Sunday, January 16, 2011

January Happenings...

Well, things have been really hectic lately, so I apologize for the tardiness of this post.

Kindergarten General Music

The kindergarten classes are now playing catch up.  Currently we are catching up on some of our letter songs that we had neglected during the preparations for the winter concert.   These songs are used to reinforce the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make.  We have tried to keep up with the classes as they learn their letters for a little cross-curriculum work.  The latest letters we have worked on are the letters F and G.  Ask your students about "Gert's Grandpa Gregory" and "Five Fast Fishes" to see if they can sing their new songs to you.

First Grade General Music

The first grade students have been getting back into the routine also.  Currently we are beginning to talk about telling stories with music.  We are starting the story of the "Bremen Town Musicians".  This is a story of a cat, a dog, a donkey and a rooster that all leave to join the Bremen Town Band.  On their way the meet up and end up foiling a robbery at a farm house along the way.  As you can guess, with these animals, there are a lot of chances to incorporate sounds from the students.  Later this year we will be listening to the music that was written to tell the story of the "Three Billy Goats Gruff".  The students will become very familiar with how the music helps to tell the story and they will be able to act out the story without words.

Second Grade General Music

The second grade students are beginning work on a unit that they always seemed to enjoy in past years.  We have started to sing the song "Old Dan Tucker" where Dan is so mighty that he combs his hair with a wagon wheel and has a tooth ache in his heel.  This helps to introduce the idea of "Tall Tales".  We will continue to talk about what tall tales are and will sing some more songs about tall tale characters.  We also have started working on learning the notes of the treble clef staff.

Third Grade General Music

Part of the third grade curriculum this year has been focused on reading and counting rhythmic patterns.  Just last week we started working on a rhythm that uses quarter notes and eighth notes.   When the students count and clap this rhythm correctly, they hear how it matches the title of the body percussion piece we are working on called "I Don't Like Homework".  The use of this phrase helps to drive home the rhythm the piece is built on.  This piece has four different parts to learn and the goal is to divide the class into four groups, each performing their individual parts to create the entire sound ensemble.  We will also be starting music that they will be performing at the 3rd and 4th grade Spring Concert.  More information will follow about this concert at a later date.

Fourth Grade General Music

Fourth grade music classes will be finishing a computer project that they began back about December.  Each student has been working on a slideshow/movie on the computer that utilizes songs that we had worked on in class at the beginning of the year.  Back in September, we studied several patriotic songs that define some of our American values and beliefs.  Some of these songs help to tell our history, while others just express our own pride.  The students were given a choice of several songs we discussed and sang.  They then searched for pictures that helped to illustrate the words of the song or its part in our history.  In the future, I hope to post a video or two as examples of their work.  As with the 3rd grade classes, the 4th grade classes will also be starting music for their Spring Program.

Fifth Grade General Music

At the Middle School, the 5th Grade Ensemble students performed at a concert the day after returning from break.  The 5th grade general music classes have continued to learn about famous composers in class.  This month's featured composer is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  Each month we learn a little about a different composer and look at their life and do some activities to tie their facts together.  Besides learning about composers, we will be learning some new songs, working more with rhythms, musical symbols as well as treble and bass clef notes.  This week we will start working on a new Boomwhacker Song.  Previous to break, we worked on the boomwhacker accompaniment for the song "Whacky Winter Song".  This week we will work on a throwback for several people to the "Batman Theme" (na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na Batman...).

Fourth Grade Ensemble

Fourth grade ensemble is beginning some new music this week.  They will be performing at the 3rd and 4th grade Spring Concert.  The concert this year will be based on Jazz Music.  The program will talk about the history of Jazz in America as well as some of the other genres of music that have been influenced by Jazz.  One song that we will be beginning with is an old classic "It Ain't Got a Thing if if Ain't Got That Swing".

Fifth Grade Ensemble

Fifth grade ensemble will be starting new music this week also.  They will perform at the MS Spring Concert.  This concert will most likely be in May, however a date has not yet been.  Currently two songs that have been selected to work on are "Bless Our Troops" and "It's a Hard Knock Life" from the musical Annie. I also intend to take some of the music we learn for this program, as well as some other music we have worked on in class or earlier in the year, and sing them at one of the housing complexes in town.

Middle School Chorus

The Middle School Chorus has a brand new start since it is second semester.  This new group of students started by being placed in voice parts in class and getting their seating arrangements.  Before long, the class format will be second nature to them and they will be working hard for their performance at the end of the year.

HS Choir Students / Lessons

The High School students will be working in lessons beginning this week.  It takes a lot to organize all of the student schedules into a working lesson schedule.  They will be working on improving their own individual musical skills while working on music for the Pops Concert and Spring Concert as well as state contest music.

GYZ

The GYZ rehearsals have kicked off once again last week.  Rehearsals will continue to be on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and after school.  Some changes in that schedule will occur based on the availability of the directors, but the members should plan on making rehearsals based on that schedule.  The GYZ will be bringing back "Goodnight Sweetheart" from Chocolate Sunday this fall and adding a few other songs to it.  The newest song that was started this last week was the well-known Beach Boys hit "I Get Around".  Another song that is in the possible stage is a spiritual titled "I'm Building Me a Home".  This should be a real fun and exciting challenge.  Watch for the group at the Pops Concert and the Dinner Show.

I hope you and your students have a great start to the new year and the second semester!!
Watch for more updates each month.

-Mr. G

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A quick post for your viewing pleasure...MS Winter Concert

I has been my pleasure this year to work with the 5th Grade ensemble as well as some limited work with Mr. Owen and a couple of the Middle School Chorus classes.  For those of you who were able to attend the concert, I hope these clips bring back some good memories.  For those of you who were not able to attend, I hope you enjoy these clips and get a nice glimpse of the work our Middle School Students had done.

The 5th grade ensemble opened the concert with two songs.  The first was "Christmas Dinner".  This song was written by Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary fame.  The second is from the musical "The Princess and the Frog", it is titled "Dig a Little Deeper".  When you first clicked into this page, you could hear the recording of the 5th grade students singing "Christmas Dinner", now you can see their faces.  Both songs have a really nice message that I am sure the entire ensemble understood.  Click below to see and hear the 5th grade Ensemble.


video



This next video is kind of a "Highlight Reel" of the 6th, 7th and 8th grade Chorus.  I edited the songs down to give you a sampling of their music from the night.  They performed five songs on the concert.  All of these songs are edited down, but are still contained in the video below.


video

The final ensemble to perform on the concert was the Middle School Ensemble.  They performed two songs, and those songs are featured in this final video in their entirety.


video


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Totally Stoked and Proud!!

Today, with the help of a couple staff members, I was able to post my fifth grade ensemble on my blog as my background music!

This is a song I have wanted to perform for a long time with a group of students.  These students did an awesome job.  What you are hearing is their performance last Tuesday evening at the MS Vocal Music Winter Program.

I am very proud of how well they performed this piece and I am very pleased to be able to share it with you in this way.

Thanks and enjoy (videos will be posted later),

- Mr. G