Monday, February 22, 2016

Week Twenty Two in Review (Feb. 8 - Feb. 12)

Greetings from the music room! It was a another exciting week of singing, moving, and playing instruments! Here are some of the highlights:

Kindergarten students pretended to build a snowman as they learned a new song entitled Snowman Joe. The melody of this song is built on the major scale and allows students to feel the rise of each pitch as they slowly build their snowman. Students also feel the melody's decent as the snowman melts to the ground at the end of the song. Additionally, students began taking turns playing the steady beat on a drum during the song Punchinella. This song and its activity are currently being used to assess student development in the skill area of steady beat. Students also learned the song The Monkey Stomps His Feet. Students enjoyed stomping around the room to the steady beat and creating many other ways for the monkey to move. Lastly, students learned a series of movements for the song Jump, Jim Joe. Students worked with a partner in order to jump, shake their heads, nod their heads, and tap their toes.

First grade students worked hard to decode the rhythm of the song Pease Porridge this week! On Monday, students were given beat charts and asked to place pom-poms on all of the silent beats (the beats with quarter rests). On Friday, students were give the beat charts once more, but this time were instructed to find all of the beats with rests and eighth notes. Students used stick notation, a type of musical short hand, to write quarter notes, quarter rests, and eighth notes. Students then checked their work as a class using the interactive white board. I was so proud of the first graders this week; they have made such progress in rhythm reading and writing just since December! Additionally, students learned the song Hot Cross Buns and discussed its origins as a street cry. Students learned playing a fun elimination game which requires students to sit down if they are pointed to on a silent beat (rest).
This student is pointing to each heart beat while singing Pease Porridge. The pom pom indicates that there is a rest on that beat.

Students shared their answers on the interactive white board and each student checked their work.

These students are writing the rhythm to Pease Porridge using stick notation, a type of musical short hand.
These students have completely written the rhythm.
This student is proud to show off his excellent work!
Second grade students reviewed new melodic note la by playing a game called poison pattern. In this game, one melodic pattern is designated as the poison pattern. Students are to echo sing all patterns except for the poison pattern. If the students are successful, then they earn one point for their class. If the students are not successful, if they sing the poison pattern, then the teacher gets one point! Mrs. Aaronson was happily defeated in this game! Students also reviewed half notes by playing xylophones along with the song Let Us Chase the Squirrel. Some students played half notes on the bass xylophones and bass bars while other students created the sound of the squirrel going up and down the tree by playing glissandos on glockenspiels. Lastly, students sang King's Land while playing its game. This song will be used next week to begin introducing melodic note do.
These students are playing the half note pulse on barred instruments to the song Let Us Chase the Squirrel.
Third grade students learned three songs for preparing low la this week: I'm Gonna Sing, Sally in the Kitchen, and Big Fat Biscuit. Students learned I'm Gonna Sing by snapping, clapping, patting, and stamping as directed by the words of the song. After learning the song Sally in the Kitchen and discussing the meaning of its words, students were challenged to pat an ostinato (a repeating pattern) of half notes and quarter notes. Then students transferred this pattern to xylophones and created an introduction and a coda for the song. Students further explored musical form, including introduction and coda, through the song Twelfth Street Rag. Students learned rhythmic patterns for the introduction and coda as well as the four other sections of this song. After students were secure in each section, they performed the whole piece along with the recording.

Fourth grade students completed their recorder unit this week. Although this is the end of the formal unit, students will have recorder days twice a month for the remainder of the school year. These recorder days will allow students to continue to develop their note reading skills and allow them to test for their next recorder karate belt. Students will be informed in advance of recorder days. To finish the recorder unit, students reviewed the notes of the treble clef staff as well as the fingerings for all known recorder notes. Students took a written assessment on the notes of the treble clef staff and the recorder fingerings. It has been a real joy to watch the students' progress in note reading over the last three months!

