Thursday, December 20, 2012

2nd Grade discovers rhythmic dictation

Last month, the 2nd graders worked with rhythmic dictation (listen then write what you hear). Each student had a partner and a page to work with while we listened. We listened to the 4 beat rhythm twice before trying to write it down. It was tough to work together, but everyone worked out a system to complete their work quickly and easily.
 Working together to get the job done!

 Waiting for others so we can share!
When students completed their listening, one of the teams was invited up to the SMART board to present their work to the class.  The fun part of this listening exercise was tapping the black rectangle on the SMART board, which revealed if the team had listened really well!

Showing our work to the class! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

1st Grade Snowman Dances

First Grade has been listening to selections from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker this month.  Over the last few music classes, we have composed a snowman dance to the 'Trepak' movement of this piece.  Using music educator Tracy King's snowman designs, the children created a series of movements to accompany this piece of music.  Classes had the opportunity to choose their motions from the pictures shown in class.

Here is what Ms. Conrad's class chose:

and what Ms. Kotarba's class chose:

We talked through the form (order) of this piece which follows an ABAC pattern.  Enjoy the 1st grader's Snowman Dances!

Ms. Kotarba's Class

2nd Grade Composes

2nd grade has been hard at work composing and practicing a song about Fairy Tales.  We all had the opportunity to work in groups to create parts of our song.  Each class was divided into 5 groups and given a snowman outline.  Students worked together to use the bottom part of the snowman to write their rhythm and lyrics for their part of the song.  After our first day of work, most of our projects looked like this:

 During our second day of work, students gave their snowman a melody in the snowman's midsection.  Each group had a soprano glockenspiel in which they could experiment with three pitches, So La and Mi to create the melody for their part of the song.

 The finished product included the dynamic marking in the top part of the snowman.  Not many groups reached this part of the project but all groups worked hard to complete as much of their part of the song as they could.
Here is a finished product:

I took the completed student projects and pieced them all together, adding a beginning and ending to help the piece feel complete.  We have practiced and will perform our song this week!

Students performed their song at the Holiday Sing on December 21.  It took two takes before we were able to capture this video of the 2nd grade singing their creation and you can hear how difficult we made our song- we had no idea!  I hope you all enjoy their composition!

It's always a Good Time in Music

5th Grade has been working on a project that we hope to show soon!  All I can say is that we are having a Good Time!  Check it out!

Friday, December 14, 2012

1st Grade performs "Romper, Stomper and Boo"

The 1st Graders had a glorious time performing "Romper, Stomper and Boo", a story from our series Spotlight on Music.   We worked on Piano (soft sounds) and Forte (loud sounds) and worked with different instruments.  We took several music classes to get everything just right for our video performances to share with our families at home.  It was so much fun and the singers really took a lot of pride in their work.
Unfortunately, my video camera has failed and did not allow me to load the videos into a format you can see at home.  Don't worry!  Many more creative videos are to come- maybe even before Winter Break!  Fingers crossed!

Kindergarten Acting

Kindergarten has been learning many things in the Music room.  We have been focusing on following the heartbeat on paper and on the board (tracking) and on fast vs. slow.  Fast and slow have been loads of fun!  We have learned several songs including 'The Old Gray Cat', a song from our series, Spotlight on Music. 

We learned 'The Old Gray Cat' first by using our visual literacy skills to talk through the story and the challenging vocabulary words found in the song.  For example, the cat does not come sneaking, he comes creeping and the mice are not eating but rather nibbling the cheese.  So if your Kindergartner has been telling you that he or she is nibbling dinner and learned that word in Music class, it's true!

One of the last things we did with this song was to act it out.  We had such a BALL!  I was able to take a few videos of their acting skills, but unable to post them due to some glitches with my video camera.  The singers and I will take some new videos to share with you soon.

4th Grade Foley Art

4th Graders are currently working on a project in Art, Music and Literacy centered around tall tales.  In music class, students are adding the sound effects to accompany the tall tales written in class and the shadow puppets made in art to create a performance piece to perform in the music room.  We have spent some time watching how the professionals recreate sounds for movies and television.  Here are some of the videos we've watched.

