Music: Grade 4 Orchestra Class

Dear 4th grade parents,

ALL 4th grade students will have PE next Monday, April 13th, due to the Spring Sing concert rehearsals for K-3 students.  On Tuesday, April 14th, ALL 4th grade students will have music.  Any violin students who wish (or need) to bring their instrument to school next Monday, please feel free to leave the instrument in the music classroom for Tuesday’s music class.  

Thank you!

Ms. Kim

Spring Sing Concert (K-3), April 18th

Spring Song
Spring Song (2011), David Lobenberg 

It seems as though we have just completed our Winter Sing Concert, and yet it is time to present our Spring Concert. We are pleased to present our Spring Concert on Wednesday, April 18th at 8:30 AM for Kindergarten and 1st grade students, and 9:15 AM for 2nd and 3rd grade students in the Auditorium.  Please mark your calendars!

 We are proud and pleased with the hard work of the children in bringing you this wonderful performance. Please make every effort to remain for the entire concert as all the children have worked very hard to perform for an audience. Out of respect and caring for all of them, I am asking that everyone remain until the end of the concert.

 For 3rd grade students, please remind your child to bring his/her recorder to school on the concert date.

 I am certain everyone will enjoy the fine performances of our students!

 As always, I thank you for supporting your child’s music education.

Music: Tips to Keep Your Stringed Instruments in Tune

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Illustrated by Gemma Correll (www.gemmacorrell.com)

A stringed instrument is a living thing. It is crafted from organic materials, the woods, strings, and glues employed during its creation interact with the atmosphere around them.  While these materials work together, they are also responsible for the reason that stringed instruments go out of tune.

Especially, wood is material in motion. When changing temperature and/or humidity, wood shrinks and expands.  In the winter, your instrument will go out of tune more often.  The temperature difference between inside and outside is higher (especially when you have the heating on).  Moreover, the humidity in the winter is very changeable. Everywhere you go, your instrument has to adapt to the climate of your home, car and the new location.  Therefore, any severe changes in temperature or humidity will affect its tune.

Here are some tips to keep your stringed instruments in tune:

  1. Avoid changes in temperature and humidity as much as possible. Don’t leave the instrument in a cold room, that you heat up quickly when you have to be there. Take care of conditions so that it can be as stable as possible. The different hardwoods, metals, and softwoods used to craft the instrument absorb moisture in different amounts, so when the location or conditions change, re-tuning is required.
  2. Are your strings in good condition? Strings are designed to stretch, but after a while they can lose their ability to maintain integrity. In addition, strings get weaker with frequent changes in tension: they snap, go waddle in tone, or go out of tune a lot. I let the students know if any string is in poor condition or needs to be replaced.
  3. Is the room of your instrument usually too dry? Drought can cause cracks in your instrument. If the environment is too dry, keep it in a room with a humidifier. With stable humidity between 40% and 70%, you do not have to worry.

Keeping your stringed instruments in tune for longer periods of time is possible, students just need to make sure that they protect it, and replace the strings as often as needed.  The way the care for their instruments have a big impact on how well it retains its tune.

How to Listen to Music (K-5)

Our K-5 music students have been developing their ears as musicians since the beginning of the school year.  Our music students are encouraged to listen to each other as they sing or play.  By listening to each other’s voices or playing, not only the students become more socially conscious, kind and respectful citizens, but also they learn “how to listen” to music. 

Different styles or genres of music have also been introduced into all K-5 classes.  Our students have been encouraged to enter different times and places by singing (grade K-3) or playing (grade 3-5), and listening to songs from history and other cultures (all grades), which even helps them build some knowledge about the other subjects.

After the students listen to a song, they fill out a listening worksheet to identify the key elements of music and to share their responses to music.  This particular type of activity is tremendously effective to boost their internalization and critical thinking.  Many students also exclaim about how fun our music listening activities are!

Here are some examples:

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4th Grade Music, Next Tuesday, January 23rd

Dear 4th grade parents,

ALL 4th grade students will have gym next Monday, 1/22, due to the Winter Sing concert rehearsals.  On Tuesday, 1/23, I plan to have the Violin group, instead of the Viola/Cello group, since the Violin group will miss music for two consecutive Mondays.  Please make sure that all violin students bring the instruments and viola and cello students do NOT need to bring the instruments next Tuesday, 1/23.  

Thank you!

