Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Success!!!

Sun, Sand, R and R.......Elves?......PIRATES????!!!!????!!!!

Yes, Pirates and Elves!!!  They all came together last night in a great show presented by the 3rd and 4th grade students from Libertyville Elementary and Washington Elementary.  With lots of work over the last month and a half and some expert help from the staff at both buildings, the show went really well for a full house at the Sondheim Center last night.  There were even people having to sit in folding chairs.

If you weren't able to attend, I will hopefully post some pictures and even some video in the next few days.  You will be able to relive the sun and sand, the rest and relaxation, the snoring and growling, and yes, even relive the "Interlude Dance"!

Thank you to all who helped, the students and you, the parents for a great show!  Keep checking back for updates in photo and video.

~Mr. G

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Libertyville and Washington Winter Program 2011!!!



Calling all Parents, Friends, Neighbors and relatives!!!!!

The time has come for the Libertyville and Washington Elementary Winter Program!!!

The theme this year is "A Pirate Christmas".

Come see and hear what happens when Santa gives the elves a little time to relax on the beach in the Caribbean when they come across a group of scallywags.  These pirates mistake the elves for pirates with bags of treasure and Santa as the legendary pirate - White Beard.

The pirates and elves all travel to the North Pole to try to get the entire story straight.

This program will be presented by the 3rd and 4th grade students with a couple songs by the 4th Grade Ensemble.

The program will be on the stage at the Sondheim Center at 7:00 PM.  Please bring your students beginning at 6:30 pm.  The program should be done before 8:00 PM.

Hope to see you all there!!!

~Mr. G

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Compromise through modern technology

Mr. Owen and I share vocal music duties at the Middle School.  This year a great thing has happened for our students.  Last year the students had music every other day for a semester.  This year, the vocal music students have choir everyday for the entire semester.  This is positive due to the fact that our students now receive twice as much class time in choir than in previous years. This concentrated amount of class time has allowed the students to prepare more music in a shorter amount of time.

Mr. Owen and I had a discussion one time at the beginning of the year about the extra time with the students.  We joked about "Karaoke Fridays" every week.  The next thing we knew, we had decided to implement this idea on Fridays.  One reason for this was the basic thoughts of young, middle school choir students.  They always seem to sing out with volume and confidence as they sing along with the radio, yet when we are in class, they seem quieter while singing and not a sure of themselves.  By implementing "Karaoke Fridays", it allows the students a little time each week to sing popular songs and give them a chance to sing as if they were in the car.  This also brings some relaxation and additional "fun" to the classroom.  To give the students a little more ownership in this idea, Mr. Owen has set up a survey in google that the students can access and vote for songs each week.  Besides voting for songs on a list, they can use the form to suggest songs of their own.  Each week, we sing the top voted song each week for "Karaoke Friday".

Along those same lines, with the extra time to work on extra songs, we have decided to try to ad some of the more "popular" music to our class that the students will be more familiar with.  Just taking suggestions from students could be messy.  Again, Mr. Owen came through with a technological suggestion.  He set up another form that the students can access through their school e-mail.  This form lists many songs that were suggested by our students.  The list is very long, so the students will first be able to log in and choose their top 10 songs.  Then the top vote getters will be posted and the students will be able to vote once again. Through this method and the technology we have available at school, the students can help to choose music for the concerts and also have a say in some extra, fun songs each week.

Friday, October 14, 2011

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!!!!

Make plans to attend the Broadway Players of FHS's production of 
THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK.



Friday, October 28 at 7:30
Saturday, October 29 at 7:30
Sunday, October 30 at 2:00
in the FHS Auditorium.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Updated 5th Grade video

Here is the updated video of the 5th Grade Ensemble singing the National Anthem at the Fairfield High School Varsity Volleyball game on 10/11/11.  Check it out...

video

5th Grade Ensemble Anthem

I am really pleased to let everyone know just how proud I am of the students in the 5th Grade Ensemble!!!

Last night they sang the National Anthem for the Varsity Volleyball game against Washington.
We have had only two practices to prepare, and I think they did an AWESOME job.  If your student sings in the ensemble or you know someone who does, please pat them on the back and let them know how proud I am of the job they did.

Thank you for your students!!

~Mr. G


Click the video below to hear how well they did.

video

Monday, October 10, 2011

Busy Times!!!

I apologize for the slight pause in my posts, but a lot has been happening lately and I have fallen slightly behind.

Coming up soon:  5th Grade ensemble began just two weeks ago, however on Tuesday night we will be singing the National Anthem at the Varsity volleyball game at the High School.  Students should please report at 6:30 in the High School Gym.  Approximately 6:45 we will be moving to the hallway so that we can practice a couple times, and approximately 7:00 we should be performing the anthem.  Although we have only had 2 weeks of prep time, I am excited about how well they are following my direction and the sound they are putting together.

Next month, both Libertyville and Washington Elementaries will be putting on a Veteran's Program.  Students are working hard in music to learn songs to perform at the programs that will help us remember our Veterans and all they have given to keep our Freedoms that we all enjoy.

This last week has also brought our Winter program to my mailbox.  We will be performing in December at the Sondheim Center and we need to begin those preparations shortly to be ready in time.  Besides concert preparations we will still be concentrating on our regular classroom objectives such as steady beat, counting rhythms and enjoying new songs.  Fourth Grade Ensemble will also be starting this week, so please watch for permission slips to be coming home with your students.

