Saturday, February 27, 2010

"The Joker" - Sopranino Solo Part I

Hey Dora -- here's the first half of your Sopranino Solo (actually a duet with me). Gets started on this and I will put up the other half later this week.

"The Joker" - Chorus w/xylophone

...And here's the way the whole chorus sounds with the xylophone part added.

"The Joker" - Chorus Phrase 4

Here's Phrase 4... The pitch pattern is A-A-B flat-A-A-G-G.

"The Joker" - Chorus Phrase 3

Here's phrase 3... The pitch pattern is F-F-A-A F-F-B flat-B flat F-F-C-C D-A-G-F-F.

"The Joker" - Chorus Phrase 2

Here's Phrase 2... The pitch pattern is A-A-B flat-A-A-G-G A-G-F.

"The Joker" - Chorus Phrase 1

Recorder Ensemble -- sorry I couldn't get this up a bit earlier. Here is the recorder part of the chorus of "The Joker" broken into 4 phrases. Try to learn them by practicing them one at a time. (You can also go back at watch the video on B flat I posted a few weeksn ago).

Here's Phrase 1... The pitch pattern is F-F-A-A F-F-B flat-B-Flat F-F-C-C F-F-B flat-B flat.

Second Grade Week 6/7 -- Learning to play our drums

The last couple of weeks in 2nd grade music we've been learning how to use the drums we made, how to achieve different effects by playing with our hands or sticks and also how to improvise. To that end (and this being black history month) we used African children's game songs like "Ise Oluwa" and "Che Che Koolay" to develop our drum vocabulary. As I have observed in the past having the kids fabricate their own drum goes a long way in getting them to really focus on some of the abstract musical concepts I want them to learn.

Next week we will begin talking about how these ideas of beat and rhythm can be transferred to pitched instruments.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fourth Grade Week 6 & 7 -- Developing Our Songs

For the last two weeks Fourth Grade has continued to develop their melody lines which this week they will be turning into full blown songs in a collaboration with a classmate. Thia seems to have been more of struggle this year than in previous years. However, most students seem to have gotten things untracked finally. Here are a couple of examples of successful contour line/melody line projects from Mr. Bassett's class. If you're wondering about the teacher's and president's names, they are used to give the kids some interesting rhythmic ideas.

Homework -- due this Friday is your song melody combined with that of your table partner. Please don't forget about the lyrics -- I want to start singing a few of these next week.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

More pix from drum making

Second Grade Week 5 -- Drum Heads

This week in second grade music we finished our drums by putting the heads on. This activity has become something a few parents help out with every year and I think it is a great experience for them and the kids -- after all, part of what we learning about in this unit is being aware of our community and our heritage. The kids also learned a lovely Yoruban devotional song, "Ise Oluwa," which we will be playing on our drums once all the classes are finished putting them together.

It was a very fun day. I'll post a few more pictures shortly.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fourth Grade Week 5 -- Melody, the Line and Contour

This week's class was devoted the the idea that melody, in addition to following the rhythm pattern, unfolds in a line that rises and falls. We call this "contour." And since it is also called contour in visual art, we will be starting a project that should produce interesting melodies and drawings.

The work from other years posted here shows what I am talking about. First students drew a contour line on the musical staff paper. They then transferred that line to a blank piece of paper and createrd a color drawing around it. For the last step, the step I want to do together in class on Tuesday, they added notes along the line. Please don't do that part yet. And please remember to keep the up and down in your lines of contour reasonable.

Enjoy your three day weekend!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Recorder Lesson 6 - "B flat"

Okay so it's more of a 4 minute lesson. Recorder cats try working on your B flats in addition to the other audio samples I've given. You will need them to play "The Joker."

"D'aquel Fraire Flaco" - rehearsal video

Hi Recorder Cats -- I thought this might be useful to see how all the parts sound together. It is a recording my Orff Level III group made of "D'aquel Fraire Flaco" this summer. Thanks to my ensemble-mates and fellow music teachers -- Kim, Heidi, Carlos and Tammy and instructor, Robbie (on the tenor).

Saturday, February 6, 2010

"D'aquel Fraire Flaco" - part 3

Francesca, Suzie and Chelsea -- you take part 3.

I will learn part 4.

"D'aquel Fraire Flaco" - part 2

Part 2 follows the same pattern -- AABBAA. Let's have Victoria and Dora on part 2. Give it a listen and start to learn it.

"D'aquel Fraire Flaco" - part 1

One more song to give you today -- our 4th and 5th graders in recorder ensemble are playing this Renaissance piece. As the music I gave them on Friday indicates, the song is in two parts -- the A part is repeated twice, then the B part twice, then back A two more times.

Jenny, Diego and Rhett -- here is your part -- part 1. See if you can follow along in your music and begin to learn it.

"The Earth Is Our Mother" -- Phrase 5 (& 6)

Finally here is the last phrase. In the song it is repeated twice. C-A-A-A-G-A-A-A-G-A-A-A.

"The Earth Is Our Mother" -- Phrase 4

Since phrase 3 is a repeat of phrase 1, let's go directly to phrase 4. The pattern is A-G-A-C-D-A.

"The Earth Is Our Mother" -- Phrase 2

Here's the second part of the first line -- the pitches are A-G-A-C-B-A.

"The Earth Is Our Mother" -- Phrase 1

Here is the same song is slower more manageable chunks. In phrase 1 pitch pattern is A-G-A-A-A-G-A-A.

Recorder Ensemble -- "The Earth Is Our Mother" complete

Hey recorder cats -- as promised I will be posting a lot of material for you this weekend. First up is our song "The Earth Is Our Mother." Here is a recording of it at performance speed with both soprano and alto voices.

Second Grade Week 4 -- "Drum Making"

One of the annual events in my program I look most forward to is the making of gourd drums in second grade. It gives a very concrete meaning to the the idea of "hands on" music. The kids can use these drums to learn about beat and rhythm, but we also use them to discuss culture and community. The best part is the kids get to take them home eventually.

Over the years we've managed to get the construction broken into two parts, the first part being the decorating of the gourd shells. Next week we will be putting on the drum heads and for that I could use a little parental assistance. Two parents per class would be great and no musical or drum making ability is required.

The next music class is on Friday. You can let your child's teacher know or you can e mail me at

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fourth Grade Week 4 -- Introduction to Melody

Having spent several weeks discussing beat and rhythm we began this week to talk about melody. As the kids discovered, melody is not that complicated. It is simply a sequence of rising and falling pitches that follows the rhythm pattern, often dictated by the text of lyrics. Using the rhythm rainbow puzzle boxes they made the last week the kids improvised pentatonic melodies on the Orff instruments -- with very pretty results.

Homework -- no worksheet this week. I have my hands full getting the gourds ready for second grade!