Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Music in February

Welcome Back to Music Class!

The song of the month for February is “You’re a Grand Old Flag” by George M. Cohan. Here are the lyrics if you would like to sing with your children:
“You’re a grand old flag.
You’re a high-flying flag and forever in peace my you wave.
You’re the emblem of the land I love, the home of the free and the brave.
Every heart beats true ‘neath the red, white and blue,
Where there’s never a boast or brag.
But should auld acquaintance be forgot, keep your eye on the grand old flag!”

As a part of our introduction to reading music in kindergarten, we select “high” and “low” (sol and mi) notes to create a line of music on the board. This may not look like music and it is not! Creating these pictures trains our little ones to track note heads and helps them on their way to read and sing sheet music by the time they are in 5th grade. This technique helps them track the note heads that will be introduced soon. The students got to pick the shape we use for our notes. A few of my favorites were diamonds and grass. J

This month the Kindergarteners are listening to Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Surprise Symphony” where they discovered the “Surprise” of the symphony was the change in dynamics. As an activity we pretended to be asleep as we listened to the symphony and “woke up in surprise” when the dynamics changed! Here are a couple of KB kiddos showing their best surprise faces!

1st grade
Aural perception is the name of the game in 1st grade music. We’ve been training our ears to hear pitches and rhythms and match them with the symbols.  I will project two examples of music on the board and sing only one of them to the class. I begin simply by singing the solfege syllables (sol and mi) and when they have mastered this, I only sing the notes on the syllable “lu”. It amazes me how these ears can be trained so easily! Here is an example of our aural perception this quarter!

2nd Grade
If you have heard your 2nd grader singing a song about cookies, you might be hearing one of our concert songs from Puerto Rico called “Coquí”. It is about a sweet frog who sings the children to sleep with lullabies. One of our instruments this month to study is the glockenspiel. The students got to play the glockenspiels in our classroom after our discussion on its sound production. Here are some kiddos from 2C!

4th grade
A challenge we have in 4th grade is learning our German concert song called “Die Forelle”. We are working hard to completely memorize three verses in a foreign language. I am proud of the 4th graders for persevering though the silly sounds of German! We also learned a few new folk songs this February, one being “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” in honor of Black History Month. The students had a new encounter with dynamics moving to the volume changes in music as we sang John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt and listened to the 2nd movement of Franz Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 94, known as the “Surprise Symphony”. See if you can guess the surprise!

Miss. Jocelyn Weddle

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Music History in January

Thank you for entrusting your wonderful children to us. It is an honor to teach and love them every day! This blog post will highlight the music history section of Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd and 4th grades.  I hope you enjoy.

In Kindergarten we continue to learn about our steady beat through beautiful classical compositions. In January we moved to Victor Hebert’s “March of the Toys”. We are working on our knowledge of vocabulary words: composer and composition. A composition is a written piece of music and the composer is the person who wrote it. We have fun traveling around our map seeing where these composers lived and grew up. Music tends to have at affect on us, like when we are reading a great book. We tune out what else is going around us and we do not want it to end! One of our folk songs we are focusing on is Miss Marry Mack. Here are our motions we've learned on Friday afternoons. The pictures are from our 100th day of school!

Motion #1:

Motion #2      

Motion #3

In music history, 1st graders we discovered the beauty of creating a story solely with music and movement with Peter Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker". The students had the challenge of watching the dances in act 2 and remembering the names from our listening examples in December. It is amazing how Tchaikovsky could create such iconic music. This month we have kicked off our orchestra unit with the strings family. We discussed the instruments in this family (violin, viola, cello and bass), what physical characteristics they have in common as well as how they vary in size and sound. They loved imagining an instrument as tall as Mr. Gaudin!

Vibration is the word of the month in second grade! These kiddos have astonished me with their observation skills when studying the instruments of the orchestra and how they create sound! We touched on the families of the orchestra in 1st grade, but this time around we ask deeper questions i.e. “How does this instrument vibrate to create sound?”. We began with the clarinet, how the mouthpiece and air pressure work together to make the reed vibrate! With the triangle, they listened to how the vibration stops when you put your hand on it. We also watched Joseph Ravel's "Bolero"and noticed how the conductor's movements connect with the loudness of the orchestra. We got to see several of our favorite instruments have solos including the snare drum. If you would like to watch this with your kiddos, here is a link. The entire piece crescendos to the end!

Dudamel conducts Ravel's Bolero:

It is a joy for me to now introduce our 4th grade section!
With our 4th grade music history we watched a section on Engelbert Humperdinck's "Hansel & Gretel". Watching this opera gives the students an insight into how classically trained singers sound. We discussed why Hansel, a male character, was played by a female singer in the story. We also discussed how voices change when we get older and that adults who are classically trained can be heard clearly over an orchestra and a chorus of children. Now those are some powerful lungs! We also discussed the difference between aria and recitative. Since my background is in classical singing, I geek out during these lessons. I love the students discovering these “oddities” in the opera and walking it through their thought process with them.

Miss Jocelyn Weddle