Lastly for this week, I do believe the date has been set for the Middle School Vocal Music Program.  the program will include the 7th and 8th Grade choir and the MS Ensemble.  The concert will be at the Middle School on Monday October 24th at 6:30 PM.  We do recognize that there is also HS Volleyball Regionals that night, but it our intention to be done by 7:00 which should allow people the ability to attend both events.  Watch for more information to follow soon.

Thank you for your students and your support,
~Mr. G

Monday, September 26, 2011

Homecoming!!!

This week is Fairfield High School Homecoming Week!!!
Sing the school song proudly and loudly!!  Let your school spirit shine through!!!!  Enjoy the week!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Musically this was a historic week in American History.

Does September 14th ring any bells for you? Does this date sound like a very important date to you? September 14th is a great, country defining date in American history. However, many people are not familiar with its significance in our past.

The war of 1812 had broken out in the colonies and we were in the midst of a great battle with England over our declaration to become the rulers of our own free country. The battle raged on for a couple years, and on September 13th, two men set out to meet some British Brass to work out a deal for the mutual release of American and British soldiers. Negotiations went well, or so it seemed and the release of American prisoners was apparent. However, the statement was made that after that night, England would rule over the new colonies and the prisoners would be released anyway and would serve the British government. In order to ensure success, the entire British fleet was on the horizon and approaching Fort McHenry.

In response to this information, one of the negotiators stated that they couldn’t do that…it was primarily a civilian fort. The answer came back that all the Americans would have to do was lower the American flag and swear allegiance to England. As soon as the flag came down and was no longer visible, the shelling would stop and the assault would be over.

That night, Francis Scott Key stood on the deck of the ship and watched the ramparts of the fort being pummeled by rockets and bombs. He had to answer many constant questions from the men below the decks…”Is it there?” “Is the Flag still there?” Key would watch as the bombs exploded in the air and lit up the sky, and he would answer back that yes it was still there. The same banner that was there when it was turning dark was still flying during the middle of the night. When morning came and the guns had ceased, the questions were still coming. “By the light of the dawn, is our flag still flying over the ramparts?” “Is the American flag still there?” Key’s answer was yes.

On that day, September 14th, 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote about his experience through the long night before in the form of a poem. The poem he wrote was titled “The Defense of Fort McHenry”. Key had intended for the words to fit the rhythms of a well-known song of the time “To Anacreon in Heaven”.

Many years later, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson made an attempt to adopt this song as our National Anthem. Then in 1931, with the signature of President Herbert Hoover, a Congressional resolution was passed that officially named the “Star Spangled Banner” as the National Anthem of the United States of America.

his short history lesson through music will be shared with many of your students in my music class. It is a part of our history that is relevant even to our students today as they attend sporting and other events where our National Anthem is played at the onset event. It is my intention that with this knowledge they will have an understanding of the words that they hear and sing on such a regular basis and gives the song more of a personal meaning for them each as well.


Did you remember September 14th?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sept. 5-9

This last week we continued to work to introduce and review rhythms and counting for many of the older students.  We got to start playing "Rhythm Tic-Tac-Toe" with easy rhythms including quarter notes and quarter rests.  We will begin moving to more complex rhythms including eighth notes as well as half notes and whole notes.

With some of the younger grades, we continued working on steady beat while singing songs and playing some rhythm games that encourage steady beat.  We also began to play some games that invite the students to sing individually.  This includes singing with "Durwood", a stuffed dog puppet I use, and games like the "Button and the Key" game. It is funny to hear how much some of the classes cheer when I tell them we will be doing the button and the key.

This next week should bring more building of the basics we have started and even a lesson on the history of the "Star Spangled Banner".

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Getting Back At It

Well, the first week and a half are just about over.

With several of the younger classes we have done some work with steady beat.  We have even played some different games and learned some chants to help enforce steady beat.  The third and fourth grade students have started learning about and reviewing (respectively) about counting rhythms.  Of course all of the classes have worked on new music from "ABC Rock" to "There's a Hole in the Bucket" to "Dear Ole Daddy's Whiskers".

The fifth grade music classes got started for the first time earlier this week, however, due to the heat schedule, we did not meet for a second time this week.  Next week we should get into the swing of things.

Seventh grade choir has sung through many selections from about three different songs.  We worked on voice placement to help us sound like a choir of one voice, and it has made a difference in their sound.  I am very excited about their sound and how well they have worked in the heat.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Welcome Back Students!!!

School starts today for Fairfield Community Schools!!  Welcome back and we are excited to have you back!

My teaching duties include K-4 at Washington and Libertyville schools just like last year.  At the Middle School I am also still teaching 5th Grade General Music.  New to me this year is that I will also be directing one section of 7th Grade Choir every day.  This is also exciting because it doubles the amount of music that is being provided to our students at the Middle School level.

Watch for more updates soon.  It is great to be back with your students!!

Mr. G

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Let the Candyness Begin!!!!!!

Tonight is the opening night of FACT's presentation of "Willy Wonka"!!!

Tickets are available at the door of the Sondheim Center for $15 and $12.  Thursday through Saturday, performances begin at 7:30....Sunday is at 2:00.

Little hint.....sit in the first few rows for a chance at a little bonus!!


Get you Wonka On and come see "Willy Wonka" this weekend....

Thursday, June 2, 2011

School's Out for Summer

School is out for summer!!!!  Enjoy yourselves and get recharged for next year.

I will try to post some end of the year videos that we had made as well as some of the pictures from sing-outs at the end of the year.  Please check back to see when they might pop up!

