Let's Sing 3 Column

Thursday, December 21, 2017

December in Music

____ Here's what happened in music recently (December):

  • Kindergartners continued learning about the unpitched small percussion instruments we have in the music room - finishing up with the Membranic(skins or drum) family (with a Circle pass and the Listen game) as in previous weeks.  We have been using these instruments with some movement response games, too.
  • First Graders - Fifth Graders have all been learning 5 songs that will be a part of our first-ever all-school Sing-along Assembly.  This will be happening on Thursday, January 11th in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other difference makers.  

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November News

____ Here's what happened in music recently (November):

  • Kindergartners continued learning about the unpitched small percussion instruments we have in the music room - studying both the Scrape and Ring families (with a Circle pass and the Listen game) as in previous weeks.  We have been using these instruments with some movement response games, too.
  • First Graders spent the first half of the week focused on reading and writing rhythm patterns with tah (quarter note), rest (quarter rest) and tee-tee (pair of eighth notes).  The second half of the week we focused on melody patterns - reading and writing - with Sol-Mi-La on a 2-line staff.  These patterns come out of the Apple Tree song from the last rotation.  Friday we had a 'Talent Time' in class musical sharing and some choice time of favorite singing/movement games.
  • Second Graders continued learning with our pie theme - with a focus on rhythm the first part of the week and shifting to melody on Thursday.  We reviewed Great Big House in New Orleans with our 'pie response' challenge.  We sorted pictures of fruits and vegetables used as pie ingredients (rhubarb, strawberries, blackberry, boysenberry, peach, lemon, cinnamon, apple, cherry, pumpkin, etc) - based on the rhythms.  Students then worked in small collaborative groups to create a word chain with these words/rhythms.  Using 4 of the 2-beat building bricks (with the last one being pie), at least one of the word/bricks had to be a berry so that students had a pattern with 2 eighth notes (tee-tee) in their word chain.  Once the word chains were created and practiced - student said them and then transferred them to a small percussion instrument with each group playing the same kind of instrument.  We put the whole piece together in a Rondo form (A B A C A D A) with the A section being a spoken poem - I like Pie.  Some classes made a recording of their work which you can find on the In the Spotlight page of this blog.  After this project was completed, we switched our focus to melody and hearing and writing melodic patterns with Sol-Mi-La on a 2-line staff.   
  • Third Graders performed their Rock Concert for parents.  We added in the extra 'special' parts with each student choosing to either take on a Narrator part, stage hand role or help to create the 'volcanic eruption' for Earth Changes.  On Monday we sifted out who would do what and practiced those new parts.  Tuesday and Wednesday we reviewed each of the songs and pieces in order, including the student created portions of the Rock Rondo.   Thursday we had our live audience of parents, grandparents, siblings and friends.  A video recording was made of the sharing for any of you that were not able to be a part of the live performance - or to watch back with your child even if you were there.  You'll find the recording on the In the Spotlight page of this blog.
  • Fourth Graders reviewed the State Song, "Where the Columbines Grow" and added a new song, "Cripple Creek" which they are singing in two voice parts (our most complicated).  This new piece not only has two voice parts, but also a soprano recorder descant that required us to learn a new note on the recorders - F#.  This rotation we also wrapped up the 4 separate train themed recorder pieces small groups were working on - making a video recording that will be incorporated into one file eventually with a voice over of a train poem.  That way we can share these pieces with parents separate from our in school sharing of the Colorado Connection Concert happening in the spring.
  • Fifth Graders - Two groups (Purple and Green) focused on Rhythm through Rhythmic Canons.  We warmed up with some rhythmic echoes, then switched it to an instant canon by staying 4 beats behind while the leader went on.  We learned a rhythmic canon - discovering the form by listening with the notation fragments in front of us - and transferred it to hand drums.  These activities led students to creating their own Rhythm Canon compositions.  We also played a listening challenge with their pieces - Stand Up if You're the Composer.   The Blue and Orange groups will get a chance to do this after our Freedom Assembly in January.  In the meantime they are working on songs for that assembly.
Remember there are 3 different rotation schedules running concurrently in specials ___
  • The Kindergartners come to music every 3rd day - twice in 6 days, with one extra time for each All Day Kindergarten_
    So this post covers Rotation 9-11 in music (with the Day Kindergartens having a few extra classes).
  • The 5th graders come to music for a week every 4 weeks (1 week of music, 3 weeks somewhere else) so this post will tell you about 'week 4/5A of music.
  • 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Grades come to music in a 3-week rotation (1 week of music, 2 weeks in other specials) so this post will cover  instructional week 5 of music (although one group is just starting this).  

