Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Diggy Diggy Dong

In third grade students will be learning recorder. As part of developing music reading ability, I like to talk about the durational value of notes (how long they last) and pitch separately at first. The use of the syllables "ta," "ti-ti" and "taki-tiki" makes subdivision of the beat much easier to digest.

The audio is actually from the 2/3 split class.  Nicely done!

Learning to move and sing together

This week the upper grades are focusing on working together in the kind of focused way that has application throughout the curriculum.  Fourth graders, who are focused on harmony throughout the year, used the very pretty song "Los Ninos En Espana Cantan" to explore how using solfege (do, re, mi) helps singers find the harmonic center of a piece and sing and play more beautifully.

Fifth grade, meanwhile, explored some movement ideas using mirroring, shadowing and diamond patterns (groups of 4).  In every case the emphasis was focused attention on what their partner or partners was doing.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ensemble's Begin Next Week!

On Monday we will have the first rehearsals of our 3 primary general music ensembles -- Chorus, Recorder, and Orff (percussion).  I know that on the school website it says that permissions forms must be turned in by Monday, but in fact I will still allow people to sign up for a couple of weeks.  One thing I do insist on is that you have a signed permission form in order to participate.

A permission form went home with every 3rd, 4th and 5th grader this week, but just in case here the letters are again in English and Korean.

FYI -- Permission forms for the Coyote String Band will be distributed next week.

A few more pictures from Week 1

The rest of week 1 went very well.  These early-in-the year lessons are often where I will use my most tried and true material to get things off a good start.

Throughout the year, I try to incorporate other subject areas like science and math, not only to support my colleagues. but also because encouraging kids to make connection across the curriculum is a component of the Common Core.  In the pictures above, kindergartners are using "sound catchers" to amplify their hearing experience (something I explain they can also achieve by focusing), and first graders create waves so that they can study the way waves act.

In second grade we spend a lot of time learning about the concepts of rhythm and beat.  Using manipulatives such as chopsticks on paper (rhythm on top of beat) and then incorporating movement helps make these abstract concepts concrete.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Woodchuck Chuck!

One of our regular goals to try to get some kind of presentation and running by the end of each music class.  Today 3rd grade worked with a Grace Nash "setting" of the well known tongue twister "How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck?"  In 3rd grade we start to get serious about note reading, and I like to start by focusing on durational value (how long the notes last) before we talk about pitch.

These thrown together in ten minutes performances are rarely polished, but usually rank very high in terms of enthusiasm.  See for yourself.

Back to work - It's going to be a great year!

Hi there Wonderland families and friends!  It's with great anticipation that I resume posting for the 2013-2014 year.  As most of you know by now, I have joined the staff at Wonderland full time.  It is a thrill for me to be fully a part of such an outstanding group of teachers, and I have already been enjoying the luxury of having 45 minutes of instructional time per class (as opposed to 30 last year).

If you are new to Wonderland or to my music blog, welcome.  This is where I post examples of student work and additional instructional materials, such as practice materials for the holiday show, to extend my classroom.  It is also a place for parents to come and get glimpse into our music classes.  The pictures below, for example, are from today's Grade 4/5 movement lesson on 8 beat phrases using the body percussion vocabulary of renown Bay area music teacher, Keith Terry.  If it looks like fun, that's because it is!

           I hope you will book mark my blog and check back frequently.  It should be a great year!