What Are We Learning In Music?

January 13

Now that the holidays are over, we are ready to dive back into learning! 

Kindergarten and First Grade are now working on different rhythmic patterns. We are starting with patterns of 2. They are practicing recognizing patterns, and applying it to music. They are accomplishing this by moving and playing instruments. 

2nd Grade is currently working on melodic direction. They can follow the contour of the melody, and decide which direction the melody is moving, up, down and staying the same. They also are practicing recognizing songs based upon their melodic contour. 

3rd-5th grades are taking a break from their regular curriculum to engage in activities that relate to our theme for catholic schools week. The music room has been designated the planet Mercury, and the Computer lab/Library is transforming into Venus. Depending on the class, the children have learned some facts about either Venus or Mercury. They also learned some information about the Roman God and Goddess the planet was name for. Based upon character traits, each student predicted what the music from Gustav Holsts "The Planets" would sound like. In the second class period, they did a close listening of "Mercury- The Winged Messenger" and "Venus- The Bringer of Peace" to decide what they were actually hearing. This listening activity also helped us create little Mercury's and Venus's to hang up. 

6th Grade is starting a unit on Acoustics, the science of sound. They made straw kazoos, and predicted what would happen if they blew hard, or made the straw shorter. They learned that sound is a form of energy that is produced through vibrations. They learned the volume of a sound is measured by the sound waves amplitude, and that the frequency of the sound wave, determines its pitch.

7th Grade is busy learning a patriotic song, with boomwhacker accompaniment to be played over the PA during morning announcements. 

8th Grade are making Rock and Roll posters. Each group was given a sub genre of Rock and Roll, and they had to make a poster that depicted the qualities discussed in class. 

November 4

Kindergarten and First Grade have now been differentiating between long and shorts sound. They have practiced this by using their voices, as well as using small and large movements. They also began to apply these sounds to basic rhythms. 

2nd Grade spent this week in music using the boomwhackers. Boom whackers are pitched plastic tubes that are struck to make a sound. This activity involved self control, and active listening skills. It also allowed them to follow specific directions. Students conductors came up, and led the class. The conductor chose what color boomwhacker was to play. Once they were comfortable with that, instead of making one sound with the boomwhacker, they played a rhythm. The trick was to work with your partner to play at the same time.

3rd grade had their White Belt test in music this week. I am happy to say that each student has earned their white belt! each child moved their name to the white belt poster. The white belts will be tied to their recorders in class next week. There was no practice sheet this week. Please remember to always sign their practice sheets when they are sent home! 

4th Graders can now distinguish between major and minor tonalities. They identified that major tonalities sound happy. They can be relaxing, or energized. Minor tonalities are described as either creepy, or sad. They were able to idenitfy chords on the piano as major or minor, and identify songs as either being in the major or minor tonality. Lastly, they sang through major and minor scales, as well as arpeggios. 

5th Graders are tackling the tough concept of half steps and whole steps. They are using this knowledge to create scales. They know that a half step is the smallest type of step in music. A whole step is two half steps. 

6th Grade is finishing up their African music unit. They have a quiz on Thursday, Novemeber 10. A review sheet has been handed out.

7th Grade just finished up their Brazilian music unit. Next week we will start discussing the science of sound!

8th Grade made listening maps of a jazz piece "Hotter than That" by Louis Armstrong. As a class we discussed the different sections and what identifies them. They then used that information to create a map for someone to use to follow along with the music. They have a Jazz Quiz next week on either Monday (8-1) or Wednesday (8-2).

October 14

Kindergarten and 1st grade are perfecting their singing voices while moving. They sang "Shoo Fly", while performing choreography, and working together in small and large groups. They also incorporated steady beat into their movements by singing "Johnny Works With One Hammer". In this song they added body parts to move to the steady beat. 

2nd Grade practiced reading music in 2 beat patterns. They performed them with their voices using ta's, titi's and rests. They were able to identify where they patterns repeated by placing in bar lines to create measures. 

3rd Grade is starting their white belt song! This is "Hot Cross Buns". 
3-1 is to practice the first line of the song. 3-2 is working on "Merrily We Roll Along"/"Mary Had A Little Lamb". Make sure to practice the recorder for 30 minutes over the course of the week! The practice sheets should be signed before music class on Wednesday by an adult! 

4th Grade has learned a song called "Sleep Late". They learned it by deciphering the rhythm, speaking the solfege syllables, and finally singing it. This week, we added a rhythmic ostinato. An ostinato is a repeated pattern. Half the class performed the song, while the other half performed the ostinato. The class then switched parts.  

5th Grade is moving onto voice parts. We have learned that their hare 6 types of voices. However, we are only focusing on 4: Soprano Alto Tenor and Bass. We came up with examples for each voice type.

6th Grade is now becoming the leaders of the drum circle. They are in control of what instruments are being played, and for how long. They are to continue the ideals of a drum circle that include, respect, space, and listening.