Friday, October 27, 2017

October happenings

Remembering there are 3 different rotation schedules running concurrently in specials ___
  • The Kindergartners come to music every 3rd day - twice in 6 days, with one extra time for each All Day Kindergarten_
    So this post covers Day 6 - 8 in music (with the Day Kindergartens having a few extra classes).
  • The 5th graders come to music for a week every 4 weeks (1 week of music, 3 weeks somewhere else) so this post will tell you about 'week 3' of music (although two groups are still there)
  • 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Grades come to music in a 3-week rotation (1 week of music, 2 weeks in other specials) so this post will cover  instructional weeks 3 and 4 of music, although two group have yet to start week 4.

____ Here's what happened in music recently (October):

  • Kindergartners began learning about the UnPitched Percussion instruments we have in the music room.  They are learning about them in timbre or tone color groupings.  In these rotations (#6-8) they were introduced to the  Click instruments (wood block, temple blocks, tap-a-taps, slap stick, rhythm sticks, claves, tone block, castanets and tongue drum, aka slit log drum), the Jingle instruments (tambourine, cystrum, jingle bells, Indian dance bells, caxixi and sleigh bells) and the Rattle instruments (maracas, chiquita maracas, rain stick, handle castanets, clatterpillar, vibraslap, cabasa, shekere, nut rattle, and seed pod ) With each of these families students were introduced to the proper playing technique and the instrument name.   Each student took a turn playing every instrument as they were passed around the circle.  Students were asked to match the beat as they played.  We also played a game called "Listen" which requires students to determine which instrument they are hearing without being able to see it and then name it.
  • First Graders used an Apple theme to focus on rhythm and review melody this week.  We reviewed familiar melodic patterns of Sol-Mi-La and discovered a new singing game, Apple Tree which introduced students to a lower pitch - Do.  We played the singing game three different ways - trading places with part of the 'tree' when trapped, or adding new trees into the orchard as an elimination game, or seated in a circle as a beat passing game.  We read and created new sound/silence patterns within an 8 beat frame - using paper plates to mark out the beats.  Those plates that had an apple on them, we said 'yum' on the beat and those that didn't have an apple had a silent beat (rest).  Students changed the pattern by adding or subtracting apples.  After we had played our Apple Tree game multiple days, we added a beat bordun reading some of those sound/silence patterns.  First Graders rediscovered the rhythm tee-tee (2 eighth notes sharing a beat) as we decoded the rhythm of Apple Tree.  Following a time that we read Dr. Seuss's Ten Apples Up on Top, we 'upset the apple cart' and used our apple/rhythm cards to create new tah and tee-tee patterns.  Then we flipped the cards around to read a scrambled/mixed up version of the lyrics.  On Friday classes sang some favorite Disney songs and we learned about the term opera, by putting on a version of The Three Piggy Opera based on Disney's Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? 
  • Second Graders learned two new Americana singing games with a Pumpkin Theme - Great Big House in New Orleans and Pumpkin (PawPaw) Patch.  Pumpkin Patch is a  singing game in a long-aways set.  Each student got a turn at being in the lead (head couple) spot.  With Great Big House in New Orleans we learned all three verses and traditional movement and then extended our learning and experience by adding instrumental accompaniment parts including a cross-over pattern.  We extended the form with a contrasting speech section - "Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Pie!  I just love that pumpkin pie.  Love the whipped cream piled up high.  I just love that pumpkin pie!"  Students used the rhythm of this speech pattern to improvise melodically on glockenspiels as we created a longer form.  We also added a rhythmic speech/percussion ostinato with spoons.  In addition we played a response game with the names of different kinds of pies.  On Friday classes chose which songs to sing from a menu of favorite Disney songs.  We also revisited our The Three Piggy Opera based on Disney's Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? 
  • Third Graders reviewed the songs they have learned to date for their upcoming "Rock Concert" including the Rock Concert Opener and Reprise, Earth Changes, Rock Rap, This is My Favorite Rock and Obwisana (the rock passing game from Ghana).  We began developing a new piece - Rock Rondo.  Each student learned a melody on xylophones which will be the A section of the Rondo.  We brainstormed a list of rock words to fit various rhythmic building bricks (2 beat patterns).  Students worked collaboratively in small groups to create a two-part rhythmic speech pattern.  Each group took words from 2 bricks to put together into a small phrase.  After creating both an "a" and "b" phrase, groups were given a small form (abab, aabb, aaba, or aaab).  They performed their speech pattern for the class and the listeners identified the pattern they heard.  The next day students reviewed their created sections and practiced saying it one time and then playing the rhythm on rocks.  We wove this into a rotating rondo with the xylophone part learned earlier in the week.  We will share this piece at our Rock Concert, too.  Friday we took a break from our Rock Concert songs to sing songs by student choice from a menu of Disney Favorites. 
  • Fourth Graders reviewed the songs they had previously been introduced to for their Colorado Connections Concert, Symbol Song and Cheyenne Hand Game.  In addition to reviewing the Soprano Recorder piece Stegosaurus Stomp, students chose between 1 of 4 pieces to learn on recorder - all with a Railroad theme (Colorado Connection).  Each piece has different challenges but each one has the notes E, G, A and B.  This pieces will not be a part of the live performance but we play to make video recordings and weave them into their own movie clip with a train poem to link them together.  On Friday students either had a make-up Talent Time (missed for the Digger Dash) or chose songs from a menu of Disney songs.
  • Fifth Graders reviewed Recorder playing skills as we learned a piece Mrs. Petty wrote called Quickie Quodlibet.  A Quodlibet is a musical form where each new part is introduced as a solo and then stacked or layered with the parts that have come before.  Students learned one 4-measure part as a whole group, by taking it apart and putting it back together:  Rhythm, Pitch, Pitch or letter names + rhythm, then that with added recorder fingering.  Students then chose to work in one of 4 groups [4 corners] to either continue working on the first melody or take on the challenge of decoding another 4 measure melody.  On the second day we stacked those 4 melodies together.  On day 3 students began their first undertaking as a composer this year.  Students worked either alone or with a partner or two to create their own Soprano Recorder melody in 4/4 time and G pentatonic (same tone set as the model piece).  After sharing those compositions, students stacked their melody with another composed melody.  The notes we were working with were low D and E, G, A, B, and high D and E.  Each new melody had to have at least 3 pitches and one measure used a 2nd time - but did not have to use all of the pitches.  Students took the task seriously and seemed to enjoy their role as composer/creator.

