A sweet little first grader student asked me the other day, a little exasperated, "Mrs. Krejci, WHY does everyone think it's already Christmas?? It hasn't even been Thanksgiving!" I smiled and told the class, "It does seem like people are in a hurry for Christmas, doesn't it? Well, in music class, we are working on Christmas songs because when you come back from Thanksgiving, it will be time for our Christmas program. If we waited until December to start our songs, we wouldn't know them well enough for the program!" And, it's true! We've been working on Christmas music for the last several weeks, mixed in with other lessons. The 4th graders even have an entire recorder song prepared for the program. I am so proud of this group this year! Every 4th grader will be showing off their new recorder skills at our December 11th program. I've included a video of them practicing the song "Fum, Fum, Fum." This is just a brief preview of what's to come at this year's program! We hope to see you and your family at our Annual FPD Christmas Program. This year's title is "The Angels Celebrate," and it's about how the angels in Heaven remember and celebrate Christmas. We have two performances on the 11th--one at 1pm and the other at 7pm.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Viking Music Room to your family! This week with the PK and K crowd, we worked on our singing voices with a fun Thanksgiving solo singing game. Each child got a turn to play the boomwhacker and sing his or her favorite Thanksgiving food. We had the usually reponses--turkey, macaroni and cheese--and the creative answers--pizza, salad, blueberries. It was a lot of fun and made our tummies hungry. We practice lots of solo singing in order to get our voices in the right spot for singing (our head voice instead of our chest voice.) I also told the students that they can play this game at home; they don't need me! See if your child remembers it. The words are:
Group: Turkey and stuffing
And pie and the rest,
Tell us Mrs. Krejci (fill in name)
What you like the best!
Solo: I like sweet potatoes.
Group: She likes sweet potatoes.
Here's a video of a Kindergarten class singing and playing a round of the game. Enjoy!
In 3rd grade this year, we've really been focusing on playing the Orff instruments (xylophones, metallophones, and glockenspiels) and learning the different melodic pitches of the major scale. We have been learning these elements through lots of American folk songs. In October, we learned a song called "Tideo." We're not sure who Tideo is, but in the song, he (or she!) is definitely on the move--passing windows all over town. This song helped us practice our melodic pattern of Mi-Re-Do, which we sang with our voices then put on the instruments. We also learned a fun folk dance done in two lines. Enjoy the pictures and videos of a 3rd grade class in action!
I love teaching music during the month of October. There are just so many fun songs and activities that go along with cooler weather, holidays, apples, leaves, and of course pumpkins! In Kindergarten we learned a song called "Pumpkin, Pumpkin." We added some movement, an instrument, and a little game. The song tells about a pumpkin becoming a jack-o-lantern, so at the end of the song, one student was the "face" leader and got to have everyone copy his/her best jack-o-lantern face. Then, another student got to play on our Chinese gong. This is a great way to introduce one of the more unique instruments in the music room and talk about how to be nice to our instruments. Here are a few pictures and a video of one class in action!
In PreK-1st grade, we've been talking about musical opposites the past few weeks. We've talked about high and low, fast and slow, and this week it was loud and soft. First graders learned the musical terms "forte" and "piano" to describe loud and soft music. All grades learned a song with loud and soft and got to play a fun guessing singing game. This is one of my all-time favorite activities to do with the little ones--it's just so much fun!! The song is called "Grizzly Bear." During the course of the song, we sneak up on a hibernating bear and wake him up. When we act it out, our sleeping grizzly gets tapped awake by another student. Upon awakening, the grizzly has to guess who tapped him or her. It's a lot of fun and really cute to watch! Below, you'll find pictures and videos of the game in action from Mrs. Hinson's class and Mrs. Rutledge's class. PreK Grizzlies in Action (It was also "Dog Day" for the letter D, hence the costumes :) )
We started out our 2nd grade classes this week doing a folk dance that is believed to come from Russia called "Sasha." Sasha is a nickname for the Russian name Alexander or Alexandria. We got to count to three in Russian--"ras dva tre"--and do a fun partner hand clapping game to practice the steady beat. Here are some pictures and videos from various classes performing "Sasha." This is a folk dance that is truly fun for ALL ages!
Also this week in 2nd grade, we learned a new song in question and answer form called "Viking, Viking." (It's traditionally called "Quaker, Quaker," but we make good use of our school mascot in this one!) We first learned where all our Sol, La, and Mi notes lived in each line. Then, we took turns using Mrs. Krejci's box of animal "neighbors" to sing solos. The class sang the question, and each student chose an animal neighbor to sing the answer. And, the students didn't know it, but this gave me a great time to do a beginning assessment for solo singing and pitch matching :) This one is always lots of fun! Here are some pictures and videos of the game in action.
On Sunday, September 14, our National Anthem turns 200 years old!! I talked about the event on the announcements this week, and grades 2-4 studied the history a bit more in-depth in music classes. The "Star Spangled Banner" actually has a very interesting history! Perhaps as a family you'd like to do some more investigating. I'll give you a few resources in a minute.
