The kids have worked hard this year, and I am very proud of their efforts!
Kindergarten has learned the first 2 notes on our Solfa scale, So & Mi and can show you them using hand and body movements. They can identify all of their music opposites and have even started reading simple rhythmic patterns. They met the "Ta Monster" and his friend the "Ti-ti Monster" which helped to introduce the rhythmic elements of quarter and eighth notes. Most importantly, they had fun while learning all of these things. Hopefully they have come home singing for you or even shared a new favorite dance move!
First Grade continued they Solfa Scale study by reinforcing LA this year and learning a new note, DO. They love, love, love the games that go along with the DO songs, so we've played many, many rounds of Apple Tree & King's Land this year! They also can identify a quarter rest in rhythmic notation and tell you that it means one beat of silence. They can recognize a half note as a longer sound that gets two beats...and may tell you they get to show off their tattoos or fancy bracelets when they clap that one. They can also look at staff notation and decode line notes and space notes. This is a big deal for a first grader and is only the first steps to reading music.
Second grade worked extremely hard with their new Solfa Scale note, RE, this year. The kids can read it, write it, sing it in tune and even COMPOSED with it! They reviewed that half note notation and were able to use it in their RE compositions as well. We spend a good bit of time reinforcing that RE in all of our songs, games and in-class instrumental work because it sets a solid foundation for what is coming in 3rd grade...yes, RECORDERS!! :-)
Third grade started the year learning sixteenth notes (tika-tika) to add to their rhythmic understanding. We all know, however, the biggest part of the year for them was RECORDERS! All of the kids learned to play Hot Cross Buns and the majority completed Mary Had a Little Lamb as well. Several students moved on to learn The Closet Key and All Around the Buttercup and a few more kept working and learned Lucy Locket, Ode to Joy and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. The class favorite by far, however, was JAWS. Hopefully that will make an appearance at home during Shark Week this summer!! They learned a ton of new vocabulary related to music notation and have been practicing reading notes on the treble staff--the more they do this, the easier it will be!
Fourth Grade built upon their rhythm set to learn two new rhythms that are combinations. Yes, that means there was some math in music this year (there is always math in music but for the first time we really took the time to look at the fractions). The kids also continued their recorder work, each student working to earn the next bead for their lanyard. We had a Science of Sound unit this year as well, which I am happy to say was a huge hit for the kids (but maybe not you or their homeroom teachers--reed straws anyone?). I know they learned quite a bit and I think were sort of surprised that we could talk about science in music class.
Fifth grade also worked hard this year. They learned a new rhythm which is a two-beat syncopation (this rhythm appears ALL the time in music). To learn and practice this new rhythm they played several games, learned a new dance and performed on our classroom Orff instruments. The kids also had a recorder unit that allowed them to earn at least one last bead to add to their recorder lanyards. Finally, they created their own small-group percussion ensembles. This is always a favorite activity for me (and hopefully for them as well!). This activity really provides the opportunity for the kids to be creative while demonstrating an understanding of the basics of music (beat & rhythm). This year the groups were able to use Garage Band on the iPads if they chose to do so to incorporate technology into their creations. They worked really well together and came up with terrific performances they were then able to share with their classmates!
Our 5th Grade Choir was 50 members strong this year! They met BEFORE school on Wednesdays (talk about dedication) and performed 6 official concerts throughout the year. This year's group learned more music than I could have every imagined and I think if we were able to keep going would have just kept getting better. Every week they came to rehearsal they worked, taking the group and their singing seriously, which allowed them to really develop into an amazing group of singers. Every week they just got even better, even when I didn't think it was possible. I am immensely proud of this young group of singers and am grateful they were willing to come to school early once a week to rehearse!
Overall, this year was outstanding. This year completes my 20th year doing what I do and I am constantly surprised by the new ideas, thoughts and creations the kids can come up with. No year is ever the same as the one before (or really any of them!) and the kids continually impress with their hard work and willingness to learn. Not one year has gone by when I haven't also learned something new from my students. I am always hopeful that my students find a love of music during their time in my class. I know not everyone will become a professional musician, but EVERYONE has the ability to keep music as a part of their lives. Whether they attend concerts, join a local choir or community band, or just sing along to the radio, I hope that all of them will continue to keep the joy that music brings in their lives for many, many years to come!!