Saturday, April 16, 2016

Week Twenty Eight in Review (Mar. 28 - Apr. 1)

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 began preparing to be formally introduced to high and low sounds. As part of this preparation, students learned a new song entitled Higher Than a House and a chant entitled Two Little Puppets. While singing Higher Than a House, students raised their arms to indicate that they heard high notes and lowered their arms to indicate that they heard low notes. Students identified whether the last note of the song was high or low and then moved pictures on the interactive white board into the ocean, low, or into the sky, high. Students enjoyed using the interactive technology to place pictures of mermaids, treasure, and submarines into the ocean and pictures of birds, balloons, and rocket ships into the sky. During the chant Two Little Puppets, students echoed puppets Bella and Bo by imitating their high and low voices. This chant will be used next week to make students conscious of the difference between high and low voices.

First grade students focused primarily on quarter notes, quarter rests, and eighth notes this week. On Monday, students practiced these rhythms by playing a game in which the teacher played a rhythm pattern on the recorder and students spoke the rhythm using rhythm syllables. Students did so well at translating the recorder music into rhythm syllables that Mrs. Aaronson started playing two, three, or even four rhythm patterns at a time! Students were very proud of themselves when they were able to successfully translate a series of four rhythm patterns! On Friday, students completed their student growth post-assessment on rhythm. I could not be more proud of the progress that each student made on this assessment. At the beginning of the year, I watched students guess on the pre-assessment as many were not familiar with written music at this time. In stark contrast, after the post-assessment many students actually commented that they thought it would be harder! Get it, first grade!

Second grade students were formally introduced to melodic note do this week! After students were successfully able to demonstrate that they could hear the difference between sol mi and the 'mystery' low note by responding to notes played on the xylophone, they identified the location of the low in the song Apple Tree and were told that the name of this low note is do. Additionally, students practiced identifying and playing half notes in the song Who's That. First, students identified the location of half notes by clapping the rhythm. Then students played xylophones on all of the half notes. After achieving mastery, students added triangles and woodblocks to this song. Students were then challenged to perform the song in ABA form. During the A section, students were to sing the song and play the instruments. During the B section, the students were to play the instruments while remaining silent and singing the song in their heads.

Third grade students practiced new melodic note low sol this week. Students also began preparing for their melody post-assessment by singing and identifying five-note  patterns containing melodic notes low sol, low la, do, re, and mi. Students learned a new song containing low sol entitled I Got a Letter This Morning. Students learned the song and a melodic ostinato for it. Once students became familiar with both the song and the ostinato, students were divided into two groups and both parts were sung simultaneously. Students were led in a discussion about using proper vocal technique when singing more than one part. Students were especially cautioned against shouting instead of using their best singing voice. Lastly, students reviewed the song My Country 'Tis of Thee and how to tie together a quarter note and a half note to create a three-beat note.

Fourth grade students began to synthesize all of their knowledge about instruments and instrument families this week. Students reviewed the sounds of all four instrument families: woodwind, brass, string, and percussion. Students also completed a post-assessment on the instruments of the orchestra. Students showed remarkable growth in their ability to hear the differences between each instrument family! Students also began exploring the differences between bands and orchestras. Lastly, students concluded the week with a recorder day. On Thursday, students finished learning a rock-style song entitled Hop, Skip, Jump and were able to practice and test for their next recorder karate belt.

Fifth grade students began a music evaluation unit this week. In this unit, students will be analyzing music based on pitch, rhythm, dynamics, form, and tone color. This is the biggest unit in the fifth grade curriculum and will conclude with students creating their own listening map for a piece of classical music. Students began the week by reviewing the instrument families. Students created lists of woodwind, brass, string, and percussion instruments and were asked to describe the characteristics of each instrument family. Students were also asked to describe the sound difference between big and little instruments. Students were introduced to families of specific instruments, for example: the clarinet family. Lastly, students worked with partners to identify instrument families by listening to recordings.

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