Saturday, October 31, 2009

"2/3" -- Marimba Parts 1, 2 and 3

Hey ensemble cats -- here's a recording of the three ostinati from the Zimbabwean piece we'll be playing on culture day. Give them a listen!

Third Grade Scores for Analysis

Third Grade Week 5 -- Skin and Bones and Score Analysis

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

Fifth Grade Week 5 -- Harmony and Modes

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

"Pentatonic Moon" - Practice speed

Third grade recorder and ensemble 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 -- "Pentatonic Moon"

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

Fifth Grade Week 4 -- What is Melody?

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.

Fifth Grade - rhythm samples 5-8

Here are samples 5-8. These are longer, what we call two bar phrases. Again match them to the correct note pattern.

Fifth grade - rhythm samples 1-4

Here are the rhythm samples 1-4 on this week's homework. Put the number of each sample next to the note pattern that matches it. Listen to them as many times as you need to by clicking the play button.

Fifth Grade -- Melody Sample 4

Fifth Grade -- Melody Sample 3

Fifth grade -- Melody Sample 2

Do the same with samples 2, 3 and 4. Find the notation that most closely matches what you hear.

Fifth Grade - Melody Sample 1

Listen to this sample and then check the notation on your worksheet. Put a 1 next to the melody pattern that matches what you hear

Fifth Grade - Melody Sample 1

Listen to this sample and then check the notation on your worksheet. Put a 1 next to the melody pattern that matches what you hear

Saturday, October 17, 2009

"Little Johnny Brown" (Making Music Version)

Here's a nice recording from the "Making Music" series. I'm putting it up here for you to listen to and maybe play along. No downloading please.

"Little Johnny Brown" (recorder version)

Hi Third Graders -- here's a recording of the main theme from "Little Johnny Brown" that we learned in class, as well as some suggestions for how to play it. Jazz Cat says, "see if you can get in the groove!"

Third Grade Week 3 -- "Little Johnny Brown"

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

B-A-G-E -- quarter notes

Third graders (and beginning ensemble players) -- here's B-A-G-E played with four quarter notes for each note. Practice so that you can play along!

B-A-G-E -- half notes

Third graders -- we'll talk about this on Friday. Here are the 4 notes we have learned so far B-A-G-E recorded slowly so that you can play along. Your "How Do I Practice" worksheet can show you the fingerings.

Hey Ensemble Cats -- check out "Zuni Song"

Here's a reposting of "Zuni Song" written by R. Carlos Nakai. Both ensembles will be performing this at Culture Day. Recorder Ensemble -- I'll have the music for you at rehearsal on Friday.

If anyone would like to see a video of last years performance of "Zuni Song" check out the blog archive for "June."

Fifth Grade Week 3 -- Our first group composition

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

Third Grade Week 2 -- B.A.G. Compositions

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.

Recorder Ensemble welcomes Third Grade

I am overwhelmed by the response of Third Graders to the invitation to join recorder ensemble. Today's rehearsal went very well. We actually got a passable version of "Zuni Song" up and running.

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

Fifth Grade Week 2 -- "Do Unto Others"

This week fifth grade began to develop their first compositions, using the school rules as inspiration. I got this idea, as I did many of my more successful lessons, from my teacher and mentor James Harding. In order to develop their musical ideas, students were asked to use words or phrases taken from their "rules" to develop complimentary rhythm patterns or ostinati.

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.

"Mary Had A Little Lamb" - "Bag" Version

Hey third graders -- here's a recording of the music posted below. Give a listen by clicking on play, and, if you like, try to play along!

Third Grade Week 1 -- Handing out the hardware

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!