Friday, September 29, 2017

First week(s) in music - August /September

Posting this school year will be a bit of a challenge since in specials at GRE this year, there are 3 different rotation schedules running concurrently:

  • The Kindergartners come to music every 3rd day - twice in 6 days, with one extra time for each All Day Kindergarten_
    So as of this post Kindergartners have had 10 days in music (with the Day Kindergartens having had 4 or 5 extra times.
  • The 5th graders come to music for a week every 4 weeks (1 week of music, 3 weeks somewhere else) so this post will tell you about the first 2 'weeks' of music, although one group is still on their week 2_
  • 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Grades come to music in a 3-week rotation (1 week of music, 2 weeks in other specials) so this post will tell you about the first 2 weeks of music, although one group is into their 3rd 'week'.
With all that in mind, here's what happened in music in our first weeks together - August / September:

Kindergarten:

  • Opening song / gathering routine to start each class period  "Such a Makin' a Circle
    • Explored new verses with physical motions to show the 'heart beat' of the song
  • Each individual student got a turn to take their solo walk / run to the poem "Let's Go Walking" and we then added their name to our class chart based on the number of claps (syllables) in their name
  • We began exploring the space with different locomotor (traveling) steps, without bumping into others
  • We explored a nursery rhyme, Wee Willie Winkie, through speech, actions and a dramatization, adding instruments for the clock chime, knocking at the window, and 'creating' the town
  • The All-Day Kindies also explored the space with a couple of directed singing games:  Look at How I'm walking and Back to Back/Face to Face
In the coming weeks Kindergarten students will be introduced to the various un-pitched percussion instruments by timbre groupings.


First Grade:

  • We began with a movement/listening game Move and Stop.  
  • We established some expectations for working together in the Music Room and did some Name Game activities so I could learn and re-learn everyone's names
  • This is My Place / This is My Space - navigating the shared space in movement and returning to a home space
  • It's So Good to See You - Welcome song with movement - exploring the beat in stationary (non-locomotor movement) and locomotor movement (traveling).
  • Hand Drum piece, Big Drum, Small Drum in a Rondo Form (look for a video clip on the In the Spotlight page)
  • Uncovered the musical symbols in Big Drum, Small Drum - tah, tee-tee and rest
  • Used these symbols to practice Rhythmic Dictation with stick notation and Rhythm Reading patterns
    • Movement with tah team and tee-tee team - moving when 'your' sound was heard
  • New poem:  Two, Four, Six, Eight
    • Used this to explore different voices, phrase and conductors
  • We enjoyed a Folk Dance Friday
In the coming weeks we'll turn Two, Four, Six, Eight into a song and add some accompaniment on tone bars.

