Friday, December 16, 2016
And that's our 2016 show! If your signing in at the end of this strand, you can find clips for all the songs in reverse order in the blog archive on the right. Happy holidays everybody! See you in January!
Good morning. First off I need to thank again all the students for their hard work and my colleagues, administrators, and families for their support. Yesterday was a great, I hope the first of many wonderful shows. But this one will always be the first and you kids did a fabulous job. Here, in the order of the show, are clips of all the songs we performed yesterday. Enjoy and happy holidays!
Monday, December 5, 2016
The show is just a little over a week away and things are starting to come together. Here's some video Ms. Markowitz shot today at the fifth grade rehearsal. Not bad for our first combined run through!
Friday, November 18, 2016
Hello again 4th graders -- here's our other song "Zemir Atik." As I told you in class, the melody is very old. The words which were probably added more recently mean: "We will return again to an ancient melody and the song will linger on. When we raise our glasses together our eyes and hearts will be bright. How good are our tents because there's dancing there. How good are our tents, still we return to an ancient melody." Once again I am supplying you with a vocal music track and the words. Hopefully you will find a moment this week in your tents between the dancing the the glass raising to give it a listen. Happy Thanksgiving!
It occurs to me that some of you who are taking the ukulele home for the Thanksgiving break and some of you others players might appreciate a little guidance as to how to keep the instruments in tune -- so here you go!
Greetings 4th graders -- as discussed in class here are the practice materials for the first of our two songs for the holiday show, "Still Still Still." You can listen to the tune by click of the triangular play button in the black rectangle below. I am also including a second audio track so you can practice the German pronunciation.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Hello again First Graders -- here is the second song for Ms. Border's and Ms. Orr's classes -- "This Little Light of Mine." Again you can play a recording by clicking on the play button below (you can also make the lyric page bigger by clicking on that.) Besides singing the song, our other responsibility will be leading the audience in clapping on the back beats. This a little harder than it sounds and will take some practice.
Hello Ms. Border's and Ms. Orr's classes -- here is a recording of the first of your two songs for the holiday show. You can play it by clicking on the play button on the black rectangle on the bottom of the page. Remember, there is a body percussion part which we will be working in class, but here at least is a chance for you to learn the words, some of which you wrote yourselves!
Sunday, November 13, 2016
One of our goals to give the kids some say in what we sing and how we sing. Our other kinder song, "Must Be Santa," is an example of this. Each class has contributed a verse to make the song our own. You can play the audio by click on the black rectangle at the bottom of this post. And if you click on the lyric page, it gets bigger.
Hello Ms. Schofield's and Ms. Unger's classes -- because there are 4 first grade classes I've split you into two groups. Your first song is "I Saw Three Ships." We will talk about the percussion part in class. My goal in posting this practice audio (below the lyric page) is to get you to learn the song. There are a lot of verses, the pattern is the same each time. Can you figure it out? (Also, a heads up -- clicking on the lyric sheet makes it bigger.)
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Hi again fifth graders -- our other holiday show song is "Tzena, Tzena, Tzena." It was written in 1941 by Issachar Miron and became a hit song for the Weavers shortly after WWII.
And here is the third part. I've tried to break the song down into manageable chunks. This should also be your philosophy as you learn it. If any of the chords are too challenging at first, skip over them and come back later.
Here's the second video on the John Lennon song...
Hi fifth graders -- here is the first of three tutorials on how to play "Happy Christmas/War is Over' on Ukulele. I hope you won't mind that I am using video I made at my old school. The song uses six chords over all, and if you find one chord is giving you some trouble, skip it and come back to it. I will be giving you the music in class this week.
Friday, November 11, 2016
Hello again. In addition to video I will also be posting audio clips for the kids to practice to. Just click on the play button to hear the track, in this case "Ise Oluwa," a song from Nigeria. The words mean "nothing that the creator has made can every truly be destroyed."
Greetings Friends - I will be posting practice material for the students to use at home and for teachers to use in the classroom for our Holiday show which will on December 15. More information about the show will be coming, but meanwhile, here is cute video with one of the two songs the TK's will be singing in the show. Hope you like it!
Thursday, November 10, 2016
Hello Third Graders. Here is a practice video for "Good King Wenceslas" -- one of the two songs we will be playing and singing for the holiday Show in December. I hope you don't mind that I am using a video I made for the students at my old school. I wanted to make sure you had something to work on over the three day weekend. I am also posting the music I gave you in class. Remember, you don't need to learn the whole song in one day. If you could learn even one of the phrases by next week that would be huge.
