Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Elementary Choir Sings at Sunny Knoll

The Elementary Choir is made up of 27 third and fourth grade singers. They had their first performance of the year for Sunny Knoll Nursing Home in Rockwell City on Tuesday, December 18. Rehearsals begin again on January 15, and they'll perform for a concert at the Middle School on February 19. They'll also sing for the third grade concert in April, and a few will attend a the KidzSing Festival on May 18 in Sioux City. Special thanks to Mrs. McChesney for accompanying on the piano, and to the moms who brought treats for the party after we sang.

Monday, December 17, 2012

First Grade Nutcracker Dances

The first graders have been studying Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker. We talked about how ballet tells a story with music and movement then explored the building blocks of dance: traveling movement, turning, moving from high to low, and moving close or farther away from the body or from the group you're moving with. 
After learning the story and watching the beginning of the ballet, we've been comparing three versions of the dances from other countries that happen while Clara and the Nutcracker Prince are at his castle. Students watched, noticing that the music was the same, but the movements changed. They did a great job of finding the building blocks of dance in each example. 
These are pictures of students doing their own versions of the Russian Dance from Nutcracker. You can hear the music at this link Russian Trepak from Nutcracker. There are other versions available if you search YouTube. The dances may be different, but Tchaikovsky's music is always the same!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Listening for Pitch

It's been a great week for work on pitch (high and low sounds).

The second grade has been playing a listening game called New Shoes where we sing a song and play a little movement game, then listen carefully as I sing a pattern on neutral syllables. So far we're using three tones (sol, mi, do—high, middle, low). The students try to figure out what I sang and use hand signs to show the answer. Then someone sings the answer and I confirm by singing the syllables so they know if they're right. They've been amazed how many times they have the right answer, and I've been VERY happy to see that so many ears understand how this works!

The kindergarten class has been starting to work on sol-do patterns. Many of them can correctly identify patterns when I present them with neutral syllables. I'm amaze at their retention! Since I had all of these children last year, they're far ahead of where many of my kindergarten classes typically are in fall. It's very exciting to see their level of understanding after all the classes we had in pre-school or transitional kindergarten! Their timing (steady beat) is also ahead of what I usually see! That means we'll get to more sophisticated music making sooner this year!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

First Grade Bug Music

As we explore un-pitched percussion instrument families (the woods, metals, shakers, scrapers, and drums) we added some bug movements, matching the movement and the sound. I explained how I saw dragonflies landing on top of each other to rest after flying on a lake. We tried to recreate these "sculptures". Later we listened to instrument sounds that described how bugs moved and tried out all the movements. Finally students got into teams of 4 to create sounds with instruments and had the other teams guess which bug they were depicting with their sounds.
Mrs. Ricke's First Grade dragonfly sculpture
Mrs. Hucka's First Grade dragonfly sculpture
Mrs. Henely's First Grade dragonfly sculpture

Mrs. Wuebker's First Grade dragonfly sculpture

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Week of Patriotic Songs

It's been a couple weeks filled with songs that represent our country or our flag. Each grade level learns a patriotic song, so over the years they get a collection of songs they know by heart.
  • Kindergarten will learn America (My Country Tis of Thee) *
  • First grade learned America the Beautiful *
  • Second grade learned You're a Grand Old Flag
  • Third grade learned God Bless America *
  • Fourth grade is learning The Star-Spangled Banner  (National Anthem)
* These songs are often sung in place of or in addition to the National Anthem at public events.

Here is a link to information and recordings of the Star-Spangled Banner from the National Association for Music Education webpage for National Anthem Day.

While we studied patriotic songs we also reviewed the song that stands for our school and its teams: The SCC Titan Fight Song. Students are encouraged to stand out of respect for the school and teams, sing along with the band or cheerleaders, and clap the beat. Here are the words in case you'd like to join them.

Titans, Titans, all cheer for thee.
To our colors loyal are we.
Strong, united, victorious to be.
Rah, rah, rah for SCC.
Titan, Titan loyalty.
Onward to victory.

If you'd like some history (along with an Iowa connection) or want to hear the tune, here's a link.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Patriotic Musical Moment

Last week in music class we listened to a popular patriotic march in honor of Patriot Day and National Anthem Day. It is called Stars and Stripes Forever composed by the "March King" John Philip Sousa. We activated the listening experience with a flag waving routine. The instructional focus included Steady Beat and Form. You may share a musical moment with your child by downloading this exciting piece of music and listening to it together. To purchase and download the recording we used in class, go to music4you.lorenz.com and click on Parachutes and Ribbons and Scarves, Oh My!

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Good Beginning

It's been a good beginning in the Music Room this year! Kindergarten through third grade classes are working on showing the pulse (or steady beat) or making patterns to the music using the body as an instrument (stomps, pats, claps, snaps—we call it body percussion). They also learned that everyone can sing, and part of our work is to learn to use voices well. This week we made class recordings of familiar songs so we can see how much improvement there is by the end of the year.

Second and third graders are reading rhythms, and half of the third graders have finished their rhythm composition that we will use next week with Oki Na Taiko, our Japanese song about drums.

Fourth Grade has had a bit of a slow start, but they're working on compound meter rhythms and will begin using their recorders the week of September 17 (Homecoming week).

September 14th is National Anthem Day, and we'll be celebrating by having the fourth graders learn 
  1. when and why Francis Scott Key wrote it
  2. to sing verse 1 from memory
  3. why we don't sing verse 3
Choir is taking awhile to get set up, but we'll get started in October when 3rd and 4th grade football is over. Some of the boys out for that team want to sing, and we'll wait until they're available. I'll get out the specific date when we have everything ready.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

We're Off and Singing (and Moving) for a New Year!

The Preschool and Transitional Kindergarten classes will come to the Music Room next week, but everyone Kindergarten through Fourth Grade has been there at least once. It's great to be making music together again!

After all the great learning the kids did last year, I have high hopes for this year! Last year's student goal was to read what they could sing and play. This year's goal is to write what they can read, sing, and play. I have a long list of games and fun activities to lead students to music reading and writing success.

If you have questions please email me or send a note.

Looking forward to a great year!

Mrs. Panning