Music Happenings – December Update

Dear Families,

It’s hard to believe it’s already December.  The school year sure is flying. Each grade has accomplished a lot during the month of November.  

Kindergarten has learned how to create steady beat motions to song.  This is considered to be part of creative movement. Creative movement is crucial at ages between two and seven.  It allows children to express themselves. In addition, it allows them to develop locomotor and non-locomotor as they move to music.  Moving to music allows children to feel beat, rhythm, and phrases, which makes it easier to play an instrument. Most often musicians have to feel the beat to play in proper time, with accurate rhythm, and expression.  

First grade has learned about the difference between beat and rhythm through the song Rain, Rain.  We used hearts to show the beat of the song and rain drops to show the rhythm of the song.  Children learned how a song can have a rhythm that contains two sounds on a beat. They have also learned about high and low through the songs Cobbler, Cobbler, Seesaw, and Snail, Snail.  Children have used cubes as a visual representation to demonstrate where the high and low notes are within these songs.   

Second graders have been learning about phrases, rhythm, and a round.  With the song Here Comes a Bluebird, we discussed how one note contained two beats and how the end of the second phrase does not contain a sound.  We discovered how a note containing two beats is called a half note and when a beat has no sound we call this a rest.   2nd grade students also felt accomplished when they sang Frere Jacques in a round.  Half of the class sang the round in English and the other half sang in French.   

Third grade students have been learning recorder.  We have learned about proper technique to help us get a beautiful sound.  In addition, we have learned 5 notes, which is a huge accomplishment, considering most students usually learn three during this time.  Students learned Hot Cross Buns and we are currently in the process of learning it in two parts.  Some of the songs we sang this month include: Weevily Wheat, which is a song containing syncopation and multiplication.  We have also started learning hand signs to songs we are singing.

Fourth graders are learning their instruments very quickly.  They can play four notes on the D string and are able to change from one note to the next.  We have also improved a lot on our right and left hand positions. In addition, we learned to play Rolling Along, which is the first song we have learned on our instruments.  Students will continue to work on note reading next month and will use flashcards to help them become fluent note readers on their instrument.

Fifth graders began learning notes on the open E string.  They have improved immensely on their note reading. In addition, we have been working on changing from one time signature to another.  This skill has helped us play an arrangement of Stravinsky’s Firebird, which changes from ¾ to 4/4 time.  This is an advanced skill for students who are on their second year playing.  

I am very excited for December as we play and sing tunes related to the holidays.  In addition, we are preparing for our Winter Sing in January.  We will discuss how to perform our best for an audience.  Keep on practicing and singing.  

All the best,

Ms. Waldman