LA Times

Gary Hecker

We have been amazed by their work!  It is giving us lots of ideas for our performaces.  Students have been using the music room instruments to experiment and create the best sounds to accompany their shadow puppet plays.  I can't wait to see the final production!  Look for some videos after Winter Break of their amazing work!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Rhyme Time with Kindergarten

One of the literacy goals in Kindergarten is to learn about rhyming words.  What better place to do that than in Music!  There are so many childrens songs that use rhymes.  The best part about them is that they are so fun to sing!  We have been singing "Oh, A-Hunting We Will Go" for the last several weeks.  Our favorite parts are when we sing about the bear in underwear and the pig in a wig. 

We use many books in the Music classroom, including "Oh, A-Hunting We Will Go".  Below is the version I like best- the illustrations are wonderful and the sequence matches the version we sing in class. 

Image via
ISBN # 978-0-689-71503-7

Next, we'll be singing "Down By the Bay" which is another one of my favorites!  Just wait and see the verses we compose!

Friday, November 16, 2012

District 4th and 5th Grade Chorus Concert a HUGE Success!


You and your families should be proud of your wonderful work.  Remember to check the schedule to see when our next rehearsal will be.  Don't forget about your Chicago Steel Ticket orders!  They are due on December 3rd to take advantage of the discounted rate. 

Don't have an order form?  See Mrs. Passini ASAP.

2nd Grade Bounces through Music!

Music uses combinations of comparatives/opposites to create interest.  One of the opposites 2nd grade has been exploring is strong vs. weak beats.  Strong beats are something you have to feel, so we have been practicing locating strong beats with our bodies, instruments and tennis balls.  Yes, tennis balls! 

Students practice feeling the beat by bouncing their tennis ball on the strong beat and catching it on the weak beat.  Some of us are still chasing the runaway ball across the carpet but most of us are really feeling the strong beats! 
One of our first attempts to bounce the tennis balls.  So far so good!

 If a ball bounced away from any student, he or she raised a hand and a classmate would roll the ball back to the hand that was up.  It worked fantastically well! 

Here we are trying strong beats with the tambourines.  While students were not playing the tambourines, they were clapping along to show the strong beats.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Instrument Centers

After our trip to hear the Symphony Orchestra, we ended our instrument unit with centers.  Students had a great time using the SMART board, listening to "The Monster Mash" and playing Instrument Memory.  It was a fun way to finish up our unit on the 4 Instrument Families.  Check out our fun below!
Instrument Memory

At the SMART board students had to take all of the instruments
and place them into the correct family.  When the group was finished,
they tapped the 'check' tab to see if they were correct.
There were lots of "YESSS!" cheers!

One center was to reflect on the concert we had just returned from seeing. 
Here is an example of what most students found to be most memorable.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

1st Grade explores Forte and Piano!

If you peek into the Music room this month, you might see the 1st Graders popping up and down like popcorn!  No, it's not because we are hungry, it is because we are exploring forte and piano.  Forte is the Italian word for 'loud' and piano is the Italian word for 'soft' or 'quiet'.  Since all musical markings are written in Italian, we learn the terms in Italian as well as English. 

Students listened to the March from "Jeux D'enfants" by Bizet.  They listened for the sections that were forte and piano.  When the music was piano, the students made themselves as small and quiet as possible.  When the music was forte, the students made themselves as large and loud as possible.  They really looked like popcorn!  As you can probably guess, forte was our favorite. 


We read a story from Spotlight on Music (our district music textbook) called Romper, Stomper, and Boo.  Watch the blog for performances of this story over the next few weeks!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

3rd Grade Orchestra Field Trip!

What a fun morning!  We traveled to Wheaton College to see the Wheaton College Symphony Orchestra perform but before we went into the auditorium, we walked through campus to see Perry's Mastadon.  The Mastadon was recovered from Perry's Pond in the 1960s.  Perry's Pond is right here in our town!  It was exciting to see all of the information about the Mastadon before the concert.

On to the concert!  After reviewing concert ettiquite, we entered the auditorium ready to listen to the music.  Little did we know we would also be treated to a magic show with local magician, Mike Folker!  Mr. Folker was fantastic!  He talked about how music can be colors for your ears.  He created many memorable works of color including a backwards American flag (he later fixed it) and a bright rainbow!  All the while, the orchestra played many familiar tunes, including Variations on America  which we listened to in class. 

