Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Wonderland 2013 - "Zum Gali Gali"

Winter Wonderland '13 - Zum Gali Gali from Richard Lawton on Vimeo.

Winter Wonderland 2013 - "Hitotsu Toya"

Winter Wonderland '13 - Hitotsu Toya from Richard Lawton on Vimeo.

Winter Wonderland 2013 - "Two-Three/Salaam Al'leekum"

Winter Wonderland '13 - Two Three-Salaam Al'leekum from Richard Lawton on Vimeo.

Winter Wonderland 2013 - "Simple Gifts"

Winter Wonderland 2013 - Simple Gifts from Richard Lawton on Vimeo.

Winter Wonderland 2013 - "Little Moses"

Winter Wonderland '13 - Little Moses from Richard Lawton on Vimeo.

Winter Wonderland 2013 - "Still, Still, Still"

Winter Wonderland '13 - Still, Still, Still from Richard Lawton on Vimeo.

Winter Wonderland 2013 - "African Noel"

Winter Wonderland '13 - African Noel from Richard Lawton on Vimeo.

Winter Wonderland 2013 - "Good King Wenceslas"

Winter Wonderland '13- Good King Wenceslas from Richard Lawton on Vimeo.

Winter Wonderland 2013 - "Jingle Bells"

Winter Wonderland '13 - Jingle Bells from Richard Lawton on Vimeo.

Winter Wonderland 2013 - "Ode to Joy"

Winter Wonderland '13 - Ode to Joy from Richard Lawton on Vimeo.

Winter Wonderland 2013 - "Snowflake Song"

Winter Wonderland '13 - Snowflake Song from Richard Lawton on Vimeo.

Winter Wonderland 2013 - "Pojdzmy Wszscy Do Stajenki"

Winter Wonderland '13 - Pojdzmy Wszyscy Do Stajenki from Richard Lawton on Vimeo.

Winter Wonderland 2013 - "S'vivon"

Winter Wonderland '13 - S'vivon from Richard Lawton on Vimeo.

Winter Wonderland 2013 - "Follow the Drinking Gourd"

Winter Wonderland '13 - Follow the Drinking Gourd from Richard Lawton on Vimeo.

Winter Wonderland 2013 - "Jambo Bwana"

Winter Wonderland '13 - Jambo Bwana from Richard Lawton on Vimeo.

Winter Wonderland 2013 - "Zumba, Zumba"

Winter Wonderland '13 - Zumba, Zumba from Richard Lawton on Vimeo.

Winter Wonderland 2013 - "Must Be Santa"

Winter Wonderland '13 - Must Be Santa from Richard Lawton on Vimeo.

Winter Wonderland 2013 - "Oh Hanukkah"

Winter Wonderland '13 - Oh Hanukkah from Richard Lawton on Vimeo.

Winter Wonderland 2013 -- Congratulations on a job well done!

Hello Wonderland Community -- I want to thank everybody for making this year's holiday show a success, but especially the kids.  As the videos I will be posting here indicate, you guy sang and played your hearts out, and I was thrilled to be part of it.   I hope you will enjoy these clips (thank you, Michael Ford!) and will enjoy sharing them with friends and family over the holiday.  Safe travels everybody.  I will see you all in the new year!

Friday, December 6, 2013

5th Grade Magnet Rehearsal - "Zum Gali Gali"

Hi Fifth Graders -- excellent job at yesterday's rehearsal.  With so many kids it had the potential to go completely crazy, but you did such an excellent job maintaining your focus.  I thought you and your loved ones would enjoy this little preview going into the weekend.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ms. Weiss's & Ms. Abu Bakir's classes - "Good King Wenceslas" vocal

Greetings students -- here at long last is a recording of the words to "Good King Wenceslas" Most of you are singing this pretty well by now, but remember, you will need to have the words memorized for the show.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Coyote String Band -- "Bile Them Cabbage Down" for Banjo and Mandolin

Hi String Band Members -- with a week to go before our first concert, there is still a lot we can get done if we practice.  Here is a short video of the banjo roll and the mandolin picking part for "Bile Them Cabbage Down."  Remember that the banjo needs to be capoed in the 2nd box in the key of A, whereas the mandolin plays just fine in A with a capo.

You have a week so get to picking and rolling!

A taste of what's to come - 4th graders practice "Little Moses"

It's so wonderful to have a job where I get to hear children sweetly singing holiday music every day.  And this year we are expanding our definition of "holiday music" to include this country/bluegrass standards by the legendary Carter Family.  We just started handing out the ukes, and the kids already sound great strumming along.  Can't wait to hear what it sounds like in two weeks.