Second Grade:

  • We began with a movement/listening game Move and Stop.  
  • We established some expectations for working together in the Music Room and did some Name Game activities so I could learn and re-learn everyone's names
  • It's So Good to See You - Welcome song with movement - exploring the beat in stationary (non-locomotor movement) and locomotor movement (traveling).
  • Hand Drum piece, Big Drum, Small Drum in a Rondo Form (look for a video clip on the In the Spotlight page)
  • Uncovered the musical symbols in Big Drum, Small Drum - tah, tee-tee and rest (a review from last year)
  • Used these symbols to practice Rhythmic Dictation with stick notation and Rhythm Reading patterns
    • Movement with tah team and tee-tee team - moving when 'your' sound was heard
    • Solo assessment of Rhythm Reading 8 beat patterns [Solo / Whole Group] 
  • We enjoyed a Folk Dance Friday
In the coming weeks we'll be learning about the Pentatonic scale and accompanying our singing with the tone bar ensemble 

Third Grade:

  • We began with a movement/listening game Move and Stop.  
  • We established some expectations for working together in the Music Room and did some Name Game activities so I could learn and re-learn everyone's names. 
  • We spent a week on Drum Circle activities - including echoes to introduce two different strokes:  Bass and Tone
    • Question and Answer phrases, extended with whole group echoes
    • Drum Ensemble piece:  Ice Cream with tubanos, hand drums, maracas and cowbell
  • New song:  The Staff has 5 to introduce the lines and spaces of the treble clef
    • Students completed a homework page, creating an original E-G-B-D-F sentence with an illustration.  These were shared over the course of the week.
  • We began on two songs for an upcoming Parent Sharing which aligns with a science unit - Our Rock Concert.
    • Rock Concert opener
    • Rock Concert reprise
    • Rock Passing game from Ghana:  Obwisana
  • We enjoyed a Folk Dance Friday
In the coming weeks we'll revisit the Rock Concert songs we've started on and add to them with some new ones and vote as a class on our top 3 picks for new EGBDF sayings to display in the hallway.

Fourth Grade:

  • We began with a movement/listening game Move and Stop.  
  • We established some expectations for working together in the Music Room and did some Name Game activities so I could learn and re-learn everyone's names. 
  • We spent a week on Drum Circle activities - including echoes to introduce two different strokes:  Bass and Tone
    • Question and Answer phrases, extended with whole group echoes (Q/solo Answer, Q/tutti answer)
    • Drum Ensemble piece:  Ice Cream from text with tubanos, hand drums, maracas and cowbell; adding an improvised Q/A extension
  • We reviewed the lines and spaces of the treble clef with the song, The Staff has 5 learned in 3rd grade.  We extended the music alphabet pattern - line, space, line, space to discover the note names of the notes above and below the staff.  After daily practice in different ways on this information we had our first try at the 50 in 5 challenge - which is a timed note naming challenge.
  • We began working on some pieces that will be part of a parent sharing later in the school year, focused on songs that connect with 4th graders study of Colorado:
    • Symbol Song - each student selected one of 5 verses to sing, and also learned the parts we all sing in unison
    • Stegasaurus Stomp - reviewing the notes B, A, G on soprano recorder we learned this piece from the music notation
  • We enjoyed a Folk Dance Friday
In the coming weeks 4th graders will review these two Colorado Connection songs and get started on a Cheyenne [Native American] piece from the region.

Fifth Grade:

  • We began with a movement/listening game Move and Stop.  
  • We established some expectations for working together in the Music Room and did some Name Game activities so I could learn and re-learn everyone's names. 
  • We spent a week on Drum Circle activities - including echoes to review two different strokes:  Bass and Tone
    • Question and Answer phrases, extended with whole group echoes
    • Drum Ensemble piece:  Peter, Peter if you're Able from text - featuring tubanos, with guiros, maracas, buffalo (bass) drum and cowbell.  
      • We extended the piece with drum improvisation over the small percussion ostinati
  • We learned two separate pieces that fit together:
    • Piece for Body Percussion with two parts layerd
    • Piece for Paired Pitched Percussion (woods and metals)
      • Class Videos can be seen on the In the Spotlight page
  • We enjoyed a Folk Dance Friday and/or a First Talent Time / choice day
In the coming weeks students will review recorder technique and learn a musical piece as a model for their first music composition project of the year.







Saturday, July 22, 2017

Ready for the Start of a Great School Year

It's Almost Here . . .


I am excited to get this new school year started!

This will be my 5th year at Gold Rush and I am excited to get this school year started!

The first day of school we will all be singing together as a community 
at our Welcome and Flag Ceremony

If you would like to practice the songs we will be singing together,
click on the Music to Practice Page.  
We'll be singing This Land is Your Land and America the Beautiful.
I'll have the words posted around where we can see them, 
but it would be helpful if you'd sing through the songs 
at least one time before we all sing it together.

Fifth Grader Ryann Zayaz will also be singing our national anthem.

December in Music

____ Here's what happened in music recently (December): Kindergartners  continued learning about the unpitched small percussion inst...