Here are some links to videos of the music we heard at Wheaton College:

Sabre Dance by Katchaturian
Thus Sprach Zarathustra by Strauss
Storm Movement from Symphony #6 by Beethoven
March Militaire by Schubert
Violin Concerto in G Major Op 12 #1 by Vivaldi
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Bach/Stokowski
Variations on America by Ives

The students and teachers enjoyed our trip!

In our seats waiting for it to start.

Very excited!

Our teachers were excited too!

Some of us got to sit with our friends.

Our reaction to the question "How was the concert?"

Friday, October 12, 2012

3rd Grade- "Variations on America" by Charles Ives

Next week the Third Grade will be traveling to Wheaton College to hear the Symphony Orchestra perform.  One of the pieces the orchestra will be performing is Charles Ives' "Variations on America".  Ives wrote this piece when he was 17 years old!  It was then arranged for orchestra by William Schuman to "create more variety" (exerpt from Music Express Magazine October/November 2007).  We will hear the orchestral version next week at the concert.

"Variations on America" is based on the song "America (My Country 'Tis of Thee)".  This song is the theme of the piece can be heard in all 6 variations, each a little different than the one before.  Some variations are sad, some are fancy!  Some variations start sad and then become happy! 

The students use a listening map to help organize the sounds they hear.  The listening map for "Variations on America" tells students about the mood of the music using smiley faces (Music Express Magazine, Octoer/November 2007).

 Students moved bingo chips to show which part of the music was heard.  They especially loved the variation with the Spanish flavor!  There was much dancing!

Pictures of our field trip will be posted to the blog at the end of next week.  I am looking forward to our trip and hope the students are too!

5th Grade- Drumming

In 5th Grade, students have the opportunity to experience new instruments during music class time.  We started this year with our world drumming unit.  This unit travels through all of the district elementary schools during each school year.  We have these drums until October 26, when they will leave Lincoln.  The students have been having a great time and are excited to be playing fun rhythms and songs.

These students are playing the Djembe and Conga drums. 
Ask your 5th Grader to tell you which drum is which!

Fast hands in action! 

I am hoping to post a video of our playing one of our favorites soon.  Not only do we play the drums but also the Shekere and Agogo Bells to add in a complement.  Coming soon: more pictures and videos!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"Monster Mash" Listening

Students in Kindergarten, First and Second Grades have been listening to the song "Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett.  Pickett released this song in 1962, making this song 50 years old- JUST like Lincoln School!!

Students were able to show what they heard in the music by coloring with rules.  Each part of the listening house has been colored according to what they hear. 

This student heard music that was loud and colored the shutters red.

This student heard music that was soft and colored the shutters purple.

I like this activity because I get to see what they hear.  It sounds funny, but it's true!  Here is a nearly finished product:

From this picture, I can tell everything from if the music was loud or soft and if the student liked the music or not!  If you are a parent of a Kindergarten, 1st or 2nd grade student, watch for this page to come home in the next week or so.

Friday, October 5, 2012

4th Grade- Bobby McFerrin

Many students have asked for the link to the video we watched of Bobby McFerrin performing live.  Click the link below to watch this impressive performance!

Live performance of "Drive"

4th Grade- Bobby McFerrin

4th Graders learned all about Bobby McFerrin, an amazing vocalist.  Most adults know him as the 'Don't Worry Be Happy' singer.  Yes, he is the composer of that piece but did you also know he is the sole performer of that song?  He used his voice in as many ways possible to create all of the vocalizations found in that song.  Don't believe me?  Click on the link below to explore with Bobby McFerrin's voice!

Don't Worry Be Happy Game

2nd Grade "Step in Time"

In September, 2nd Grade Singers learned the song 'Step In Time' from the musical, Mary Poppins.  Students discovered that reading music can be difficult, especially when the verses are written on top of one another!  We sang the song and practiced following the words all month and now we are experts!  As a treat, we watched this live performance of the Broadway Cast of Mary Poppins when they performed on a recent season of Dancing with the Stars.

 Dancing with the Stars- Step In Time

Presto Largo

Here is a fun video about tempo, or speed.

Presto Largo Video