dance "Little Johnny Brown," which gave the kids a chance to try out their blues chops. Finally, we began to transfer our reading of tablature (notation that shows how to play) to conventional notation on the treble staff.
Going forward we will be looking at high D as our next note. The fingering is in the worksheet you have. Remember what Jazz Cat says -- "To make a D, lift that thumb, baby!"
Homework: Complete your own memory saying for the lines and spaces on the staff. Practice your notes and your songs!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
If anyone would like to see a video of last years performance of "Zuni Song" check out the blog archive for "June."
This week in fifth grade music we continued working on our "School Rules" composition. Dr. Fulton's group, which has a smaller number, managed to get something up and running last week -- as seen in the video posted here. The other classes put together larger scales works in a "rondo" style. This is where individual groups efforts are strung together by alternating with a main theme. Several students observed that the compositions that began and ended on the same note had a more finished quality -- an excellent prelude to next week's discussion of melody.
Homework -- none this week. The melody worksheet I had planned to give you will instead be gone over in class.
Friday, October 9, 2009
This week in third grade the students were given an opportunity to compose a four measure melody using B, A and G. This produced a number of marvelous works, some of which I will record post here -- time permitting. We also discussed the relationship between whole notes, half notes and quarters notes and reviewed how to practice.
Homework -- for those of you who did not finish your compositions because of the assembly today, please complete them. Also take a look at the notes I gave you about play the note "E". We'll get into that more next week.
Parents -- make a note of the date of November 7 -- Culture Day. The ensembles will be part of the show. Exact times and details will be coming shortly so keep checking this blog.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Dr. Fulton has a smaller group this year so they are a little ahead of the curve. Some of their work is posted above. Incidentally the two phrases being ostinati-zized, if that's the word, are "don't act up" and "always do your homework."
Homework -- finish or redo worksheet #1 from week 1, complete puzzle box from week 2, come to class next week with some ideas about your school rules composition.
Third Grade students and parents -- my apologies, first off for getting this up so late and for not getting any decent pictures last Friday. I believe I have resolved my technical difficulties and I'll put up extra pictures for week 2.
Week 1 is the week where we discuss the development of five and six hole flutes and related aerophones in various cultures, and so it was this time around. However, I also decided to hand out the recorders, something I don't usually do until week 2. Several parents have already "thanked" me for the din, but have no fear -- we will turn it to a joyful noise very soon.
Students were also invited to join recorder ensemble, which meets before school on Fridays, the same day as their general music lesson. I am pleased by how many third graders have already signed up.
Homework -- Begin to work on "Mary Had A Little Lamb" posted above. Don't forget your recorder on Friday!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
It was great to be back at Third Street today, and doubly great to be in our own wonderful music room -- Room 32 -- thanks to Mrs. Oh.
Like last year the emphasis in fifth grade is for each student to compose and arrange an original piece of music. Among the elements involved is rhythm. Today the students learned a fun Keith Terry body percussion piece, "Hey, You, What?" which provided a good context to discuss polyrhythm and somes of the ways duration is dealt with in musical notation.
Homework -- complete the 15 notation problems on worksheet 1. And don't forget to come up with a school rule.
Regarding homework -- I'm going to try to be a bit more proactive this year. Please feel free to send me a message through this blog if you have any questions. Also I will try to post links to useful and fun web sites that are related to the topics in class. For example click on note duration
Friday, September 25, 2009
Hi everybody! I hope you all had a great summer and are ready to make some music.
General music and ensemble begin next week with Orff ensemble and fifth grade music on Tuesdays and Recorder ensemble and 3rd grade music on Fridays. Ensembles meet at 7:20 in the auditorium and music classes will be held throughout the day in our wonderful new music room -- room 32.
Just like last year you can check this blog for information about the music program. I will try to include evem more video and audio this year as well as some links for fun music sites.
Ensemble member don't forget about getting your permission forms signed. I need one for this year even if you were in ensemble last year.
See you all next week.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Here's the first of three short videos from last night's Concert in the Park. I'm very proud of the job these kids did. Well done ensemble cats, and special thanks to Hannah Limb, Julie Yoon and Akiko Morrison for contributing to our best Concert in the Park yet!
For our final week of Kinder music we began by summarizing all that had learned about what music is and how it works, and then spent a little time on one aspect we had note discussed -- notation. The children learned how we use a series of symbols that tell musicians what to do, just like the alphabet tells us how to read. And we used these new found skills to perform "The Blue Danube" arranged for kazoo (actually me on recorder) shaker and midgeridoo.
