Tuesday, 28 February 2017

My Own Way to Rock

The Grade 4/5 classes have been talking about Canadian and Winnipeg musician, Burton Cummings and the rockin' roll band, The Guess Who.  Check out this link to Burton's biography.

We have been learning about the 12-bar blues.  This pattern is found in many styles of music, including jazz, gospel, pop, boogie woogie, and of course, rock. Check out the structure and have your child explain what it means.  Burton's song "My Own Way to Rock" is set in the major key of C.

Here is the boomwhacker version that I made up for us to play along to :)

Monday, 27 February 2017

Arrangements of Songs

Today the Grade 4/5 classes watched this video of Alexander Misko playing an original arrangement of Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean.'  Super cool!

Some of the words we were using to describe what we saw and heard were:
percussion, rhythm, melody, strike, strum, vibration, fret, tap, drumming, thump, pluck, ringing, high, dab, hold, beat

Friday, 24 February 2017

Build a Burrito

This week, the Grade 2/3 classes were learning some Spanish and having some fun making a musical burrito on the instruments.  Lesson suggestions from Artie Almeida in Mallet Madness Strikes Again.

Here's a little video to practice counting from 1-10 in Spanish (Uno, Dos, Tres):

We also had spent some time in December learning songs from South America, including several Spanish songs.  Here's a fun one with some choreography called My Amigos from Plank Road Publishing.  What kind of flavour is the music?  Can you identify the Latin American instruments in the song?

Snuggle Up and Read

Yesterday the Grade 4/5 classes dusted off our boomwhackers for a little end of the week fun.  Boomwhackers are a RAINBOW of colors and notes that lead students to a pot of musical gold.   They are tuned plastic percussion tubes that vary in lengths according to their pitches. We play by (gently!) striking almost anything: a table, the floor, your thigh or hand, a shoe.  They are not only WHACKY and fun – these instruments are therapeutic and accessible for all.

This following activity hit many outcomes and skills in a very short amount of time.

We also learned about octaves.  We know that the musical alphabet has 7 letters.

Once we get to repeating the pattern, that next note becomes the eighth note, which is an octave.  One is the high and one is the low.  When we add a special cap to the boomwhacker, we can create a high and low note that is exactly 8 notes apart.

Songs that Tickle Your Funny Bone

The other day I was driving to work and heard this song, La Danza by Gioachino Rossini on CBC Classic radio.

La Danza by Rossini

Presumably in Latin, I had no idea what the man was singing, but it made me laugh.  It sounded silly and playful.  The melody was memorable and brought me back to Bugs Bunny's operatic cartoons, like Figaro.  Love it when songs jump out at you.  Upon a little research, La Danza is a patter song which uses a fast tongue-twister of words to create a humorous effect.  Patter songs are commonly used in comic opera and operetta.  A few years back my students studied a patter song from the opera The Pirates of Penzance.  It was Gillbert and Sullivan's Major-General Stanley's song, I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General. Check it out and have a good laugh.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Art Music Project

The Grade 4/5 classes have been using their listening skills to reflect on a song that we will hear at the Winnipeg Symphony concert in April.  The song is called "Contented House" by Canadian composer, Jean Coulthard.  After we listened to the piece several times, we discussed how art can reflect music and music can reflect art.  We didn't have a lot of time to explore, but many of the students were able to depict the music through an art picture.  Here is what they came up with.

Reflecting on Singing

Today the Grade 2/3 classes reflected on a video of some students at another school singing the same song they are doing for the Winnipeg Music Festival, Thunder and Lightning.  We were really impressed with their focus and singing abilities.  Here were some of the student's observations.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Global Play Day 2017

Official Global Play Day Song

Global School Play Day is an event promoting the importance of unstructured play in schools. Unstructured play helps children develop 21st century skills. Since our music classes are only 30 minutes, there are some very expensive things in our room and we have a smaller space to play in, the loudness can be overwhelming when trying out instruments, but we still managed to play and explore lots of things. Here are some of the things the kids loved to do.
Dancing with ribbons
Exploring the piano - always a hit!
How many sounds can a triangle make?

Everyone's always drawn to the percussion!

Music art

Contra-bass bars and finding the beat.

We love music!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Musical Magic

Congratulations to all the St. James Music Theatre kids, staff, volunteers, and of course the amazing Mrs. Paula Olko (director) for your amazing work on James and the Giant Peach Jr.  The Grade 4/5 classes were able to go on Monday, January 30th and it was very well done.  Way to go Jessica and Kiera on this big accomplishment.  Your singing and dancing were superb!