Thanks for a great year!!!

~Mr. G

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May Update

Welcome to May Everyone!!!

Temperatures are rising and excitement is building as the school year comes to a close.  Even though time is short, it does not mean that we are sitting back on our heals and coasting.

Kingergarten Music

The kindergarten classes have earned a little bonus day recently and we have started watching a video about the 6 Pillars of Character.  These pillars include Respect, Citizenship, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Trustworthiness.  These characteristics have been a focus for the students throughout the entire year.  Besides that video, we have discussed the circus most recently.

The kindergarten students have had our own circus parades in our room that encourage the students to move and act like many of the circus performers that you would see if you were watching a circus parade.  We have had drummers, and acrobats and lion tamers and lions and zebras and even elephants in our parades.  The students have seen a little video footage from the world famous Ringling Brothers Barnum and Baily Circus.  This circus spends the winter months in Florida and each spring they load up the circus train and ride the rails to Baraboo, WI and the Circus World Museum.  The students are also aware that this Thursday, May 12th, there is a circus in Otumwa, IA.  Many have indicated that they are going to be there.

Very soon we will be acting out our own circus in the room and I will be recording it and hopefully in a couple weeks you will be able to check back on this blog and see our very own circus including the "Flying Finnegans", "Fearless Ferdinand" and the elephants.

First Grade Music

The first grade students have been discussing the use of music to help tell stories.  We have talked at great length about the music titled "Once Upon a Time Suite" that musically illustrates the story of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff".  We have taken turns being each of the goats as well as the troll.  Just like the kindergarten students, we will be acting this out and recording our play.  I will hopefully have the movies posted on the website for you to get a peak into our classroom.

A second project that we are working on has to do with the story "Peter and the Wolf".  We have spent several classes identifying the different instrument families as well as individual instruments.  Some of this discussion began with the story of the "Three Billy Goats Gruff" because just like "Peter and the Wolf", some of the instruments represented specific characters in the story.  After identifying the instruments and themes, we listened to the story to hear how the instruments acted with each other in the music to illustrate the story.  Currently we are working to color finger puppets to help tell the story.

Second Grade Music

In Second grade, we have continued to discuss the idea of music telling a story just like we did in the Kindergarten class and First grade class.  The biggest difference is that we have taken it a step further.  We had started our discussion by "Going on a Lion Hunt" and discussing the different ways the music and sounds help to tell the story.  Next we revisited the pieces that the First grade classes are working on and then took it one step further.  We really paid close attention to the "Peter and the Wolf" example and discussed how not just instruments can represent the characters, but also specific musical themes.  After an in-depth discussion, we were able to listen to the story of the "Sorcerer's Apprentice".  We identified each instrument with it's particular character or characters, but especially each character and its musical theme.  We were able to do a worksheet that had several statements about the plot of the story, and put them in order based on the music.  We will be using those statements to create a book that we will illustrate ourselves as we begin to further understand the musical story.  Secondly, for fun, we have begun to color our own brooms and buckets to put on our castle background in the room and create our own "Sorcerer's Apprentice" scene.

In the last few weeks of school we will be finishing these projects, as well as taking a final assessment to see how much we have grown in our rhythmic counting and identification.

Third Grade Music

After completing our concert in April, we have been able to relax a little.  We still have not taken time to watch the video of our concert, but we will soon.  We have returned to some of the music we were working on right before the concert and even have done a little dancing in class.  There are two songs in particular that we are doing that involve some type of movement.  "Four White Horses" involves a sort of clapping game that you do in groups of four.  If we keep the tempo slow, we can do this pretty well, but if we try to increase the speed, mass chaos kind of breaks out and everyone gets lost.  :)

The second song that we have is called "Coffee Grows on White Oak Trees".  This is a song that has words that don't seem to tell much of a story.  However, these words are actually the directions to a square dance.  We have worked one day on the dance, but many of the kids were smiling the whole time.  It was really great to see them try something so different and be open-minded enough to enjoy it.  I was extremely proud of the students for trying this!

Like the Second grade, we still have to complete our final assessment on rhythms.  That will have to wait till next week at the earliest though since today was our first performance of three for this week.  Today the 3rd and 4th grade students performed at the Fairgrounds for the Heritage Club.  Everyone sounded great and I think that the audience enjoyed our performance.  Two more performances left this week.

Fourth Grade Music

In the middle of our extra performances and trying to finish their final rhythm assessment, the fourth grade students have spent many classes lately working to learn to play their recorders.  We have not had the time for the recorders that I had intended to have from the beginning of the year, however, some of the students are working really hard and are working feverishly to get their belts.  Hopefully you hear your student at home working on their songs so they can pass as many belts before we run out of time.

We still have two performances during school hours this week of our Spring Concert material.  I know their performances are greatly appreciated in the public.  I am very proud of how well they are singing, and I see great benefits for these students in these extra performances.

Fifth Grade Music

All year we have looked at different composers each month.  The students are now beginning a computer project for the next couple weeks that involves these composers.  Glogster is a web 2.0 tool that allows students to create virtual online multimedia posters.  The students have the ability to add text boxes and change as well as rearrange the text in about anyway they can think.  They can also add pictures and illustrate them however they wish.  For composers, much of their work is about what you hear.  Glogs allow the students to add video and audio examples to help introduce their composers.  This is a fun tool for the students, and I hope to post some examples when they are done.

