Thursday, October 27, 2011

"The House With Nobody In It"

Today fourth and fifth grade continued with Hollywood themed lessons. 4th graders continued their introduction to playing the Orff xylophones by learning "Intery Mintery," a nursery rhyme adaptation by Doug Goodkin, which is the center piece of the Halloween show at the San Francisco School. It definitely put everyone is spooky mood.

As for fifth grade, they completed their interpretation of the poem "The House With Nobody In It," by Joyce Kilmer. A video example from Mr. Alpert's class is posted above. The kids developed their own musical accompaniment based on the text (if you listen closely you will here the rhythm of "" and "along the Erie track" in the xylophone parts) and movement. Considering that hungry Kinder-third graders were streaming into the MPR throughout the reading, I think their performance shows remarkable concentration. Well done, all three fifth grade classes!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween is coming!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

With the rest of the week's and Monday's lessons devoted to Halloween themes, I thought I'd put up something to put everybody in the mood. Who are these scary people (that take about a minute to upload)?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oliver Twist Twist Twist

As promised here is Ms. McLeod's class in action this morning. This simple movement piece becomes much more challenging as a three part canon or round, but they did a nice job with it. Excellent work, 2nd grade!

Little Bird, Big Bird

I was so busy last week I never had a moment to take a picture or update the blog. I'll try to be more diligent from now on.

Today was a good day. Second grade began with two song games -- "Hole in the Bottom of the Sea" & "Oliver Twist" -- designed to test their memory and focusing ability, two qualities they will need to get ready for the holiday show. I have video of "Oliver Twist" performed by Ms. McLeod's class posted above -- check it out!

Third Grade learned three new notes on the recorder - Low, D, High C and High D -- and used them in the song "Little Bird, Big Bird." Again I have the holiday show in mind, as 3rd grade has performed at least part of their portion of the show on recorder the last couple of years.

The day ended with Recorder Ensemble. We have an extremely large and enthusiastic group this year. I am very excited to be working with them.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Recorder Lesson 4: Improvisation

For those of you who want to get a head start on next week's lesson, here's some ideas to play around with regarding jazz and blues improvisation. Remember when it comes to jazz and the blues, rhythm that swings is always more important than pitch.

Ram Sam Sam and Little Johnny Brown

I feel like I am always writing that a particular day's lessons are among my favorites, but on Monday it was really true. We began in second grade with the kids learning "A Ram Sam Sam," a children's tune from Morocco. This song and the activity that accompanies it using chops sticks and paper give the kids an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the relationship between beat and rhythm. It also gives them a chance to work on their music sight reading skills, an ability that is very useful and often neglected.

By contrast the 3rd grade lesson centered on the song/game "Little Johnny Brown" was all about playing by ear and feel. The kids leaned an additional note - "E" - bringing their recorder vocabulary to 4 notes. As we will experiment with more next week, this is plenty to create some very jazzy improvisations. Those of you who want to get started on this, check out the video above and you'll see what I mean.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A rainy day with Mrs. Hen

Today because of the rain most of the music classes were held in the classrooms. Fortunately I had two of my favorite activities planned. Kindergarten began to learn the Jamaican folk tune, "Bam Chi Chi Bam," for which each class is developing a dance. And first grade learned two songs, "Which Came First?" and "Good Morning Mrs. Hen," which focus on the relation between language arts, math and music. The Chorus had their afternoon meeting in the MPR. All in all an excellent, if damp, day.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Recorder Lesson 3: Adding the E

Hey third graders and recorder ensemble members -- here is another video lesson focusing on the E. Remember you need to use both hands to make it!

A different version of Chopsticks

One of the central components of music for K, 1 and 2 is a development of awareness of the differences between beat and rhythm. This exercise using chopsticks and paper illustrates this wonderfully. 2nd graders are taught that paper represents the underlying pulse of the beat, while the chopsticks are the rhythm of long and short notes lying on top. The kids take turns creating rhythmic pieces which their fellow students must read and clap.