Grades 3 and 4

Sept. 25, 2013
We're leading up to reading recorder music by first refreshing our knowledge of reading rhythm notation. Next we'll move on to reading notes on the staff, and this will be reinforced once we start playing recorders in late October. We'll also be learning folk songs that have recorder parts in them as counter-melodies or ostinatos. Right now, we're focusing on our beginning-of-the-year goals of unison singing, unison steady beat, and accurate rhythm.

June 5, 2013
The spring concert was a great success! The kids never cease to impress me. We are finishing up the year by trying to get our black belts in Recorder Karate. Most of the students tested for their brown belt today (creating an original song), and some tested for the red belt (Twinkle Twinkle using the new note F#.) One more week left to get the black belt! Third graders will have another chance next year.

May 1, 2013
The group has been cranking along on Recorder Karate, but we're taking a break to practice for the Spring Concert on May 15. We'll be singing The Garden Song and I'm Doin' Something Good, and playing Lightly Row and Yahoo Hay. There is a lot of work to do, but we'll be ready! 

April 3, 2013
We are in the thick of Recorder Karate right now. This is a method of learning recorder in which students earn colored "belts" for their recorders for each new song they learn to play. We have done white, yellow, orange, and green belts and are now working on purple. The new note for the purple belt is low D, a challenging note that can take a little while to master. The song is Old MacDonald, and many students have taken the music sheet and recorders home with them so they can practice, which is great! This class also worked on creating sound effects for the Snow Queen puppet show.

April 4, 2012
Grade 3 is making good progress on their recorder learning. Students have learned the notes B, A, G, and C and have started to make short compositions using these notes along with rhythm patterns that we've learned. We have been learning recorder counter-melodies and ostinatos for folk songs. (If you're not sure what those terms mean, check the word wall page!) Polly Wolly Doodle, Ain't Gonna Rain, Mama Paquita, and Kookaburra are four songs that we've played along to. You can find lyrics to all these songs in the Song Lyrics page of this site. In the coming weeks, 3rd graders will continue to learn new notes and songs, and will continue to compose music for the recorders and to learn to write their music on a staff so that other people can play their compositions.
Jan. 10, 2012
Grade 3 is getting ready to start learning to play recorders! This is always an exciting time. In preparation, we are learning about how music is written on a staff. Every line and space on the staff has a letter name from A to G. We are using our hands to make "hand staffs" and thinking of sentences that begin with the letters E-G-B-D-F (the names of the lines.) One such sentence is Every Good Boy Does Fine, but there are many more you could think of. We also learned the song "Do Re Mi" from the musical The Sound of Music. Although every pitch has a letter name, it also has a particular place in the scale. In the C scale, C is Do, D is Re, E is Mi, etc. The sequence "Mi Re Do" always sounds like "Three Blind Mice" (or "Hot Cross Buns") no matter which letter names you're using. 
Another part of Grade 3 music right now is the study of American folk songs. We are currently singing "Polly Wolly Doodle".

Nov. 9, 2011
Grades 1-3 have been learning about Franz Josef Haydn (1732 - 1809), an Austrian composer who wrote a very famous symphony, no. 94, which is called the "Surprise Symphony". We have acted out being lords and ladies who doze off while listening to a concert of Haydn's music, only to be woken by a sudden, loud blast from the orchestra! We have also conducted the orchestra, performed movement with the music, identified the main rhythm patterns, and learned a clapping game that goes with the music. You can find many recordings of this music online.
Oct. 24, 2011
Grade 3 is working on a fall song called "Autumn Leaves". The lyrics go:

Yellow, red, and brown
Gently falling down
Autumn leaves are floating
Slowly to the ground

This song teaches about musical form (aaba, in this case), unison singing, creative movement (using aaba form), and creating accompaniment with xylophones, glockenspiels, and unpitched percussion instruments. Grade 3 is also working on harmony singing using a song called "Sing Me Another". Groups of students are taking turns singing an ostinato (repeating pattern) while the other group sings the song, and singing the song as a round in two parts. Ostinati and rounds are great ways to develop the ability to sing independently while others are singing something different.

Sept. 6, 2011
In grade 3, we learn how to play the recorder! always an exciting time. Before we embark on that adventure, students need to learn more about how music is written - both rhythms and notes. We will be paying more attention to our singing as well: how we sing, singing together in unison (on the same note) and starting to sing in harmony (rounds and partner songs.) This involves good listening skills, so we'll work on that too.