5th Grade Ensemble

The 5th Grade Ensemble has been working on three songs for the Spring Concert.  The concert will be on Thursday, May 19th at 7:00 PM at the Middle School.  The 5th grade students are on the concert first, and I do expect that when they are done singing, they will sit quietly and support the other groups on the concert.  After all, they will have the chance to be a part of those groups next year.  If there is a need for you to take your student early for specific reasons, please just see me and let me know.  It is a busy time and many families have very busy schedules.

The concert begins at 7:00 pm, please have your students come to the 5th Grade Music Room between 6:30 and 6:45 so that we can line up and be ready to take the stage at 7:00.  One final note that I have been asked to pass along is that there is a fee for the concert and school activity passes will no longer accepted for the Middle School concerts.  The cost at the door is minimal, but again, the activity passes will no longer be accepted at the Middle School Concerts.

Please have your students dress nicely and be ready to sing and have a great time.

One last note on the ensemble, after the concert is over, I am making plans to have them sing during school hours at Logan Apartments.  More information will be coming about this engagement.

Other Music News

Last night was the High School Vocal and Instrumental concert.  I was a great concert to end the year with.   The Music Awards Night that was scheduled for tomorrow night (Thursday, May 12) has been canceled for that night and there is some ongoing discussion about what the next steps will be.

The Middle School Choir students and Middle School Ensemble will be performing at the Middle School on Thursday, May 19th at 7:00.  Please remember that there is a minimal fee at the door and that school activity passes will no longer be accepted for the Middle School Music Programs.


Final Thoughts

As the year comes to a close, I want to thank everyone for your support of your students and our music program at all levels both instrumentally and vocally.  This has been a great year with several new things to try and I think we have had several successes because of these changes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Local Tour!!!

Today is the first performance of four this week for the students of Washington and Libertyville 3rd grades, 4th grades and 4th grade ensembles.

They will kick off the performances with a joint presentation for a luncheon at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds today at 12:45.  They will be performing the music from our spring concert that was so well received a short time ago.  They will not be doing the speaking parts, but they will be entertaining with the music.

On Wed, the Libertyville students will have two performances.  The first performance will be at the old hospital and will be a combined presentation with Washington again.  Then, after the conclusion of that performance, they will travel by themselves to perform at Sunnybrook on the West side of town.

Washington will be singing with Libertyville at 10:30 on Wednesday at the old hospital, then on Friday they will be performing themselves at Parkview at 10:00 am.

These performances are great for our students to be involved in and share their talents with many residents of Fairfield that might night have been able to come to the concerts.  They also will include relatives of many of our students, and I know they are looking forward to the performances.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Libertyville and Washington 3rd and 4th Graders are taking the show on the road!

Load the equipment.....
Board the tour bus....
Line up the security units and body guards.....
Or maybe just make sure your shoes are tied and get on the school bus......

We are hitting the road for our Jazz Tour...
Or at least we will be singing for many community members in our local area.


During the week of May 9th, which happens to be Nurses Appreciation Week as well as Nursing Home Appreciation week, the 3rd and 4th grade students will be doing several "sing-outs" using the music from our Spring Concert that was performed a couple weeks ago.

On Tuesday, May 10th, the students from both schools will be joining forces in song to bring the music from our concert to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.  The students were invited to come and sing to provide a little entertainment for a luncheon.  They should begin their performance around 12:45 and be completed by 1:15.  Buses will be loading approximately 15 or 20 minutes prior to arrival at the performance site. 

Then the following day, but schools will combine for a 10:30 performance at Sunnybrook Living Care Center located in the old hospital building.  This performance will last approximately a half hour, at which time the Washington students will return to Washington and the Libertyville students will take the bus to Sunnybrook Assited Living Center on the West End of Fairfield where they will perform the concert music by themselves at approximately 11:15, and will return to school by noon.

The last performance will  be the Washington students only, and they will be visiting the residents at Parkview Care Center on the East end of town.  This performance will be approximately 10:00 and end approximately 10:30, at which time the students will return to school.

The students have worked very hard on this program and I feel as if we are still riding the wave of appreciation that was expressed to us in the time since the program.  When they work that hard and sound that good, it is awesome that we are able to share this program many times over.

Thank you for your support....I am very proud of YOUR students.
Musically,
~Mr. G
 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Oompa Loompa Rehearsals Begin......

The Oompa Loompa Chorus 1 rehearsals will begin on Thursday, April 28th at the Middle School.  Chorus 1 includes students in grades 1 - 8.  Monday night is primarily a Chorus 2 night, however they are going over the same music we will go over in the after school rehearsals, so the Chorus 1 members are completely welcome to join the Monday night rehearsals.

After Thursday, the schedule will be as follows:

     Mondays.....3:30 - 4:00 in the Pence Elementary Music Room
                         7:00 - 7:30 pm in the High School Band Room
     Tuesdays.....3:30 - 4:00 in the Washington Elementary Music Room
     Thursdays....3:30 - 4:00 in the 5th Grade Music room a the Middle School

This schedule provides four opportunities for each student to come to a practice.  It is the desire of the directors that they attend ONE of the four rehearsals each week.  If your student wishes to attend more than one rehearsal, that is totally acceptable and appreciated.  These multiple times are intended to accommodate busy schedules without requiring only one possible time for everyone to schedule around.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Welcoming a New Blogger!!!

I want to take a second to welcome a new music blogger....Mrs. Keller has started a blog!!  I would like to invite and encourage everyone to check out her music blog and support her new form of communication.  Shortly there will be information on her blog in regard to the Pence Spring Program.

