Monday, December 16, 2013

"The Dream"/"El Sueño"

Tonight's 2nd Grade Concert features six unrelated songs, that we have woven together with a story. Through a combination of programs and apps such as: Paint, Explain Everything, iMovie, ProShow, and YouTube; the story will be presented by the 2nd graders, along with their own illustrations. View the video below (minus the songs of course, which will be performed at the concert).

I also made a couple of slideshows of extra pictures.
Slideshow 1
Slideshow 2

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Gingerbread Man

One of our Kindergarten teachers told me that students in her class would be working with the story The Gingerbread Man. After reading the story myself, I thought it would be fun to work with leading up to Winter Break. I wrote a short melody to go with the "run, run as fast as you can..." part, and sang it each time it came up in the story. By the second or third time, students also joined in. We then made a connection to our work with tempo, in talking about which character in the story could be described as "presto."

This week and next week, students will use the song while we learn two new words: ostinato and conductor. Students will create a rhythmic ostinato to accompany "The Gingerbread Man" using rhythm patterns that we have learned so far this year. We will also learn about who a conductor is, and how he/she shows musicians the tempo of the piece they are performing. Students will then have a chance to conduct the class in singing "The Gingerbread Man."

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Heyer Hawks, Represent!

Last night, I had the pleasure of seeing 4 of our students in this production. Thank you so much for inviting me! Congratulations on a great performance!

Thursday, December 5, 2013


As part of our regular vocal warm-up, 4th and 5th Grade students have been developing literacy through sight-singing. The vocal staircase below allows students to track the sounds they are singing. Sometimes I will lead the class singing different combinations of steps, and other times students will lead. We then apply that work to the music staff, as shown in the second picture. 

The first term was dedicated to getting comfortable with how the staircase graphic translates to the staff. Therefore, the rhythm always stayed constant. This term, we will add variations in rhythm, as shown in the third picture.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tone Poems

The 5th graders have begun a composition project in which they will compose tone poems. We will be analyzing poems for musical elements
such as: tempo, dynamics, pitch, and structure. If a poem talks about climbing up a tree, that can mean a rise in pitch for the song. If a character is running, that could mean a more active rhythm. Repeated phrases can add structure to the song if treated with the same pitches and rhythm each time.

Below is a poem we analyzed in class. Leave a comment about a musical element that you can find.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Have To...

As I drove back home from visiting with family and friends over Thanksgiving, I listened to a lot of Holiday music. I really do like a lot of it, from Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney recordings, to the Jackson 5, and even Mariah Carey. There are also songs that I dislike; but without hearing them it just wouldn't feel like the holidays. A couple of those songs are Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time," and "Last Christmas," by Wham. The following is about one such song.

There is a game that I play with some friends called, "Have to." You are presented with two bad scenarios, and have to choose the one that you would rather do if you had to. You can vote on the "Have to" below in the poll to the right.

If you had to, would you rather:

Shovel an entire driveway and sidewalk after a foot of snow has fallen,


Listen to "The Christmas Shoes" on repeat for an hour?

(I vote shoveling)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Generations Big Band

This past Monday night I played a concert in Sheboygan with the Generations Big Band. The group is comprised of professional musicians, teachers, community members and high school students. Some members of the band are well into their 60's. At one time we even had a trumpet player that was 95 years old! It's a great example of how music can continue to be a part of your life whether you make it your career or not.

The concert also included the Sheboygan Falls middle and high school jazz bands. It was a great time.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

2nd Grade Drawings Needed!

As the 2nd Graders prepare music for their upcoming concert (Monday, 12/16), artwork is also needed. The students have been creating a story that links together many of the songs that we have learned so far this year. Our story will not be complete without illustrations!

We need drawings of the following:

  • The two main characters pulling a sled in the snow. The sled should be filled with presents and food that they are bringing to a party.
  • The two main characters pointing to a light far off in the distance (the light is a campfire).
  • Each main character hitting a piñata at a party.
  • Two people chopping wood out in a snowy forest. (not the main characters)

A group of 2nd graders came in at recess yesterday to create our two main characters. Below you will see their drawings; three examples of our girl character, and four examples of our boy character. If you draw a picture with the girl and boy character in it; make sure they look similar to the drawings below.

I can't wait to see your wonderful drawings!

As you can see, our girl character should have long dark hair, and pink clothes (disregard the orange pants in the last drawing)

Below, our boy character should have brown, spiked hair and blue and black clothes.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Caroling in Waukesha

Last night, people gathered in downtown Waukesha for the city's Tree Lighting Ceremony. Following the tree lighting, hundreds of people, including families and teachers from Heyer, stuck around for an attempt at breaking the Guinness World Record for Caroling. Above is a video of the crowd singing "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Although it was pretty cold, the crowd had great spirit.  The experience reminded me a lot of the scene below, from the end of the movie Elf.