Best of all the kids got to take the instruments they made home. Parents -- my apologies.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
"Day hang ming gook!" -- apparently this is a chant used at every Korean sporting event. This kids all know it, but I did not, so for a change I had them teach me. The results were so good we're going to use in next week's drum circle. One again, the date of that performance in June 11.
Parents -- I have gotten back a number of permission forms, but I have more kids saying they want to be in the show. Be sure and sign your child's permission form and return it. The teachers will have extra forms in case yours has gone missing. I hope many of the kids can take part.
This week in music the students were asked to synthesize what they have learned about music sound and how it can be manipulated. To that end we watched "Corny Concerto" the hilarious Warner Brothers send up of "Fantansia" from 1941. We talked about how music was used to tell the story, then concocted a story of our own which we set to music. It was great fun!
No homework this week -- I look forward to reading your circle maps
Friday, May 29, 2009
This week second graders continued to work with their drums and also began to learn how to "transfer the beat" to pitched percussion. This gave us an opportunity to work with the wonderful barred Orff instruments Friends of Third purchased last year. We'll be continuing with this next week so everyone gets a chance to play them.
Homework: No worksheet, but a letter went home inviting everybody to be part of the drum circle on June 11. Parents, I know things have a way of disappearing in backpacks, so if you did not get a letter please let me or your child's teacher know.
After playing two of my favorite games -- "Ring May You Wander" and "Cross Cross Apple Sauce," this weeks class focused on how some musical sounds and long and some are short (we covered high/low, loud/soft and fast/slow earlier). The students then got a chance to improvise on instruments that do one or the other. They sounded pretty tight!
Homework: Don't forget to do your circle map definitions of music
Sunday, May 24, 2009
In a special Friday edition of kindergarten music we used our homemade instruments along with kazoos to construct an arrangement of "The Wheels On The Bus." The students had an opportunity to see how the music sounded when performed using different instrument to "substitute" for notes in place of singing. They also got to perform what I assume for most was their first instrumental break.
This week in music the second graders began to use the drums we completed last week. Classes were doubled up again due to testing, but this gave us a good excuse to talk about community, communication and working for a common purpose -- three important concepts that drum circle is great for illustrating.
A heads up for second grade families -- we are inviting the second grade to make their drum circle part of the Concert in the Park on June 11 at 5:30 in Dermoudy Court (the lawn next to the lunch tables). I'll be sending a letter home next week, but you can also check back here for details. I hope many of you can make it!
Friday, May 15, 2009
This week the second graders completed their gourd drums with a lot of help from parents. I want to thank everybody who turned out, and especially Shelly Josias and Donna Kishibay for helping spread the word. It was a lot of fun!
Parents -- we are talking about adding a short second grade percussion performance to Concert in the Park on June 11. I'll be posting details here and you can also check with your child's teacher.
This week in Kindergarten we studies that concept of halves, a math idea that has a lot of application in music. The students also made another instrument -- a drone horn similar to a small didgeridoo (hence the name midgeridoo).
Homework -- complete Midgeridoo/Halves worksheet
Later today I will be posting some music for the recorder ensemble to listen to and practice. Please check back later today, and I apologize for the delay.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Homework -- Develop your body percussion piece to the beat of "Mary Had A Little Lamb"
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
This week the kindergarteners experimented with ways to alter the sound of our voices and instruments by playing or singing louder or softer (dynamics), faster or slower (tempo) and higher or lower (pitch). To this end we adapted a cool lesson my colleague Jen Winston teaches based on the Dr. Suess story "Sing with a Ying."
Homework: complete the fast/slow, loud/soft, high/low worksheet.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Second graders continued their discussion of how rhythm and beat are used together and how multiple rhythms played at the same time can produce polyrhythm. This is all in advance of the gourd drums we hope to begin next week.
We also learned a beat transfer gamer from Eastern Europe called "Son Macaron." Pictured above are the finalists from Mrs. Cha's class.
No worksheet this week -- Mr. Lawton is busy cleaning gourds!
This week, after learning a fun new song "Everybody born in **** skip around," we focused on the concepts of the same, similar and different as they apply to music. One important way is how these terms help us classify instruments into families.
Homework: Instrument family worksheet