Check out her blog and enjoy her posts.

~Mr. G

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring Concert Recap


The 3rd and 4th grade students from Libertyville and Washington Elementary Schools presented their Spring Program on Monday, April 18th at the Sondheim Center just off the square in Fairfield.  The students presented a program that gave their audience a brief history lesson of Jazz and some of the musical styles that grew out of Jazz such as the Blues and Swing.

Each grade had a couple songs on their own that fit into the history of Jazz.  Besides the 3rd and 4th grade students, students involved in the 4th Grade Ensemble from each school also had a couple songs.  The entire students assembly also combined on several songs.  In between several of the songs, many students got the opportunity to come down front and read some of the history to the audience.

The show teased the ears with sounds of each type of music, but the senses were also satisfied by the giant projection screen behind the students.  The slideshow used for the program announced each song selection, as well as providing visual pictures of many of the great Jazz composers and performers that were mentioned throughout the program.  Many of the most well-known composer/performers were highlighted by some of the readers and were mentioned again in one of the final numbers that had a Jazz twist to a very famous Beethoven piece.  Ode To Jazzers listed 54 different composers/performers who influenced Jazz.

Besides our students from Libertyville and Washington not only shared the stage with each other, but they also shared the stage with one of the most well-known Jazzers…..Louis Armstrong.  Armstrong was born in 1901 and died in 1971.  The final song performed in the program was “What a Wonderful World” written and originally performed by Armstrong himself.  The students performed this piece on the stage as a slideshow of pictures from their individual classes played behind them for their parents to see.  The pictures were taken in the classroom, at recess and other places such as field trips.  Now, you may ask, just how did they share the stage with Mr. Armstrong?  During the final song there was a trumpet solo.  As you can see in the accompanying video below, Satcmo joined the students on the projection screen in a video as he played the solo to accompany our students.  What you can do with technology can really be inspiring.
video


Mr. Grunwald is very proud of the students and how they performed.  Many positive comments have been made by parents and shared with their students.  Mr. Grunwald wishes to thank all of the parents and guardians for their interest and support of their students musical endeavors. 

I have also included a clip of the second song on the program, which was the first combined song on the program as well as the final song in its entirety.

video



video

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

3rd and 4th Grade Sharing the stage with Greatness.....

For any of you who wonder just how it is possible that our third and fourth grade students shared the stage with a great trumpet player like Louis Armstrong, click on the video below.

For those of you who attended the concert on April 18th and really enjoyed the final slideshow and want to see it again...click on the video below.

Lastly, for those who might not have been at the concert and just heard about the final slideshow or want to see something fun you can do with technology... click the video below.

The following video is a portion of the powerpoint presentation that I created for our 3rd and 4th grade Spring Concert based on the history of Jazz.  The Louis Armstrong solo is not a perfect match, but considering what it took to get him in this presentation and have our students share the stage with him, I think it worked out pretty well.  Even if you are just interested in the student pictures only, enjoy.  The music used is the accompaniment track that was used and does not include the voices of the students.  I might take some time to add them in the future.

Thanks for visiting,
~Mr. G


video

Monday, April 18, 2011

Extremely Proud!!!

I am very very very proud of the 3rd and 4th grade students that participated in the concert tonight!!!  You guys did wonderful and even when your director makes a huge mistake.....you followed him!!! That shows how well you stayed focused and trusted me.  Thank you to you all.

Also proud to say thank you to Mr. Louis Armstrong (Satchmo) for traveling as far as he did tonight to play a trumpet solo for our final song!

Thank you to FPAC for providing people to help record our program and transfer it to DVD!!

Even though the program is over, I am still really pumped about the concert.

Please feel free to leave comments below about the concert if you liked the concert.  These comments will be shared with the students as they come in.  I hope to hear comments from many of you.

Thank you for your time, students and support!!

~Mr. G

Jazz: A Swingin' Celebration

Tonight is the night!!!


The wait is over!!!


Tonight at the Sondheim Center...7:00 PM,
the students of the third and fourth grades at 
Libertyville and Washington Elementary Schools
will be presenting their Spring Program
"Jazz:  A Swingin' Celebration"

Come see our youth present a brief history of Jazz, 
Blues and Swing.
We are excited to have you come tonight.  
Admission is Free

7:00 PM
Sondheim Center
Just off the Fairfield Square

Thursday, April 14, 2011

WOOOO HOOOOO!!!!! 600th visitor!!!!!

What an exciting day!!!!! 
600th page visit!!!!!
If I knew who you were and I had a little more money, I would buy you a New Car!!!!
However, in all seriousness.....I am extremely happy to see the 600th Page Visit today!!!
Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you found some fun and useful information and will tell others as well as come back for more!!
Thank You!!
~Mr. G 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Washington and Libertyville Elementarys to Present their Spring Concert

The third and fourth grade students of both Washington and Libertyville Elementary Schools will be combining forces to present their 2011 Spring Concert "Jazz: A Swingin’ Celebration".  This is a program that will bring some songs to the audience that will have them leaving the Sondheim Center, in Fairfield, snapping their fingers and tapping their toes. 

The audience will be treated to a brief history of a truly American form of music, Jazz.  The Blues, Swing, Dixieland......all of these will help show and shape the historical journey of Jazz in America.  Songs include pieces written just for this particular show such as Jazz, Jazz is on its Way and The Blues.  Besides the particular selections, there will also be a few recognizable, time-tested favorites from artists such as Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.