Join us for Winter Wonderland!  Write down the date:  Thursday, December 19 -- shows at 8:30, 10:30, and 1.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Mr. Anderson's, Mr. Austin's and Ms. Lopez's classes - "Still Still Still"

Hi 4th graders. It seems like forever since I posted the "Little Moses" video (you can find it archived in "November"). Here is a recording of our other song "Still Still Still." This arrangement is similar to the one we will be using, including the first verse in German, but it is missing the counter melody and the parallel third harmony. Try adding those parts as you sing along.

Mr. Earl's & Mr. Oasay's classes - "Zum Gali Gali"

Here's our other holiday show song - "Zum Gali Gali" -- in an arrangement very similar to the one we will be using. This recording does not include the English verse but I am betting you can figure out how that fits the music.

Mr. Oasay's & Mr. Earl's classes - "Hitotsu Toya"

Here's a recording of "Hitotsu Toya."  I'm only posting the Japanese verse. Try singing the English verses against the instrumental section. The B section that we composed we will obviously need to work on together.

Mr. Oasay's & Mr. Earl's classes - "Hitotsu Toya" -- pronounciation

Hi fifth graders -- here is a pronunciation practice track for the Japanese verse in "Hitotsu Toya." Japanese is a very different language than English, so take a little time to practice your vocabulary and accent.

Kindergarten - "Oh Hanukkah"

Here is our other song, which we will sing twice through, just like they do on the recording. It has a very different mood from "Must Be Santa." When songs have a different "feel" we say they have "contrast."

Kindergarten - "Must Be Santa" 2013 ver.

Hi Ms. Jane's, Ms. Lacy's and Mr. Song's classes. Here is the first of two songs we will be singing for Winter Concert, with the special lyrics that you guys wrote. (I think this might be the best version of "Must Be Santa" ever!)

Ms. McLeod's & Ms. Zarakowski's classes - "Snowflake Song"

Here's our second song. Remember we will sing this twice, with the instrumental B section you wrote in between. Don't forget your movements.

Ms. McLeod & Ms. Zarakowski's classes - "Pojdzmy Wszycy Do Stajenki"

Here is a first verse of our Polish Carol in Polish. Again, concentrate of good pronunciation. There are also two verses in English, but you won't have any problem with those.

"Pojdzmy Wszycy Do Stajenki" - pronunciation

Hi 2nd graders -- here is a pronunciation track for the Polish verse of "Pojdzmy Wszycy Do Stajenki." Polish is a language with what are for most of us some very different sounds. Use this pronunciation track to develop your accent.

Ms. Lamoureaux's & Ms. Sae-Tang's classes - "Follow the Drinking Gourd"

...and here is our other song. This arrangement covers all but the last verse. Try singing that over the instrumental section in the recording. And don't forget to practice your dance moves.

Ms. Lamoureaux's & Ms. Sae-Tang's classes -- "S'vivon"

Hey first and second graders -- here is the first of our two songs for Winter Wonderland. We will be working on the xylophone parts in class, but it will help if you come in knowing the words.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ms. Gary's and Ms. Valdez's classes - "Zumba, Zumba"

Hi again first graders -- here is our other song. We will be working in music class on our drum parade and accompaniment. You can help me out by memorizing the words to this song, especially the Spanish words.

Ms. Gary's and Ms. Valdez's classes -- "Jambo Bwana"

Hi First Graders -- here is first of two holiday show songs. This arrangement is very similar to the way we will be performing this song. Listen to how they make each time through the piece sound a little different. The word we use in music is variation.

Caroling - "Il Est Né"

Still with me, Ensemble Members? Our third caroling song is Il Est Né. It is in French, (c'est vrai!) but the good news for most of you is that only the chorus needs to learn the verses. The rest of you only need to sing the chorus.

Caroling - "Mambo Santa Mambo!"

Hello again ensemble members - here is the second of our four caroling songs as performed by the Bobs. You can disregard the silly ad-libs and just concentrate of the melody and the shoobie-doos.

Caroling - "Peace Round/Shalom Chaveirim"

Attention Ensemble Singers and Players -- Here is one of the songs, (technically two songs) we will be singing for both the caroling and our ensemble concert. As we have seen in class each of these songs can be sung as a canon and both can be sung as partner songs. Try singing along with the recording and you'll see what I mean.

