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)