So, be cool cats and make sure to clear your schedules, shake your blues, and come hear the works and efforts of our Third Grade students, Fourth Grade students and the Fourth Grade Ensemble.

The concert will be Monday, April 18th at 7:00 PM.  Admission is free.  If you are bringing students to perform, they should be at the Sondheim Center at 6:30.  The program should be approximately 45 minutes.  Come and Enjoy!!!



Monday, April 4, 2011

April Happenings

Two Big Announcements to start everything off....

Monday and Tuesday,
April 4 & 5, 7:00 PM
Auditions for "Willy Wonka"

Auditions will be held in the High School Auditorium beginning at 7:00 PM.  For those interested in the chorus, please come to hear about the production and practice schedules.  Then, at 7:30, any Middle School Student wishing to audition for a Character Role will audition.  Adults may audition from 8:00 - 8:30.

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Libertyville and Washington Elementary
3rd and 4th Grade
Spring Program
Monday, April 18th at 7:00 PM
Sondheim Center, Fairfield, IA  
 
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K-2 General Music

The students in Kindergarten through Second grade have been working on several individual musical aspects.  The Kinders have been working on Piano, Forte and other dynamics.  The First Grade students have been working on clapping and counting Quarter Notes and Quarter Rests.  The Second Grade students have spent a lot of time recently working on the notes of the staff.  They have really mastered the Treble Clef notes, but we have just started the Bass Clef notes and that is a little more of a challenge.

All three of these grades are beginning to work on music to help tell a story.  The Kinders will soon be listening to some circus music and we will be having our own little circus in the room.  I am planning on video taping this and posting it at some point....please watch for our circus.  The First Grade students have just begun discussing the story of the "Three Billy Goats Gruff".  We will be identifying some instrument families with this music and listening to and discussing how each of the families or individual instruments help the listener follow the story without having to rely on words.  Lastly, the Second Grade students began a "Lion Hunt" this week.  We will be working a little more with the idea of music telling a story as we discuss and listen to the story of the "Sorcerer's Apprentice".  We will be doing some art-type projects to go along with the story as we learn to listen to the music and understand the story without words.
For the Second Grade students, I would appreciate it if you could send the cardboard tubes from your toilet paper rolls to school with them.  I would like to collect them because we will be making some binoculars to take with us on our "Lion Hunt".

Grades 3 and 4, and 4th Grade Ensemble

The 3rd and 4th grade students have been working quite hard to prepare for their Spring Concert.  It is hard to believe that we are down to our last 4 rehearsals in order to pull this show together.  I know that I am nervous, and there may be some students who are also nervous.  Nerves are good though as long as they don't get the best of us.  Instead, they help us to remain alert and perform to the best of our abilities.

The program will take place at the Sondheim Center in the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center.  A letter has been sent home with all 3rd and 4th grade students explaining concert expectations and arrival times.  I would like the students to dress in nice clothes and to report at 6:30 for the 7:00 show.  The show will be under an hour in length and the students can then be picked up after the show is done.  Please see the note that was sent home for more specifics.  If you have questions, please feel free to e-mail me at john.grunwald@fairfieldsfuture.org.

Other happenings with the students in grades K-4....
The First - Third Grade students will be attending a performance of "Into the Woods" by Way Off Broadway this Friday in the afternoon.
The Fourth Grade students will have two 30 minute assemblies this week with members of the Iowa Symphony Orchestra.  They will be bringing down members of the Brass Section one time and members of the Woodwind Section the other time.  Last year they brought down several members of their string sections to play for the students.

Fifth Grade Music and Ensemble

Fifth grade has been doing a little more work with composers recently.  We have finished discussing Chopin and will be starting Richard Wagner.  Two of his most recognizable pieces are "The Ride of the Valkyries" and the "Bridal Chorus" from the Romantic Opera Lohengrin.

 Something I would like to try with these students is a unit on "Movie Music".  Not necessarily "Who wrote the music for Star Wars?" or "What movie was this theme written for?".  Instead, I would love to have a discussion about how the music in a movie helps to enhance the mood being portrayed in the movie and how it helps to move the plot. We have all watch scary parts of movies and can recognize that the music puts us a little more on edge.  I have some examples of the same movie clip using three totally different types of background music.  Part of this discussion would be how each one works with the clip, yet, how does it change the meaning of the clip for the person watching the movie.  This will be exciting for the students if I can work this in this month.

Fifth Grade Ensemble has been working hard each week.  We now have three songs that we are feeling pretty comfortable with.  We still have some time before our concert and will hopefully be working on a fourth song.  It is also my intention that towards the end of the year we will take our music and hit the road.  I would like to take them to sing at one or to of the housing complexes in town for some of Fairfield's Senior population.  They always seem to enjoy a visit from students, and I think it is good for our students to sing for them and interact with the senior members of our community.

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This may seem like a short update, but time is flying and we are doing some highly concentrated activities right now.  Thanks for coming back time and again to keep up on what your students are doing in music.....your support is greatly appreciated!!

~Mr. G

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New York or Bust!!!

Leaving today with the HS Choir students for New York City!!!

Depending on time and convenience, there may be updates as we go....if not.....see you when we return!!!










See You Soon!!!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March Happenings...

March is here and hopefully you are feeling lucky!!

Here is a taste of what we are working on and what is yet to come in my world of Elementary Music...


Kindergarten


We are still working our way through the alphabet by learning a different song for each letter.  Some of the latest letter songs that we have worked on include the letters D, K, X and Z.  There are still many more songs to come.  These songs are very familiar tunes, so ask your student if they can sing any of them for you and you just might be able to sing along with them.  Of course some of the depends on how long we have worked on that song.

