Friday, January 31, 2014

5th Grade Concert Rescheduled

Dear 5th Grade Parents,

Due to the "Cold Days" that have interrupted the school schedule, as well as last weeks professional development day, and today's field trip, we have lost significant instructional time. One such disruption alone can be managed, but the combination has prevented us from gaining the momentum necessary to present a performance that really demonstrates their capabilities. For this reason we are rescheduling the performance for Thursday, March 6th at 6:30pm.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me in person, or via email at,

Take care,
Jared Ziegler

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tempo and Dynamics

Kindergarten and 1st Grade students have been learning about tempo and dynamics. Students have shown their understanding through various movement and writing activities. The recordings above are an example of creating the sound of a vocabulary word, rather than responding to it. The first recording is a class singing the song as they normally would. The second recording is a group of students who had to demonstrate the dynamic, "piano". After each group performed, the class would guess all together what word the group was supposed to demonstrate. This served as immediate feedback for the performing group. Sometimes the class responded unanimously, which let the group know that they were very convincing. Other times the class response included multiple words. In these cases, we talked about how the class came up with those words, and how the performing group might get a more unanimous response in the future.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

5th Grade's version of "Olympic Fanfare" taking shape

With just over three to go before the 5th Grade Concert, I thought that I would share some of the progress being made on our version of "Olympic Fanfare." This group of students has been giving up some recess time during the week to put it all together. However, with the weather being so cold, I'm sure it's not too much of a sacrifice. Next time we meet, we'll "watch the film" as the football coaches would say. While most of the individual parts are working, we need more time to get everything working as an ensemble. More to come...

Monday, January 20, 2014

"Sing About Martin

In commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a group of 4th graders recorded the song "Sing About Martin" for today's morning announcements. Since the song is organized as a call and response, we decided to represent both of the dominant languages at our school. The call is heard in English, and the response in Spanish. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ostinato Creations

Kindergarten and First Grade students have been learning the word ostinato. Part of their work has been performing rhythmic and body percussion ostinatos to musical recordings. The first example below is an example of an ostinato composed with rhythm patterns. The second example is an ostinato composed using body percussion. The most important trait of an ostinato is the constant repetition of the pattern. For the video example below, however, students only played the pattern two times.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Music Descriptors

Students have been analyzing music in terms of dynamic (volume), tempo (speed), timbre (instrument or group), and texture (complexity). Below is a recording of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee", an interlude found in his opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan.

Below is a student's analysis of the piece, the title of which was ironically misspelled. The first sentence is a great example of the first steps in using this vocabulary. This means that students are using a word like forte instead of loud and teaming it with the "parent" word, in this case dynamic. The second sentence is a good example of the next steps, because in addition to using the vocabulary correctly, this student is looking for a way to provide evidence to support the idea.

Friday, January 10, 2014

"Snow is Falling"

This is a very simple, short song about the weather. We haven't stopped here though. Just like flour, students are not treating the song as a finished product, but as an ingredient in something more. Using this song as a main ingredient, students are working on creating an accompaniment to the song using "word rhythms." The word rhythms reflect ideas connected to the content of the song, such as "drinking hot cocoa." By repeating these words to the tempo of the song, a rhythmic ostinato is created. Students have performed the word rhythms in three different ways; chanting, singing, and playing.