7th Grade is diving into Brazilian culture. We are discussing the samba, and the festival it is an important part of, Carnival.   

​8th Grade​ is exploring scat, a style of singing that is crucial to vocal jazz improvisation. They created their own scat syllables and put them into a story.

October 3

Kindergarten and 1st grade are now utilizing steady beat, while using different voice types. They learned about the 4 different types of voices: speaking, whispering, calling and singing. They practiced each of these voice individually, and as a class. Once they were comfortable with these voices, steady beat was incorporated through the chant "Acka Backa".

2nd Grade is practicing moving to music with 3 beats in a group. They have learned that when there are 2 beats, the pattern is strong weak. When there are 3 beats it is strong weak weak. They will incorporate moving to these beats, while singing. 

3rd Grade has received their recorders! Please make sure your child brings their recorder back and forth to class if they only have one recorder. In addition they should have a folder or binder to keep their music in. In class we practiced the correct way to hold it, and blow into it. Remember to use slow air! A large amount of air is unnecessary.

4th Grade is moving onto ositnatos and descants. An ostinato is a repeated phrase underneath the melody. A descant is another melody, that is usually higher than the main one. 4th grade will practice playing, singing and moving while performing ostinatos and descants.  

5th Grade is finishing up with 6/8 time. They are working on composing, in small groups, 4 measures in 6/8. They are making chants to go along with the children's book "Up Down and Around" by Katherine Ayers. each group will say the rhythmic chant and accompany themselves on percussion instruments. 

6th Grade has started a drum circle. They practiced "listening louder than they play". they also will begin to lead the drum circles, by giving certain instruments rhythms to play, and directing them on when to start and stop.  

7th Grade is diving into Brazilian culture. We are discussing the samba, and the festival it is an important part of, Carnival.   

​8th Grade​ have learned the 6 different sub genres of jazz. We have discussed improvisation and how important a "lick" is to the process. A lick is a short phrase. They will be creating their own licks on the computer using the Quaver Piano App.

September 23

Kindergarten and 1st grade
 are currently working on steady beat. They learned that music has a "heartbeat" just like our bodies. Just like our own hearts, it is steady. They practiced showing steady beat by following the leader with their beat buddies! These are stuffed animals that they can move to the beat. They also got to pick different movements to show the steady beat while the class followed. Lastly we played a game that is a class favorite "Doggy Doggy". This game allows the children to practice singing Sol, La, Mi, and Do. It also allows the children to engage in active listening. 

2nd Grade is continuing to develop their understanding of beat. They have discussed that in music some beats feel strong, and some are weak. They showed the different kinds of beats by stressing the strong beats when singing. They also showed the strong beats by pushing an imaginary swing. The strong beats are when you're pushing! Lastly they showed the difference between the two by walking on the strong beats and putting their hands up on the weak beats. 2nd grade also reviewed the hand signs for Sol La and Mi, and sang those pitches during the song "Bounce High". This was also the song used to hear and feel strong and weak beats. 

3rd Grade is starting the recorder this year! The recorders have shipped and should be here in time for class next Wednesday! We started the year by reviewing rhythms. They clapped and said rhythms using Ta's, Titi's and Toe-oh's. They also learned the real names for these rhythms, quarter notes, eighth notes, and whole notes. We also reviewed quarter, half and whole rests. During the recorder, the children will partake in recorder karate. Each song they learn they will receive a colored belt for their recorder. Practicing is essential for success. More information will be sent home with the children. 

4th Grade has been hard at work learning new rhythms. They have learned triplets (3 sounds in one beat), and 16th notes (four sounds in one beat). Students have practiced labeling, numbering, and clapping these rhythms, in addition to performing them in small and large groups on they rhythm sticks. They have started to compose short measures with the new rhythms, and old ones. 

5th Grade is learning about meter. We have reviewed that the number of beats in a measure can change based upon the time signature. We have seen measures with 3, 4, 5, and 6 beats. 5th grade has also learned that sometimes a quarter note is not worth one beat. The time signature dictates this as well. 5th graders have also shown, and played where the weak and strong beats can occur in each of these new meters. 

6th Grade is participating in drum circles, which are quite popular in Africa. They learned about drum circle etiquette, and instruments from the culture. The agogo bell, and the different kinds of tubanos as well. They have begun to play rhythms, and how a drum circle functions. 

7th Grade is hard at work learning about music from Latin American. They are starting with the music of Brazil, particularly the samba. Last class they learned samba rhythms, and discussed Brazilian instruments.  

​8th Grade​ is learning about Jazz, and the subsequent genres that stemmed from it: rock and hip hop. They have learned the basic components of Jazz, and began speaking about the sub genres. For each genre (Jazz, Rock and Hiphop) the students will use music technology to compose and create their pieces using the information learned.