We have also continued with games such as "The Button and the Key" which encourages the students to sing by themselves in front of the class.  This gives me the chance to hear each student sing individually and monitor their growth as the year continues.  There are also songs that we are revisiting and working with such as the "Little White Duck".  We are using this song to help us tell a story and act out that story.  The students take turns putting on colored capes and becoming the Duck, Frog, Bug and Snake as the class sings along.  They then act out the story as we sing.  Fairly soon we will be acting out some circus acts to music that encourages the students to soar on a flying trapeze, tame lions and lead a circus parade.

The latest game we have just started is a take off on the old favorite "Duck, Duck, Goose" (or Duck, Duck, Grey Duck if you are from Minnesota).  The tendency for students playing this game is that as they go around the circle using Duck, they tend to be fairly quiet as they say Duck.  Then, as excitement builds, they get really loud as they tap someone and exclaim GOOSE!!  This tends to be universal and I am sure many of you even remember this as a child. Well, in music, there isn't a really good reason to play Duck, Duck, Goose in its original form.  However, when we discuss dynamics in class (P = Piano and F = Forte) the students learn that Piano is soft or quiet and Forte is loud.  Now when we play "Piano, Piano, Forte", the natural tendencies of soft, soft, loud really help the students to understand the difference between loud and soft and remember the terms Piano and Forte.


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First Grade
The first grade students recently have begun a rhythmic journey through quarter notes and quarter rests.  Based on some assessments, I would like to see a little more background in this area as the students become second grade students next year.  I will touch base on this a little more with the upper grades.

While discovering the actual notes and rests, they are also learning how to correctly clap and count these rhythms in such a way that they will hopefully enjoy more success in later years and especially when they get into band and choir situations in years to come.  One way I am introducing this concept to them as first graders is to take a game that I used with the upper grades and introduce that in a simpler format to the lower grades.  I think everyone agrees that Tic-Tac-Toe is a game that most students know how to play.  This is a simple game that has some strategy to it, but it is still easy enough for all students to understand how the game works.  Once again, tic-tac-toe in the music classroom might raise eyebrows in it's original form just like Duck, Duck, Goose.  However, in our version, the students are presented nine different rhythms laid out in a tic-tac-toe fashion.  In order to get a particular square on the grid, one student has to choose an available square and then correctly clap and count that particular rhythm.  If they do this successfully, then they get to place their X or O in that square.  Play continues by a person from the other team choosing a square and the process continues.  Unlike the original game, if a student doesn't perform the rhythm correctly, the team does not get that square.  This places extra emphasis on understanding the rhythms and their ability to clap and count them correctly.  As the students progress, the rhythms can get harder and harder.  The possibilities can be endless.

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Sometime in the near future, these students will also continue to discuss the idea that music can help tell a story.  Recently we listened to the story of the "Bremen Town Musicians."  The next big story that we will be working on soon is the story of the "Three Billy Goats Gruff."  The students will be listening to the orchestral music and will identify the instruments or groups of instruments that help to tell the story.  Once the students are proficient at this, then they will begin to act out the story as they listen to the music.  There will be no words involved, instead, the students will be able to identify the story through the music alone.

Second Grade
The second grade students will be learning a few more songs that involve tall tales.  We have learned all of the verses of "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" and talked a little about the actual person and his legacy in American History.

We have also begun some in depth work on the notes of the treble clef.  We will be starting to dive into the notes of the bass clef shortly.  We have identified the notes on the lines and spaces on the board, learned a couple songs to help us remember the notes and order of the notes on the staff, and will be playing some games soon including a type of relay race to learn the notes as well as other games such as "Lines and Spaces Bingo".

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As we continue towards the end of the year, the second grade students will also talk about using music to tell a story.  We will be looking at the story of the "Sorcerer's Apprentice".  This is a very very old story that music was written for many years ago.  Walt Disney took that story and molded it into the version that most of us are familiar with from his movie "Fantasia".  There has recently been a live action movie released based on that very scene from Disney.  The students will learn and understand the story, discuss the instruments and musical elements used to help illustrate the story with our ears, then create some art-type activities to be displayed in the halls or rooms at school.  This is a pretty intensive work period, but very fun at the same time.

Third Grade
The Third Grade students have taken a short break from counting rhythms recently to work to prepare for the Spring Concert.  They will be involved in several songs with the Fourth Grade students as well as a couple songs of their own.  They have been working the longest on the songs and are really accomplishing their goals quickly.  This will allow us to return to counting rhythms and notes very soon as they become more comfortable with the concert music.

Fourth Grade
Just like the Third Grade students, the Fourth Grade students are really trying to multi-task.  We have recently started working on our recorders.  However this has been a little slower than anticipated due to the fact that they are also having to work to prepare for the Spring Concert.  Just like the Third Grade students, they will be doing several combined numbers as well as a couple individual Fourth Grade numbers.

As far as recorders, several have earned their white belt, which is the first belt available for them to earn.  To earn this belt, they have to successfully play "Hot Crossed Buns" for me in a testing situation.  They need to use the correct hand, do the correct fingerings and play all of the correct rhythms.  Once they do this successfully, they earn their white belt.  A couple of the students have started to earn their yellow belt which is a song based on the same three notes they have already learned, but they now have to use breath marks to determine where they can breathe, and this has to be played much more legato, or smooth.  Once again, I will be sending notes home soon to remind you to please send $2.00 for your student's recorder if you have not done so yet. 

