Kindergarten – We loved performing in our very first concert, and we hope you enjoyed watching as much as we enjoyed performing for you. We sang many songs this quarter about the cold and snow. Songs teach us that notes can go up and down, and we learned how to echo phrases in songs. With the New Year, we began all new songs and rhymes, echoing about no more pie, moving to classical music selections, and playing drumsticks to a Winnie-the-Pooh song. We do stay busy!
1st grade – After working very hard on our program music, we also learned to read the rhythm ta and ta-ti. We sang and skipped with partners on “Skip to My Lou,” worked on a tricky hand-clapping pattern with “Pease Porridge Hot,” and discovered that after all of that steady beat business, the tempo can change (“Michael Finnegan”). We always sing high and low notes, but these last two weeks we actually named them so and mi.
2nd – This quarter had us also working diligently on our program music, and we had a great time trying to remember all of the ways a Christmas tree can be different. After the New Year, we reviewed reading rhythms including quarter notes, eighth notes, and quarter rests. But we learned that there can be four sounds on a beat, which makes the sounds very fast (sixteenth notes). We practiced ta-ka-ti-ki’s with “Jelly in a Dish” and “Amarillo Armadillo.” I began the process of singing songs on sight, and I am always amazed at their ability to read notes even at their young age. We learned a folk dance with “The Noble Duke of York” and “Down the Ohio.” You might also ask your students to sing “The Prettiest Girl” to you, a song about sipping cider.
3rd grade – Of course we too began this quarter working on the Winter Program. We had so much fun figuring out moves to the song, “Better Bundle Up,” and wasn’t our soloist amazing? “Jingle Bells” seemed like an easy choice until you realized that our third graders pulled off singing it in two-part harmony! After the winter break, we focused on reading rhythms and pitches on a staff, sight-singing a new song. Finally, we learned how to dance the “Peppermint Twist,” sang “America,” and practiced several crossover patterns on the xylophones with a cute song called, “Three Little Monkeys.” Your 3rd graders are becoming fine musicians.
4th and 5th grade – Speaking of musicians, these students are very talented, so I planned for them to really show off in the program. They sang three songs, adding lots of popular moves to their second song, and finishing up with a beautiful two-part arrangement of Auld Lang Syne. I was so proud of their accomplishments at the program.
4th grade – After the New Year, we jumped right into playing recorder, and they quickly figured out how to make a beautiful sound, while also reading notes. This is when all the time we have put into reading rhythms and singing pitches comes together as we play our recorders. I love watching their progress!
5th grade – We hit the ground running after winter break, jumping right in with sight-reading songs, which means the students have to figure out how the song should sound without hearing it first from me. They read the rhythm, and then the pitches, and finally, they sing the song with the text. We began to learn a new round called “To Stop the Train,” and tried a little jazzy piece that allowed us to improvise on the xylophones.
All 5th grade students will be asked very soon which music class they want to take in middle school, so it is time to start that discussion with your child. If you have any questions about next year’s music choices, feel free to call or email me any time. (Email will get a quicker response.)