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.


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

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

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.


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


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