Friday, November 11, 2016


This week, 2nd and 3rd grade students experienced the above performance. During the first half students were asked to figure out what the musicians were using to make the music. However, they were not able to see the picture, they were only allowed to hear the music.

After making a list of what they thought, we turned on the video for the second half. We then listed what we saw. Students compared the two lists, and discovered that the items in each list were made of common materials: metal and plastic.

In music we call this timbre. Timbre refers to the unique sound made by different instruments. Much of an instruments timbre is determined by the material it is made of. Sometimes musicians will explain it as the "color" of the sound.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Form in Music

2nd and 3rd graders are learning about structure in music. The most common form is AB form and is found in most pop music. AB form means that there are two contrasting sections that alternate back and forth. In pop music these sections are called the verse and the chorus.

2nd and 3rd grade students created an AB song in GarageBand. They created the two, contrasting sections and then repeated them in their own way. Some versions of this form could be: ABA, ABBA, AABA, etc.

Check out the picture of the song above and see if you can figure out the order of A and B sections!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Kindergarten Cantantes

Here are some of the first sounds from our Kindergarteners here at Heyer. Theses hawks have spread their wings and are beginning to take flight!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Back to School!

We've been back to school for three weeks now, and students are getting back to work. The overall theme for the beginning of the school is "Community". In music, students learned the South African song, "Ke nna yo morena". The song talks about fighting for truth, and protecting each other from harm. We sang the song together a week ago at our first school assembly. Below is recording of the performance. Enjoy!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Musical Symbols that Affect Time

2nd and 3rd grade students have been finishing this school by learning about two special symbols in music that affect time. A fermata is a momentary pause with sound, meaning the musician holds the note that is being sung. A caesura is a momentary pause without sound, meaning the musician stops briefly before moving on to the next note. Both of these symbols are shown by the conductor, who is leading the musical group.

Since the symbols are new, we're using a song that students know very well, "Wild Mountain Thyme". This way they can focus on the location of each pause.

Below is a recording that demonstrates fermatas and caesuras. Enjoy!
                   Fermata                                      Caesura

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Heyer Hawk Xylophone Troupe

Last Friday, the Heyer Hawk Xylophone Troupe performed two songs for students; "Hello" by Adele, and "Happy" by Pharrell.  This dedicated group of 4th and 5th graders practiced during recess twice a week over the past few months.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Student becomes the teacher

I recently had students submit guitar playing to me using an app called Explain Everything.  My thought was that students could take a picture of their music and then record their playing on top of it so that I can make sure their playing matches their writing.

The student below showed me an even better option, by video recording their playing. This way, I can hear their playing and see that they are using proper technique. Thank you, Kaliey!

Friday, May 20, 2016

4th/5th Grade Guitar

The 4th and 5th graders started playing the guitar a few weeks ago. They have been working on the basics of fingerstyle playing as well as strumming chords. So far we have worked on playing and reading notes for the E and B strings; and have learned the 3 string version of the G and C chords.

Below are two videos of our work so far. One is a student-composed melodic pattern for the E string, and the other is the harmony of the chorus of "ABC" by the Jackson 5.


Friday, May 13, 2016

"Wild Mountain Thyme" Harmony

This is an Irish song that I really like. I use it often, and have found many skills and concepts to teach from it. This time 4th and 5th graders focused on the harmony. Students learned about chords, and how they are written. Then they recorded the harmony in GarageBand.

Monday, May 9, 2016

El mes de abril/The Month of April

Kindergarteners and 1st graders learned this song last month. We talked about how birds are a sign of spring. Students then created their own version of the song by choosing their favorite animal and using it's sound in the song. Enjoy!