Saturday, October 29, 2016
Good morning Third Grade Recorder Players and lovers of fine music :) -- Today's video lesson has to do with the nights we can achieve with right hand fingerings, specifically E and D. As we saw in class these notes are highly useful for playing all kinds of songs. Just remember -- the more holes you are trying to cover up, the more potential squeaks there will be. So cover the holes completely. A little less air will help too.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Hello again Third Grade -- this video focuses on the note "B," which some people believe is the easiest note to play on the recorder. It is very useful in learning a whole range of tunes from "Hot Cross Buns" to "Jingle Bells." Check it out!
In second and fourth grade late lately we've been focused on sea chanties and workplace songs. These come together in the famous Irish tune "Molly Malone" -- a sailor's song built around a market place cry. I've been using this song (which I learned from my Irish father) to teach 6/8 times for years, but lately I've also begin to use it as a compositional opportunity for students to create their own marketplace cries.
Hi Third Graders -- here's another episode of Three Minute Recorder. This one focuses on improvisation, playing music that you make up on the spot. In this beginning example we are focusing on very short improvisational ideas with one note each. Remember -- particularly in Jazz or Blues improv, playing with swing is more important than what notes you play or how many.
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
My brother sent me this cool video. It's about a man from Jordan who invented his own xylophone-like instrument using bits of stone he found in the desert. I thought first graders might especially enjoy checking it out -- how would you classify this man's instrument -- membranophone, idiophone, aerophone or chordophone?
Monday, October 3, 2016
I was very excited to be asked to participate in science night this year. I am planning to demonstrate a few things from a unit I do later in the year about electromagnetism and electric guitars. Here are a few friends helping me test drive parts of that presentation. Come check it out on October 27!
The 4 notes we have learned so far -- D-C-A-G -- will enable us to play this mysterious piece whose name I dare not speak. ;). However, this video will show you how to play it. You can also use the sheet music shown here.
Hi Third Graders -- this video will focus on our 4th note -- the high D. Just remember that the D takes less air than any other note on the recorder (and as we know the recorder takes very little air to begin with.)
As summer gives way to fall, we have have begun to develop more sophisticated music skills and ideas. In second grade that includes developing an ability to play polyrhythmically -- more than one rhythm pattern at the same time. That effort gave me chance to try out the rotating drum circle, an idea I learned from master drum teacher, Jim Solomon.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Saturday, September 17, 2016
In Three Minute Recorder Lesson #2, we focus on the first three notes we are learning on the recorder - C, A and G. As we will discuss in class, the amount of air we use when we play is just as important as the having the correct fingerings.
Hi Third Graders. As promised here is the first episode of "Three Minute Recorder" for you to review. These short video tutorials will hopefully reinforce what you are learning in class about your instruments. I will asking you to practice 6 minutes a day, so watching one of these videos twice equals one days practice.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Handing out recorders, which I do every year in third grade, is one of my favorite things to do. So much of the musical explorations we undertaken are some form of messing around, but the recorder is an authentic instrument with a beautiful repertoire written for it. Playing the recorder is easy, but playing well requires patience and practice. Beginning this weekend I will be posting practice material here -- I am asking all students to give me 6 minutes of practice a day. If you can make that commitment, you will be amazed at the level you are able to play when it comes time for the holiday show.
Monday, September 12, 2016
Getting adjusted to my new school has kept pretty busy. Most of the grade levels have been involved in reviewing some basics before moving onto the main focus for the year. In third grade, for example, students are focusing on the relationship rhythm and melody in anticipating of receiving their recorders (this week!) Also this week is back to school night. I am really looking forward to meeting some the parents.
Sunday, August 28, 2016
Sunday, August 21, 2016
Third graders take note -- the recorders we will be getting are descended from bone flutes like this one, discovered in caves in Europe that were inhabited during the ice age -- 40,000 years ago. Another way of looking at this is that people have been playing hot cross buns since before hot cross buns were invented!
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
I wanted to share this very cool audio track by Jim Wilson. What you are listening to is a recording of crickets and the same recording slowed wwwwwaaaaaayyyyy down. Sounds like a human chorus, doesn't it? One the things I want to encourage you do is to try to think about familiar things, especially musical things, in new ways. It is those kinds of connections that lead to the deepest understanding, whether the subject be music or art or math or whatever. By the way -- we will have a chorus this year after school on Tuesday for interested 3rd, 4th and 5th graders.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Hello Roscomare Roadrunners and Friends. My name is Richard Lawton, and I will be your music teacher this year. I am thrilled to be here, and I am looking forward to a great year in music. I will be using this blog from time to time to share images and videos, information and instructional material, so please bookmark the address. When I tell you in class that I am "putting it on the blog," this is what I am talking about -- so check back often!