Recorder Ensemble - "Tune of the Buffens" Parallel

Hey Recorder Ensemble -- for those of you who would like to play the top part for Tune of the Buffens at our Concert on December 10, here's a video to show you how.  You'll need to work on your high E, but the rest is easy.  Who wants to challenge themselves?  (Note Part 1 of Tune of the Buffens was Posted on October 19 -- check the archives if you wish to view it.)

Mr. Anderson's, Mr. Austin's and Ms. Lopez's classes - "Little Moses"

Hi 4th graders -- here's a video that should help you learn of the Carter family song, "Little Moses."  Our version has just two chords, so you should be able to nail this one down pretty quickly.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ms. Weiss's and Ms. Abu Bakir's classes -- "Good King Wenceslas"

Ms. Abu Bakir's class and Ms. Weiss's Third Graders -- here is a video and some sheet music that will help the third graders master this great old English carol.  I will be posting the words a little later on.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ms. Meldrum's, Ms. Lorimer's & Ms. Salazar's classes -- "Ode to Joy"

Hi 3rd Graders -- as promised here is a short video that will re-teach this week's lesson on "Ode to Joy."  If you watch this video and play along even one time a week, you'll be amazed how good you get and how quickly.  The holiday's are coming so everybody get busy!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Recorder Ensemble -- "Gilotte" -- Second Recorders

Here's the second part.  We haven't really started to get into this, but if you are feeling ambitious and would like to get started, what can I say but go for it!

Recorder Ensemble -- "Gilotte" -- First Recorders

Hey there recorder ensemble members -- here's a video tutorial on "Gilotte," the Michael Praetorius piece we began working last week.  I'd like you to spend 5-10 minutes each day practicing and this video should help.

Holiday Show Prep Underway

It might seem odd to begin prepping our winter shows in October -- Halloween hasn't even passed.  But our annual shows is the central event in our general music year.  And this year we are also adding an ensemble show at the school and at least one outside performance.  It's going to be a busy December!

One of the the most important elements in our Winter Wonderland performance, apart from the fact that every Wonderland student is in it, is the goal having students "create" part of the material they are performing.  Sometimes this consists of writing special lyrics.  Other times the kids compose accompaniment.  Our students are very accomplished and up to the challenge, but the primary reason for doing this is to give them a sense of ownership of the show.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Three Minute Recorder -- Tune of the Buffens

Hi Third Graders -- here is the renaissance piece we started learning in class this week.  A great tune with just four notes -- I hope you will find this video useful in learning it.

Halloween's a coming!

A few of my kinders were getting ready this week for a Halloween presentation for the parents.  Halloween is a major holiday at Wonderland.  Meanwhile, we begin Winter Holiday show material next week.

Second grade composition -- adding melody to our rhythm ideas

Second grade have been on a extended unit of rhythm and beat since the first week of school.  The kids have learned that the beat is the underlying steady pulse in music, whereas rhythm is a combination of long and short beats and silences, most often organized in repeating patterns.  As they learned this week melody is a pitch sequence riding on the back of such a rhythm pattern.

This week the students began to play around with the idea of adding pitches to their rhythm ideas from a 5 note la pentatonic pallet.  The results are always very beautiful.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Using music to illustrate a story

One of the "big ideas" in general music for first grade is to focus on how music can be used to help tell a story.  The kids learn that adding music to a story is like adding an illustration.  Like a picture musical accompaniment tends to focus on central themes and ideas and not get bogged down in minor details.  In the process, hopefully, the things the kids are learning about story sequencing in their classrooms are reinforced.

Third Grade Recorders fill out an octave

Third graders are making excellent progress learning the notes between D and D, the range of many wonderful tunes including a number of Renaissance pieces.  The goal here is to get them playing proficiently enough to play at least one of their holiday show songs on the instrument.  Hard to believe we're already focusing on that in October!

Three Minute Recorder -- Lesson 6 -- Low D

Try this one too -- it may be a little confusing to talk about low D and high D, but remember that pitches on the scale only have 7 possible letter names.  After that the names repeat, and when they do, we say they are an octave apart.

Three Minute Recorder -- Lesson 5 -- High C and D

Hey Third Graders and Recorder Ensemble Members -- here are a couple of more practice videos for you to check out.  Now that we are approaching our concert season there are some basic skills I would like you all to have,  These videos will review some of what we've been talking about in class.  I hope you find them useful.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Coyote String Band - "Rank Stranger"

Hi string band members.  As promised, here are the words and chords for "Rank Stranger."

