A look inside Music at FPD

A look inside Music at FPD

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Apple Tree, Apple Tree

Fall is in the air, and that means songs about apples, pumpkins, and leaves.  It also means a new pitch on Music Street for 2nd graders!  We've been learning about "Do" in 2nd grade the last few weeks.  Do lives at the bottom of the Music Street.  You might think of it as the first note of a musical scale, or "Do, a deer, a female deer" if you are a Sound of Music  fan. We often find Do at the beginning and end of a song.  In "Apple Tree," we go the entire song on Sol, Mi, and La, and Do sneaks in at the very end.  The students decoded the solfege and rhythms in this song, then we added back in the words.  After we had learned the song, we added a bass xylophone ostinato (a repeated pattern) and the game.  See if you can figure out how the game is played from the videos of 2nd graders below! There are also some photos of the game, song, and instruments in action.  

Hot Cross Buns

We have added a new pitch to Music Street in 3rd grade--Re.  We decoded the pitches and rhythms of the folk song "Hot Cross Buns."  The only three pitches used in "Hot Cross Buns" are Mi, Re, and Do.  First, we practiced singing our new pitch with our solfege hand signs.  Then, we decoded the pitches of the song, "Hot Cross Buns."  Next, we figured out the rhythm patterns of the song.  After that, we added back in the words to the song and headed to the instruments.  We set up our instruments in G Pentatonic (means "five tones") and I set the students free to figure out how to play the song on their instruments.  And, they did it!  Using their aural skills, each student tested out their instrument.  We collaborated as a group to fine tune the patterns.  Finally, we added in the solfege and the words.  In the video below, you'll see our final result!  And remember, all this took place in our 40 minutes class period--these 3rd graders are amazing! :) 


The song name "Hot Cross Buns" usually elicits some giggles from students.  Our American brains don't immediately make the connection to the tasty baked good this song is about.  This is a folk song from England about a bun eaten on Good Friday. It is a spiced sweet bun filled with currants or raisins, and there is an icing cross place on top.    In previous years, I've spotted hot cross buns for sale at Panera Bread around Easter time! 

Hot Cross Buns ready to eat!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Doggies, Bears, and Beat Buddies--Oh My!

We use our imaginations in the music room all the time!  This week, 1st grade and PreK/Kindergarten have been pretending to be animals in two fun music games.  We use games in the music room to practice the musical concepts we've been learning about.  Play is such an integral part of childhood that it helps children grasp and remember ideas.  

1st Grade

We are learning about high and low sounds in 1st grade.  Last week, we met two friends on Music Street named Sol and Mi.  This week, a new friend, La, moved in.  La lives higher up the street, so he has a higher sound.  

The song "Doggie, Doggie, Where's Your Bone?"  has our new friend La in it.  We learned the song, found where Sol, La, and Mi are in the song, and then we played the game.  This song also has a chance for everyone to sing a solo!  When the children solo sing, I'm able to assess their ability to match pitch.  Watch the video below and see if you can figure out how the game works: 


With the youngest Vikings, we just finished up talking about four different ways to use our voices.  Ask your child if he or she remembers all four!  (They are whisper, talk, shout, and sing.) This led us into our exploration of musical opposites.  This week, we explored the opposites of loud and soft.  We learned a song called "Grizzly Bear."  The grizzly bear starts out asleep (soft voice) and then wakes up at the end (loud voice).  There's a great game that goes with this song.  We used our Beat Buddies to fill in for the grizzly bear and to show the difference between the loud and soft parts of the song.  Here are two videos of Kindergartners playing and singing: 

And, just because they did such a good job with the Beat Buddies and showing opposites, here are a few pictures of the class in action!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Engine, Engine

We spend most of 1st grade covering essential musical concepts that build a foundation for all musicians.  The things we learn in 1st grade are STILL important in 2nd grade, 5th grade, high school, and for professional musicians!  Two concepts we work hard on are pitch and rhythm.  For our pitches, we are beginning with high and low sounds, specifically Sol and Mi.  Our rhythmic building blocks are the rhythms ta and ti-ti (you might know them better as quarter notes and eighth notes.)  

We learn these concepts through experience of the music--with our voices, with our bodies, with instruments, and with play.  This week, we are experiencing pitch and rhythm with the fun song "Engine, Engine, Number Nine."   After we learned the Sol-Mi patterns for the song, we learned the words and the rhythm, learned the instrument part, and played the game.  All of this was accomplished in 40 minutes! :)  Below is a video of a 1st grade class combining all these elements.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Have You Ever Heard Such a Sound?

This week is a BIG DEAL in 4th grade music class.  The student received their recorders!!  Our first lesson includes how to put the instrument together, how to use steamy air and hole-ly fingers to produce a great recorder sound, and how to start our air with a "too" sound.  The students have done an amazing job!  A lot of patience is required for this very first lesson, and the 4th grade classes have made me so proud!  

So, what does a brand new recorder player sound like???  Watch the video below for a 4th grade class making some of their very first sounds on their recorders.  I think they sound great!  

And, 4th graders, remember to click on the "Recorder Resources" tab at the top of the page for your very own section to this website!  

Added Bonus:  Here's the link to the Recorder Master Game! 

Lost Pockets, Howling Wolves, and Review Galore!

2nd Grade

In 2nd grade last week, we reviewed three pitches from Music Street--Sol, La, and Mi.  These three pitches (or musical sounds) make up a bunch of songs.  We learned the song "Lucy Lockett Lost Her Pocket," which has a fun guessing game that we play while we sing the song.  We also added in a simple instrument part on the bass Orff instruments to review our technique.  Singing games like "Lucy Lockett"  really help to reinforce the concepts we're learning.  Plus, they are fun! 

Here is a video of a 2nd grade class in action:

Waiting to start the pocket-passing!

All set to play the bass Orff instruments while the class sings

3rd Grade

We also reviewed the pitches Sol, La, and MI in 3rd grade last week.  Plus, we reviewed basic quarter note and eighth note rhythms.  We learned the song "We Are Dancing in the Forest" and the students figured out ALL the rhythms and pitches in the song.  Then, we added some Orff instrument parts for review.  On the Orff instruments, we use the 3 B--Bicycles, Bounce, and Belly Buttons.  We hold the mallets like we're holding bicycle handle bars and we bounce off the middle, or "belly button," of the bar. We also used the the big low drum to help get in the feel of a wolf prowling around.

The song "We Are Dancing" has the children playing in the forest, wondering whether or not the wolf is around.  At the end of their singing, they ask "Wolf, are you there?"  Then, the wolf (in the center of the circle) gets to either howl as yes or give a creative reason why he or she is not there.  It was quite a lot of fun!  I will say, some classes were more eager to howl than others :)  

Here are videos of two classes with instrument part, the singing, and the game in progress. 

And here are some candid shots of the 3rd grade classes! 

Beat Buddies

We have some new friends in PK and Kindergarten music class--the Beat Buddies! Everyone gets to have a buddy to help them show the beat.  The students have loved using the buddies!  The video below shows the students using their buddies to show whether the beat of the music is FAST or SLOW.  

More pictures of the students with their buddies!

My parents graciously dug out our old Beanie Babies from the attic so the students could use them.  If you have old Beanie Babies lying around you'd like to donate to the music room, let me know! :)