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.



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. 


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            


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.





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
  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.

Music Request – 3rd Grade students ONLY

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 2.29.41 PM.pngDon’t forget submit your money for the purchase of the student’s recorders!

Submit your $4.00 by this Friday. In an envelope to your teacher and mark child’s name and class and the words RECORDER on the sealed envelope.

We are still missing about 13 envelopes with payment!

If you are sending a check make it out to PS77.

Thanks for your continued support.


Music – Lower Lab Orchestra


Dear 4th and 5th grade parents and students,

Welcome to a new school year!  It is with great excitement that I welcome all of you to our orchestral music program.  Orchestra instruments include: violin, viola, cello, and bass.  This can be the beginning of a very rewarding experience lasting throughout the school years in the Lower Lab and beyond.

Please read the following carefully for answers to frequently asked questions.

When will Ardsley deliver an instrument? – Ardsley will make a first delivery on Wednesday, September 14th.  Ardsley comes to Lower Lab every Wednesday for delivery, pick-up for repair and etc.  If you have not submitted the paper work to Ardsley, the instrument will not be at school.  By the end of September, all students should have the instruments. 

When do orchestra students need to bring their instrument to school?

4th grade students will be split into two groups and receive music instruction once a week as follows:

Violins and Bass: Every Monday starting on Sep. 18th (viola and cello students have PE)

Violas and Cellos: Every Tuesday starting on Sep. 19th (violin and bass students have PE)

5th grade students will receive music instruction twice a week, both small group rehearsal, and the whole class rehearsal:

ALL: Monday starting on Sep. 18th

Violins and Bass: Wednesday starting on Sep. 13th (viola and cello students have ART)

Violas and Cellos: Thursday starting on Sept. 14th (violin and bass students have ART)

How do I care for a string instrument?

  1. Find a safe place in your house to store your instrument. It should be away from pets, siblings, and direct sunlight. 

  2. Cello and bass should be stored on the side only, not on the back – students will learn how to store their instrument in class.
  3. Please do not leave an instrument in extreme temperatures. 

  4. The ONLY one who should be playing the instrument is the student. 

  5. Develop a plan for safely transporting the instrument to and from school. 

  6. Please do not attempt to tune the instrument yourself. I will gladly tune an instrument any day when I am in school.

What if my child’s instrument or string breaks? – In most cases an instrument with minor problems or string replacement can be repaired by me.  All other major repairs should be taken to the rental company.  I highly recommend you to get a damage/instrument replacement protection or insurance.

As parents, you play a vital role in the musical education of your child.  Please help them develop a healthy practice routine at home, and I will assist you along the way.  I will ensure that our orchestra students receive the best music education this year.

And, thank you for giving your child the gift of music!

Ms. Kim, Music Teacher 

Music – Lower Lab Orchestra

Broken Violin (2012), M.E. Ologeanu


Dear 4th and 5th grade parents:

Bravo to our outstanding musicians for their hard work this year! As our school year winds down, please pay particular attention to Rental Renewal Invoices coming from the Ardsley Musical Instrument Service, Ltd.  

If you rented an instrument with the Ardsley company and are planning to return the rented instrument, especially for most 5th grade students:

  1. Have your child bring the Rental Renewal Invoice to school
  2. Place it in the instrument case 
  3. Leave the instrument in the music classroom BEFORE the pickup date at our school (If you never received the Rental Renewal Invoice from Ardsley, you can still leave the instrument for the pickup date)