We'll work on the melody in class next week.  For now I am mostly interested in you learning the chords and getting comfortable with the strum patterns in triple meter.  Regarding the strumming, I have assigned different patterns to the different instruments, but you should try them all using whatever instrument you are playing.

Erie Canal Choreography

Fifth Grade spent the last couple of weeks develop a more formal movement piece to accompany an arrange of Low Bridge (also known as Erie Canal).  In the primary grades choreography the kids create tends to be suggested by the text -- for example, raising hands high when the words to the song talk about the sky or the sun.  In the upper grades I encourage them to use more abstract interactive movements based on the feeling of the material.  The results are always interesting.

Cowboy Songs and Rhythms

Over the last couple of years the 2 or 3 cowboy songs we do has turned into a whole mini unit.  I jut love this material which is loaded with language arts elements that can be used to reinforce what the kids are learning in their classrooms and are also authentic bits of Americana.  And these songs are fun to sing and play.  Try even saying "coma ti yi youpy" without smiling.

Instrument Families and Story Telling

First grade has spent that last several weeks learning about how instruments are grouped together based on how they work.  Throughout we have focused on making careful observations, collecting and developing hypotheses for why some instruments sound one way and some another.  The goal here get them to use a scientific approach to understanding.

Today we focused on the piano as we began our transition from the science of music to an an appreciation of how music can be used to help tell stories.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Three Minute Recorder - Lesson 4 - Pentatonic Improvisation

By third grade at Wonderland all the students have had numerous opportunities to improvise using pitched and unpitched percussion as well as singing.  Recorder improvisation is a little more challenging, making good quality notes is something that takes concentration and practice.  The truth is that an excellent recorder improv can be made on one or two notes, as long as the player keeps in mind that when it comes to jazz, blues and rock and roll it is always rhythm before melody.  This lesson featuring the tune "Little Johnny Brown" shows how easy it can be.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Three Minute Recorder #3 - "E"

This week in recorder, third graders are being introduced to a new note -- "E."  As the kids were already noticing in class, adding the E to the mix.  This video should prove a useful review.

Big Recorder Classes This Year!

Due to the large number of third graders this year, we have a few especially large recorder classes.  The potential for chaos is high, but what a big sound they make!  Remember folks, it's left hand on top!

"Molly Malone" for fourth grade

"Molly Malone" is one of the first lessons I ever wrote.  The Irish Chanty is doubly important to me, as it is one of several that my father used to sing to me as a boy.  In this lesson fourth graders pass a several boxes around the circle on the beat to mimic the loading and offloading of cargo.  Whoever is holding a box when the line "cockles and muscles alive, alive o!" comes around has to hold the box over the head and improvise their own market place cry.  "Molly Malone" is also one of several songs I used as a framing device for new lyrics that the kids devise themselves.

Movement in Primary Grades a Must

Movement is a fundamental part of music instruction at Wonderland School.  Whether it be a series of student-composed hand gestures. as in the "Color Song" for Kinder, or learning a full on folk dance such as "Down the Ohio," movement helps children focus and connects them to the rhythm of the songs we sing.  It is also a great way for high energy kids to blow off a little steam.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Mary Had a Little Lamb in Left Hand Tabs

This week third graders got this piece of music which we will be working with in class next week.  I am reposting it here for anybody who may have been out.  Notice that the song is written in tablature -- a kind of music written that tells you what to do -- in this case what holes to cover -- as well as what notes to play.   Note that we only are using notes we make with our left hand.

My question for you next week will be -- what part of the music does this kind of notation leave out? (Hint -- think of Diggy Diggy Dong).

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Three Minute Recorder - Lessons 1 and 2

From time to time I will be posting video lessons here under the title "Three Minute Recorder."  These first two have to do with basics of how to handle the recorder and how to play the first three notes - B, A and G.

The goal here is to give the kids a little at home guidance with video that reteaches and reinforces what we are learning is class.  At the very least, using these videos will encourage them to practice more.

Recorders go home this week

This week, as we have done for the last several years, we are giving a new Yamaha recorder to all third grade students.  We'll also be teaching them how to use their recorders for the next ten weeks or so.  During these first day so recorder ownership, the playground tooting can be a little hard to bear, but colleagues I promise, the novelty does wear off.  In the meantime it's a major incentive for me to get them to sound good fast.