Ms. Kim

Dear parents: 

I would like to inform you of our Winter Sing Concert which is fast approaching! The concert is on Wednesday, January 24th. Lower Lab will be presenting our Winter Sing concerts in the Auditorium: 8:30 AM for Kindergarten and 1st grade students, and 9:15 AM for 2nd and 3rd grade students.

 

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Our students have been working hard to prepare this program for everyone to enjoy! I know the students will give their best efforts as performers. In order to heighten the experience for you as a listener, I would like to ask that both students and audience members use proper concert etiquette at all times during the concert. I encourage you all to stay for the entirety of the concert.

Thank you in advance for helping make the students’ experience the best possible. I know that you will be proud of their work and hope to see you all there! As always, if I can answer any questions regarding the program, feel free to email me. 

Sincerely,

Ms. Kim

Orchestra – “Bow Hand”

Dear 4th and 5th grade families, 

Our 4th and 5th grade students spend a lot of time talking about fixing bow holds, adjusting bow holds, changing bow holds and nagging about bow placement and the bow arm during music class. 

Here’s why: The bow creates the sound.

The bow, how students pull it across the string, how students hold it, dramatically impacts their sound.  If something is malfunctioning in the bow arm or hand, that problem is going to impact the sound students produce.  More often than not, it severely limits the possibilities of sound students can create on the stringed instrument.  Most importantly, it impacts the quality of tone students can produce.

Please encourage them to check the bow hand during practice.  Here is a list of the important checkpoints to improve the bow hand:

  • Bent Thumb                         
  • Round Fingers                       
  • Middle and ring fingers touch pencil inside first joint      
  • Middle fingers form a circle with thumb   
  • Round pinky on tip (only violin and viola)           
  • Pointer finger touches pencil between first and second joint          
  • Fingers evenly spaced            

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Music (K-2) “Audiation”

Our lower grade students have been learning large vocabularies of musical patterns.  The development of those vocabularies follows a process similar to the development of linguistic vocabularies.  When learning a language naturally, children assimilate patterns of words and phrases from their environment through both informal and formal instruction.  Similarly, children naturally assimilate musical patterns through informal and formal instruction. 

One of the primary objectives for our grade K-2 students is to develop their audiation.  So, what is audiation? The term audiation means the ability to hear and comprehend [music] silently, that is, when the sound is not physically present.  Audiation takes young children from merely imitating the musical sounds around them to critically thinking, engaging in and creating new musical sounds.

Musical pattern instruction is an integral part of audiation development.  Musical pattern instruction is tailored to each students’ individual abilities to encourage musical growth.  Through individualized instruction, students are able to reach their fullest musical potential!

 

Music (K-2)

Dear Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade families,

May this Autumn be a harvest of happy times for you!

Our lower grade students have been working on grade-appropriate rhythm concepts and skills since the start of the school year.

Kindergarten and first grade classes are learning about Ta (quarter note), Ti-Ti (two eighth notes), and Shh (quarter rest).

Second grade classes were introduced to 1-2-3 (dotted half note).  We have been working on triple meter in which each measure is divided into three beats.

 

 

 

Orchestra – 7 ESSENTIAL PRACTICE TIPS

Dear 4th and 5th grade parents,

Since we have started our string classes,  I would like to share some essential practice tips for your child.  It is important to teach them that learning to play an instrument is a commitment!  Please help your child understand the importance of time management, and setting and achieving goals.  To ensure success in our music class, I suggest the following practice tips:IMG-1481

  1. 15 minutes at a time is sufficient. Please do not push young children (beginner students) into long practice sessions.
  2. ALWAYS practice with good position! Playing with poor posture develops habits that will hinder your child’s progress.
  3. Please do not treat practice as punishment. Your child may start to see it as a chore.
  4. You may want to write down your assignments in a notebook or practice sheet. It helps them to stay on task during a practice session.
  5. Practice slowly, if possible, with a metronome. Your child’s playing will not improve by practicing the music over and over with the same errors.  If you do not own a metronome there are several free mobile apps available. You can also visit www.metronomeonline.com.
  6. If your child is struggling on a particular passage, focus only on that section. Do not automatically start at the beginning of the piece. Your child will see more results and progress faster if they focus on difficult passages.
  7. Utilize a practice plan that includes a warm-up (usually scales), new material–working on the challenging parts first–and ending with a piece they have mastered and enjoy playing.