Did you attend the Tree Lighting and Caroling? Tell about your experience!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Congratulations, 4th Grade!/Felicidades, 4to Grado!

Congratulations on a great concert! Thank you for all of the ideas and hard work that made last night a success!

Parents, if you have any pictures or video that you could pass along, I would love to have something for our records, as well as for an assessment tool for the students. The best way to reach me is by email at,

Thank you!


Felicidades en el increible concierto! Gracias por todas sus ideas y trabajo duro que hizo anoche un excito!

Padres,  si tienen fotos ó videos que pudieran compartir, me encantaria tenerlo para nuestros archivos,  al igual que para la evaluación de los estudiantes. La mejor manera de ponerse en contacto conmigo es atravez de mi correo electrónico,


Thursday, November 21, 2013

2nd Grade Winter Concert- Save the Date!

Queridos Padres de 2do Grado,

Por favor anoten en su calendario, el Lunes 16 de Diciembre los estudiantes de 2do grado de la escuela Heyer van a desempeñar un musical. El rendimiento se tomará a cabo en el gimnasio a las 6:30pm. Si tiene alguna pregunta, favor de comunicarse conmigo a través de mi correo electrónico ( ó por telefono (262-970-1705).


Jared Ziegler
Maestro de Música
Escuela Elementar Heyer


Dear 2nd Grade Parents,

Please save the date of Monday, December 16th for a musical performance by the 2nd graders of Heyer Elementary School.  The performance will be at 6:30pm in the gym.  If you have any questions please feel free to reach me by email ( or phone (262-970-1705).


Jared Ziegler
Music Teacher
Heyer Elementary School

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Participate in a Guinness World Record!

Come to the Tree Lighting Ceremony in Downtown Waukesha this Friday, November 22nd, at 5:30pm, and help break the Guinness World Book of Caroling Record!

Below is a song list.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What metaphor could you create to describe leaves blowing in the wind?

Lots of connections and creativity will be on display at Thursday's 4th Grade Performance. A language connection will be heard in the song "Las Hojitas" in which a metaphor is used to describe leaves blowing in the wind. Each 4th grade homeroom created an additional metaphor to add new verses to the song.

Below is a really neat graphic, shared with me by Mrs. McCoy, that includes some great information about the role of music as it relates to language and math, and the implications of future success it has for our students.

The Benefits of Music Education Infographic

Monday, November 18, 2013


Kindergarten and 1st Grade students have been learning about tempo. One useful strategy employed during class has been Total Physical Response (TPR).  One example of this strategy was a game of Follow the Leader, during which students moved around the room to the tempo of a particular piece of music.  We started with Lento and Presto, and then added Andante. We then began working with the sentence frame shown in #1 above. Today, after a couple weeks of moving to, and talking about tempo, students began writing about tempo.

The music selections were:
#1- "Midnight Train to Georgia" by Gladys Knight and the Pips
#2- "Naima" by John Coltrane
#3- "Northern Island" by Steep Canyon Rangers & Steve Martin
#4- "Marche" from The Love for Three Oranges by Sergei Prokofiev.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Story in the Music

At this week's 4th Grade Concert, students will be presenting short skits set to classical music. In the process of creating these skits, the film Fantasia was a great model, as students found many different types of connections between what is seen and what is heard. Connections included the identification of movements to steady beat, character themes, and the relationship between setting and the general mood of the music.

Be sure to attend the concert this coming Thursday, 11/21, at 6:30pm to see what stories were discovered in the music of Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, and Vivaldi!

4th Grade Fall Concert, Thursday, November 21st, 6:30pm

This coming Thursday, November 21st, at 6:30pm, the 4th graders of Heyer Elementary School will present a Fall Musical Performance filled with singing, dancing and even acting. Students should plan to arrive at 6:00pm for the performance. Suggested attire for students is a collared shirt and slacks for boys; and for girls, either a dress, or nice pants and top. If you have any questions please feel free to reach me by email ( or phone (262-970-1705).

Este jueves, 21 de Noviembre, a las 6:30pm, los estudiantes de 4to grado de la Escuela Heyer presentarán el Musical de Otoño lleno de canciones, bailes y hasta actuacion. Los estudiantes deben llegar a las 6:00pm para la presentación. Se les sugiere que los estudiantes se vistan con camisas de collar ( de vestir) y pantalones negros; y para las niñas, con un traje, ó una blusa y pantalones de vestir. Si tiene alguna pregunta favor de comunicarse conmigo por correo electronico al ( ó telefono al (262-970-1705).

Thank You!

As the first term comes to an end, I would like to extend a huge thank you to all staff, students, and parents for helping me feel so welcome at Heyer! I have enjoyed getting to know the students and look forward to making more great music with them as the year continues.