Thursday, October 28, 2010

Third Grade Recorder Lesson 4: Improvisation

We will open next week's class with this activity. Here's a preview.

Third Grade Recorder Lesson 3: E

Third Graders -- here is a short video lesson that recaps what I showed you on Wednesday in class. This lesson and the one posted about will help you prepare for next week's improvisation on "Little Johnny Brown." Be sure and check them out.


This week has been devoted to activities associated with that all important holiday on the children's calendar -- Veteran's Day!

Just kidding. Actually Halloween week at Wonderland is turning out to be a very cool experience this year. The Haunted House is back in the MPR, the parade is this Friday (so sorry, I won't be here!) and there is an excellent Day of the Dead shrine in the library, built by Juila Wasson's 3rd graders.

We've tried to add to the spirit in music with a Spooky Ghost Dance in Kinder, a rousing, effects driven presentation of "Inside the House That Is Haunted" for 1st and K-1-2, versions of "Skins and Bones" for xylophones in 2nd grade (pictured) and for recorder in 3rd, and two variations on "Intery MIntery" in 4th and 5th grade. This wonderful piece for Orff ensemble comes, as many of my favorite pieces do, from the people at the San Francisco School.


Restful Retreat

This past weekend many of the Wonderland teachers went on a staff retreat to the Ojai Foundation Center about 70 miles north of Wonderland School. This picture of a hummingbird that landed in Michael Hancock's hand is just one of the many magical moments the weekend produced. Although Wonderland is a school with many gifted teachers, the weekend was a reminder that strong communication, a commitment to teamwork and mutual respect and support are among the most important teaching practices. Colleagues -- thank you for making my first retreat experience (ever, I think) I great one. And parents -- thank you for underwriting the cost of this highly useful professional development experience.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Do you have what it takes for Recorder Ensemble?

We'll be starting up our recorder ensemble again in a couple of weeks. We'll be focusing on playing interesting music in interesting ways. Think you might be interested in joining our band? Keep checking this blog for details!

Recorder Lesson 2: B-A-G

Recorder Lesson 1: Basics

Third Grade Recorder: Mary Had A Little Lamb in Tabs

Hi Third Graders -- tablature or tabs is a way of writing music down that shows not just want to play but how to play it. Here is a very familiar song written in a way that shows you which holes to cover (note that the hole on the back is covered throughout). Remember -- you must use your left hand on top.

Use this music to practice making your first three notes -- B-A-G -- for next weeks recorder class. I am posting some videos above that should also help you.

Happy tooting!

Hollow Trees w/Don Wilson Captured Live!

The Hollow Trees or our Mini-Monterey Pop

The Hollow Trees put on a wonderful hour-long concert Wednesday afternoon and the kids really seemed to enjoy it, especially when the Trees were joined on stage by our own Don Wilson, who in addition to being an excellent administrator is also an outstanding banjo picker. Check out the video posted above and you'll see what I mean.

Many thanks to the band and to Warren Garfield, organizer of the Topanga Bluegrass Festival, for arranging this free event.

Chopsticks on paper

This is one of my all time favorite lessons for second grade. Students learn about the relationship between steady beat and rhythm by putting on or two chopsticks (or none) on sheets of paper and then trying to clap out the rhythms the chopsticks represent (with the paper representing the units of beat). Here study is attending to walk the beat while reading and clapping the rhythm -- not as easy as it looks.

Quite a week in Wonderland Music!

We've certainly gotten a lot of music in since Monday. On Monday Jane Raphael's K-1-2 developed a movement piece using scarves to represent falling leaves. First grade will do something similar today.

Kinder began learning the Jamaican song Bam Chi Chi Bam and 4th grade begin to work with the Barred Instruments (pictured). We are fortunate to have few extra instruments on hand this month, lent to me by Cal State LA for use in my thesis study.

Then on Wednesday 2nd grade began working with chopsticks (real ones not the song of the same name) and 3rd graders go their recorders. The day was capped off by a performance on the yard by the folk band The Hollow Trees featuring our own principal Don Wilson guesting on banjo.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wood Chuck Chuck - Audio only

Here's a higher quality audio recording of the same piece. 3rd graders -- which do you think is a better way to present this material?

Wood Chuck Chuck

Here's a video from today's third grade music lesson. Thanks third grade teachers and special thanks to Michael Hancock and Denise Lamoureaux for adjusting your schedules to facilitate.

This is the first of what I hope are several video and audio postings of the kids work. Performance and recording are part of most of the grade level standards and I think it is important for kids to understand in putting on a show the emphasis needs to shift from the performers to the audiences experience. So enjoy the show!

Rainy Wednesday

Today was an extremely wet day (part of a wet week). How wet? In going to the classrooms to teach music (the MPR was need for lunch) I found myself competing with the vision of garbage cans literally floating down Wonderland Avenue.

Fortunately for second grade I had a excellent rainy day activity. "Son Macaron" is an Eastern European beat passing game which kids seem to love. All classes played extremely well. As for third grade a video of their week today is posted above.