Fifth grade students reviewed the proper technique for shaping vowels "ah, eh, long e, long o, and oo". Students also reviewed Annie Kids songs N.Y.C. and Easy Street. In addition to working on trouble spots, students were challenged to sing these songs along with the accompaniment tracks. Students also began working on Annie Kids songs Hard-Knock Life and Never Fully Dressed without a Smile.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Week Twenty One in Review (Feb. 1 - Feb. 5)

Greetings from the music room! It was a another exciting week of singing, moving, and playing instruments! Here are some of the highlights:

Kindergarten students learned a new song this week appropriate for Valentine's Day, A Tisket, A Tasket. Students kept a steady beat on various parts of their bodies while they listened to a recording of this song as sung by Ella Fitzgerald. Students then learned a chase game that can be played with this song and continued to keep a steady beat on their bodies. Students also practiced moving fast and slow as they sang the song Paige's Train. Students played a game in which they had to listen to the song and change their movements (fast or slow) to match the music. Students also began using their bodies to explore high, middle, and low space (preparation for introducing the difference between high and low sounds) by moving to the French composer Camille Saint-Saens' composition The Aquarium. The video linked in this paragraph was played on the interactive white board while students moved around the room, exploring the space, like fish in the ocean. After students returned to their seats, Mrs. Aaronson blew bubbles around the room to really make it feel like we were under the ocean!

First grade students are making fantastic progress in their rhythm reading skills! Students were formally introduced to quarter rests this week by reviewing last week's activity to The Muffin Man. To reinforce this new concept, students were introduced to a new song, Pease Porridge, and were asked to find the location of the silent beats in this new song. In addition to finding the rests, students also successfully discovered the location of all of the song's eighth notes. Students also continued to practice sol and mi by reviewing the song Snowflakes from last week. After mid-winter break, students will begin preparing to learn melodic note la! Additionally, students explored their voices by following a bouncing balloon. When the balloon rose into the air, students performed an ascending glissando. When the balloon fell towards the ground, students performed a descending glissando. Students also enjoyed passing the balloon around the classroom. 
This student removed a quarter note from a plate and placed a quarter rest in its place!

Second grade learned two new concepts this week! Students were formally introduced to melodic note la. After learning this new note, students were asked echo sing several melodic patterns and to color notes on the staff different colors depending on their placement on the staff. La was colored yellow or green, sol was colored blue or purple, and mi was colored red and pink. Students also learned that two quarter notes tied together (one sound over two beats) can also be written as a half note. Next week, students will practice half note by playing half notes on xylophones while singing the song Let Us Chase the Squirrel. Students also began learning the song King's Land and it's game. This song will be used to prepare students for learning melodic note do.
While drawing tied quarter notes, some of the students turned them into smiley faces.

Third grade students discussed the purpose of introductions and codas this week. Students reviewed the song Rocky Mountain and added a series of body percussion movements to the song. After becoming secure in these movements, students were asked to perform the song in ABA form complete with an introduction and a coda. During the A section, students sang the song while performing the movements. During the B section, students sang the song in their head while performing the movements. For the introduction and the coda students clapped a rhythmic pattern of quarter notes, eighth notes, and quarter rests. Students also practiced singing and identifying melody notes do re mi sol and la. After students sang a series of four melodic patterns written on the interactive white board, students were asked to listen to the teacher sing and then identify the correct answer. This game was played in two ways. First, the teacher sang the patterns using solfege syllables. Second, the teacher sang the patterns on a neutral syllable. Students did remarkably well with this activity. As a result, students will begin preparing to learn melodic note low la next week.

Fourth grade students focused on red belt song, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star this week. While studying this song, students were asked to discover the repetition within this song as well as the location of new note F#. Students were reminded that songs Amazing Grace and Ode to Joy are to be learned on their own if they would like to test for the rank of black belt. Students will be able to test for belts all next week, but after mid-winter break students will only play recorder in class approximately once every two weeks. Students were also given a study guide for the note names of the treble clef staff as well as all of the recorder fingerings that we have learned during the recorder unit. Students will be assessed on their ability to identify notes on the treble clef staff and recorder fingerings on Thursday of next week.

Fifth grade students added 'shape the vowels' to their list of vocal techniques this week. Students were introduced to the five major vowels of singing "ah, eh, long e, long o, and oo." Students then practiced making the correct shape of these vowels for singing and practiced the 'long e' vowel in a modified version of the song Apples and Bananas. Students learned the folk song Great Big House in New Orleans and discovered that it could be sung as a partner song with Little 'Liza Jane. Partner songs are songs that can be sung at the same time and create pleasing harmonies. Students practiced singing each of these songs while the teacher or a group of other students sang the other song. Singing partner songs prepares students to sing independent harmonies, a skill they will need in order to successfully participate in middle school choir. Students also began learning N.Y.C. and Easy Street for the Annie Kids production in March.