1st Graders have been learning about ballet and listening and responding to the music of the Nutcracker by Pyotr Llyich Tchaikovsky. In the Nutcracker March, students act out the form of the piece dancing as soldiers or mice and using their hands and arms to move like snowflakes during the frenzy of activity in the middle section. In the Russian Dance, or Trepak, students are using scarves to accentuate beats and patterns throughout the music. Students moving to Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy are using their magical wands to paint musical pictures using both the steady beat and special phrases to inspire their movement.
2nd graders explored the concept of form in music while learning about the composer Leroy Anderson and his famous piece called "Sleigh Ride". In this video, you can see them working together to identify different sections and respond to these sections with their cups.
An important part of our daily routine in the music room is to begin each class with a greeting game or song. This month, our 2nd graders have learned a new greeting game that lets them sing independently, work with a partner, and act like a turkey! This particular greeting begins with one "lead turkey" who chooses a partner to gobble with. The number of turkeys flocking around the circle multiplies with each repetition. Students are practicing tuneful singing and rhythmic patterns, developing gross motor coordination, internalizing the form of this two part game and they are having fun with all of it!
Chorus students spent rehearsal today learning about Diwali. Several students who celebrate this holiday shared their favorite family traditions with us as an introduction. All 82 students were up and dancing to begin their day with positive energy and shared fun.
This traditional dance, called Dandiya, has origins in Gujarat, India and is designed to be done in large groups. Dandiya is closely associated with the Navratri festival (usually occurring in October), but is also commonly done at Diwali (late October or November), and at other special occasions and gatherings, such as weddings. Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists all celebrate Diwali, although for each faith it marks different historical events and stories. The focus of the celebration centers around new beginnings, good over evil, and lightness or darkness. Happy Diwali!
Our arrangement inspired by "Drum Dream Girl" is coming together nicely! Both classes have been working on it for 2-3 class periods so far. Here, you can see an entire class working to put six different musical parts together into one beautiful piece. They are playing xylophone, glockenspiel, maracas, guiro, and drum. One student said, "It's a vibe!" and they were right! Working in this way allows students to practice their ensemble skills. This requires a specific kind of critical listening and aural awareness of the parts happening all around them.
First graders have been playing a favorite game called "Pumpkin Patch" in music class. This poem helps reinforce steady beat and rhythm and also allows student to practice independence in leading the group.
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