Some Quick Facts:
The "Star Spangled Banner" was written during the War of 1812. British ships launched attack on Fort McHenry at the harbor of Baltimore, MD on September 13, 1814
They shots rockets and cannons for 25 hours!
The battle ended at dawn on September 14, 1814.
Francis Scott Key, a Baltimore lawyer was being held on a British ship during the attack. He was so inspired by the sight of the flag being raised at dawn (the star spangled banner, he called it), he wrote the poem which would become our national anthem on the back of a letter he had in his pocket.
The "rockets red glare/the bombs bursting in air" gave Francis Scott Key hope through the night "that the flag was still there"--meaning, that the American military had not surrendered.
Key only wrote the lyrics to the national anthem. He set those to a popular song of the day called "Anacreon in Heaven." The music was actually by a British man named John Stafford Smith and was first published in 1779. (Look below for a link to hear the original version!)
The "Star Spangled Banner" is actually 4 verses long, but only the first verse is really ever performed.
It became our National Anthem by congressional resolution in 1931.
Pieces of the original flag that flew over Fort McKinley during the battle are still on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.
We are off to a terrific start in the music room this year! Grades 1-4 have been learning instruments the past few weeks. The excitement for 4th really intensified when they got to take their recorders home last week. This week, we started using the Quaver interactive recorder music. We play along with music videos with our recorders. The pictures and video below are of a class performing the song "Walk Like a Mummy"--we actually got to showcase our very own "mummified" walks in the interlude. Reminder: the Recorder Resources tab on my blog has all the music and info for these students to play at home!
We played with some lights off for the added effect :)
Students in 1st-3rd started an instrument program this week called "Mallet Madness." Each grade does a similar set-up, but has varying levels of difficulty. This instrument focus is all on the Orff keyboard instruments--xylophones (wooden bars), glockespiels (bell-like quality), and metallophones (metal bars). We've been going over the 3 Bs of mallets--bicycles, bounce, and bellybuttons. Ask your child to see if they can tell you what those 3Bs mean! The neat thing with Mallet Madness is that everyone plays all the time AND we rotate instruments! We have really been learning about what it means to be on a team and have respect for each other. And, we've been making cool sounds! Below are pictures of our set-up and a video of a 1st grade class demonstrating the "Hands Together" technique.
We are off to a great start in Elementary Music! We are starting out the year with steady beat
movements, name games, and instruments.
The 4th graders this past week helped me make practical applications
from my summer course in World Drumming.
Back in June, I was able to take a week-long training session for music
teachers in drumming, mostly in the West African tradition. One of our instructors was actually
originally from Ghana. It was a great
experience for me to learn music in a completely non-Western modality. West African drumming instructors use a lot
of listening and watching, as opposed to talking or reading musical notation. I was challenged to become a better musician,
and I know our students will appreciate the challenge associated with drumming. We were having so much fun with our call and
response name game last week, that I did not take pictures of the 4th
grade classes in action. However, here
is a picture of our class set of tubano drums.
Having these drums for the students gives them a literal hands-on,
multicultural musical experience. Even
in elementary music, we are learning about how big God’s world is and how many people
groups there are that He cares about! You’re welcome to come drum with us
We use three sizes of drums as a group: low, medium, and high. Each "voice" has a unique sound.
During the month of April, 5th grade chorus members had a chance to help me try out the brand new Quaver's Marvelous World of Music Curriculum. It's an interactive, multimedia program for grades K-5. It's a very impressive product!
One of the components of the 5th grade curriculum is called the "Commercial Jingle Project." Over about 7-8 class periods, students worked in small groups to create a promotional package for a fictional product. They came up with a product, a poster for their product, a 30 second ad copy (the "spiel" for the commercial) with live background music, and a catchy jingle with recorded backing tracks.
We took two days to present our commercials in class. It was sort of like the 5th grade equivalent of Shark Tank! Below are a few videos of some of the presentations. There's a video of each group's ad copy with background music and a video of their jingle. You'll see the videos for Relax Central (a comfy chair for school), Cutty Cutters (a programmable hair-styler), and Micro Magic (a microwave-style product that creates any food you program it to!).
*Note: Please forgive the poor quality of these videos. I was filming on my iphone while simultaneously running the sound for all the groups.
Music classes in grades K-5 have been using materials from Quaver's Marvelous World of Music this school year. This is an interactive approach to music education. We watch 12-14 minutes episodes on topics like beat, meter, the musical alphabet, instruments of the orchestra, and loads of others. Quaver is sort of like Bill Nye the Science Guy meets Doctor Who and teaches about music. The series is very well done and the students retain the knowledge! There are also interactive quizzes, games, and activities that we do together. Recorder students and chorus members have helped me test out a free, all-access pass to the new Quaver curriculum with play along recorder teaching track and creating commercial jingles. The great thing about Quaver is that it supplements my teaching; it does not replace what I do!