Fourth Grade Ensemble
The Fourth Grade Ensemble has really impressed me this time around.  We have been working on a hard song for the Spring Program and they have picked it up much quicker than I expected.  This week we will be starting a new song for the concert that I think they will enjoy and many of you will recognize from some point in your lives.  Some of the words of this song fit the theme of our program like it was written just for it.

Third and Fourth Grade Washington/Libertyville Spring Concert
This year the Libertyville and Washington Third and Fourth Grade students will be combining to bring you a Spring Program titled Jazz: A Swingin' Celebration.  This a is program that came in a magazine subscription that was purchased with funds from one of the parent groups at the end of the year last year.  I would like to thank the parent groups for the support they provide for our classrooms.

This program touches on a little bit of the history of Jazz in the United States, its roots as well as other branches of music that began through Jazz.  The students have learned the names of several Jazz artists as well as how this music all ties together.  There is a little Swing, Jazz, Dixieland and Blues.  Artists are mentioned from Duke Ellington to Herbie Hancock.  This should be an exciting program for all.

The program will be performed at the Sondheim Center in the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center on Monday, April 18th at 7:00 PM.  For more information on the Center, please click here.

Fifth Grade 
The Fifth Grade general music students have been continuing  a real mix of things we have been working on.  Sometimes I think this variety helps to keep from being stuck in a rut.  We had spent some time working with Boomwhackers and basically learned the "Batman Theme" from the original TV series.  It didn't take long for the students to recognize the music, however it was still hard to play and stay together.  We might try another piece before too long.  If we pull out "Batman" again and can do it well, we just might record it for you to hear.

Other than that, we have continued our composer background.  In February we were discussing Beethoven.  We have taken a couple days to watch a movie called "Beethoven Lives Upstairs".  This is a story of a young boy whose Mother rents the upstairs of their home to Beethoven after her husband has passed away.  This story takes place towards the end of Beethoven's life when he is working on his 9th Symphony.  He is already deaf and obviously frustrated by  this fact.  At first the boy is frightened of Mr. Beethoven, but over time he begins to understand Beethoven and they forge a bond.  The movie illustrates Beethoven passion for music, ill temper for those that he doesn't agree with and his compassion for other humans.  I feel this movie really highlights Beethoven's music and personality in a very student-friendly way.  If you have not ever seen this movie, I would suggest looking into just for fun.

This week we will continue our tour of composers with Frederic Chopin.  We will also continue sing some of the songs from our book.  The latest song was the traitional Calypso style song "Sloope John B".  This sparked a discussion about Calypso music and some of the other songs we know and have sung.  We also discussed Harry Belefonte and some of his music.  It is my intention to learn this song and add some classroom instruments to this song to make it a little more involved.

Fifth Grade Ensemble
I am very exciting about a couple songs that we are about to start with the Fifth Grade Ensemble!  I have seen some videos and heard some recordings that really have me excited to try some things with them that are a little out of the ordinary in some respects.  Part of what we have tried so far has been received quite positively from many of the students. Watch for our concert dates to be coming up soon.  I hope you can come and join us and find out what we are all excited about.

As for the other classes and upper levels, choir rehearsals are progressing well and the High School students are working on contest music as well as anxiously anticipating their New York trip which is less than two weeks away!!

Enjoy your March and check back frequently for more updates and even some videos.

~G

Thursday, February 24, 2011

5th Grade Ensemble

I would just like to say that 5th grade ensemble on Thursday mornings is awesome.  Your students come with a lot of energy and excitement.  Today we looked at a piece for the spring concert and they site read the music and did it well!!  I am very impressed by their energy and efforts and I just wanted to let people know how great they are and how much I like working with them on Thursday mornings....too bad it is only for 10 minutes.  :(

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Washington and Libertyville Pirates Have Set Sail to Seek Treasures in Books!!!


On Thursday, Feb. 17th and Monday, Feb. 21st, the students of Washington and Libertyville Elementary (respectively) set sail on a Pirate Adventure.  Their goal???  Find exciting gems and treasures in books!  ARRRR!

This was the kick-off days for the reading incentive.  These pirate kings and queens will be bringing home reading logs and are asked to fill them out based on the requirements of their age and school.  Each week that your student returns a completed reading log, they will be awarded prizes for their participation in this treasure hunt.  Prizes vary depending on the school.  These weekly prizes could be anything from pirate garb to root beer floats.  What stays the same between the schools however is that each student needs to read at home an return completed reading logs on time to receive these prizes.

During the kickoff, the students had all learned two pirate songs to be able to set sail on this adventure.  At Washington Elementary, teachers even wrote a short skit to introduce the reading incentive.  The students also were treated to one of the two videos below to help them get into the right state of mind to dig deep into books for buried treasure.

Once their treasure hunt is over (four weeks), those scallywags who have completed enough reading logs successfully to meet the requirements laid out for the grand prize, will enjoy their grand prize after returning from spring break.  Help your little Matey's to fill out and return their reading logs each week so that they can be eligible for the grand prize.

So.....train your trusty parrot to say "Read to me matey!!!", swab the deck and prepare for anchors aweigh as you are invited to become an active pirate yourselves in your young pirate's quest for buried treasure......those gems and priceless treasures buried in BOOKS!!

LET THE ADVENTURES BEGIN.......






The following videos were used to help inspire the students to be pirates who don't do anything....but read.

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