Below, I've copied the letter to parents on the Quaver website. There is an entire online component that kids can access and use at home. They can compose their own music for fun right at home! They need an online account (it's totally free), but they do need parental permission to sign up. I've shown most classes the website in music class, so they know their way around. If you'd rather us have your child use the account I made for school, you can do that.
And, for an extra special bonus video, I actually met Quaver at the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) Conference this past January. I showed the kids, and they all thought I met a rock star :)
The feather boa was THEIR idea :)
We are so glad you found your way to our world!
Maybe your child came home today talking about Music Class . . . going on and on about an awesome lesson their teacher taught and a new friend named Quaver they met along the way. Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music is home to cutting-edge resources for today’s music teachers. Our interactive Programs give your child’s teacher new and engaging ways to bring music to life for their students!!
Students in classrooms using Quaver will be introduced to Quaver’s world via fun, video episodes – a place filled with musical adventures that is part Bill Nye the Science Guy, part Beakman, and part Monty Python all rolled into one. Teachers may also use Quaver’s cutting-edge teaching resources on their Interactive Whiteboards or mobile devices, enhancing the technology in your child’s classroom!
Or maybe you’ve been looking for a way to encourage your children to love music at home – to enjoy listening, creating, and learning more about it!
QuaverMusic.com is a great place to start - an interactive virtual world that gives your child the freedom to create, explore, and learn about music in a safe, age-appropriate world they will love. Teachers use QuaverMusic.com to distribute assignments and reinforce lesson objectives with musical games and quests. The site is free to students at home or in the classroom – so they can continue to foster a love of music wherever they are.
The elementary students performed in our Annual Grandparents' Day show on March 28th, 2014. Our theme this year was "An American Patchwork: A Collection of Folksongs." The students sang, danced, played instruments, and put on a fabulous show. I am so proud of all their work! As always, we were delighted to have a full house of grandparents and special friends come to join us. I think the students really enjoyed singing songs and having their grandparents say, "Oh! We sang that song when I was in elementary school!" It was a neat way for the children to bond with their grandparents over music. Thank you for all your help and support of the Fine Arts here at FPD! Hopefully, when these children grow up, they will be able to share musical memories with their own grandchildren! Below are a few pictures from our performances!
We are a little over 3 weeks out from Grandparents' Day. We are putting all the elements of the program together. In 5th grade, we've taken an old folksong called "Turn the Glasses Over" and put a relatively new tradition with it. The videos below show the 5th graders performing the Cup Game to the song while they sing. And, this is one piece of their performance! The song also has a dance and parts for Orff instruments. Enjoy this sneak peak!
Our 1st and 2nd graders are working on learning "Home on the Range" for Grandparents' Day. I am amazed by how much they love this song! They enjoy learning a song that their parents and grandparents know. We also have been talking about meter--how the beat is grouped. We usually hear music in meters of 2, 3, or 4. This song is in a meter of 3. So, as we learned the song, we also learned to keep the beat to the meter of 3. We felt the STRONG-weak-weak beat while using body percussion. Here's a 1st grade class on their first day on this song!
We are about a month away from our Elementary Grandparents' Day program. Again, this year's theme is "American Folk Songs." In classes, we are busy learning the songs to sing, as well as the instrument parts that accompany theme. Most grade levels are also learning a traditional folk dance. The students are working hard to learn all the "nuts and bolts" of our songs. They are learning how all the parts fit together to make a whole. Here are a few pictures of the xylophones in action!
Our Grandparents' Day Music Program is coming at the end of March 2014. This year's theme is one I am very excited about--Traditional American Folksongs. This music encompass many styles, genres, decades, geographical locations, and historical events of our country. The students will be learning music that has been passed down from generation to generation. Think of these as "songs everyone should know."
Second-grade students have been hard at work learning the song and dance to "Alabama Gal." We've talked about how a long time ago, kids didn't have computers, video games, or TV to entertain themselves. They had to create and invent their own fun! This song is from the Play Party tradition; kids would get together, sing, and do choreographed dances to the songs. I think the kids have really enjoyed learning this one!
In 2nd grade this week the students figured out the rhythm and pitches to an old favorite, "Lucy Locket." First, we figured out the rhythms of the song. We used rhythm sticks on the carpet to show the rhythm. Then, we figured out the pitches using Solfege--so, mi, and la. We then transferred those pitches to the Boomwhackers and sang the Solfege names. You'll see this in the first video below. Then, we finally added in the words of "Lucy Locket." In the second video you'll see the completed version. As a reward for their detective skills, the students got to play a fun passing game while singing the song!
Using Solfege (So, La, and Mi) to sing the song with the rhythms we notated on the carpet.
Finally! We get to put the words back in to the song after all our "detective" work.
The 4th graders have really impressed me with their recorder skills this year! I just posted the next belt levels. Remember, these songs and all the belt levels are posted under the "Recorder Resources" tab. I can't wait to debut the Black Belt and a few "challenge" belts--be on the look out for those in the next few weeks!