Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Exploring the idea of "Tuneful, Beatful, Artful" students, Part 1

Our goal in Lower School Music is to develop "Tuneful, Beatful, Artful" musicians. But what exactly does that mean? This is post one of three that will break down what all of this means. Let's start with being "tuneful!"

Tuneful: to be able to sing independently with accurate intonation.

Translation: a child can sing by themselves and stay in tune, in an appropriate key (not too high, not too low.)

We work to develop tunefulness by participating in vocal exploration activities at the beginning of every class. We slide up and down through our vocal range, warming up the tiny muscles that make up our vocal folds (aka. vocal chords.)



Students are constantly singing songs, both short simple tunes and longer more complex melodies. We sing fragment songs, such as echo songs and call and response. This breaks down the phrases and provides a positive vocal example at the same time.



To encourage vocal independence, students in the grades PreK through 1 frequently sing solo (by themselves) a cappella (without any accompanying instruments.)




Students practice singing and creating their own melodies (improvisation) by visiting "The Arioso Kingdom." During this segment of the lesson, students create their own melodies. It can be as simple as humming with a hummingbird finger puppet, or as complex as improvising a sung conversation with a classmate.



As students move into upper elementary grades (2nd through 5th), focus is placed on proper vocal technique. The use of round vowel sounds and crisp consonants helps to create a beautiful choral sound when singing together for performances, such as the Winter and Spring concerts.

How can you extend this learning at home? Encourage your children to sing for you! Ask them to sing a song from Music class. Here is a list of a few things they can share with you:

PreK:  Snail Snail and Bling Bling
JK:  Peep Squirrel and Wake Up You Lazy Bones
Kinder:  Fais Dodo and A Ram Sam Sam
1st:  Pitter Patter and Cobbler Cobbler
2nd:  2468 and Great Big House in New Orleans
3rd:  Closet Key and John Kanaka
4th:  Oh, How Lovely Is the Evening and Duchess For Tea (Brace yourself. It's silly!)
5th:  Sing Me Another and Goin' Down to Cairo (pronounced "Kay-Row")

Even better? Ask your child to teach you one of these songs and make music together at home!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to W+H School, and Lower School Music, for the 2018-2019 school year. 


The music room is already full of tuneful singing, beatful drumming, and artful expressive movement. 


Please check back regularly for music related announcements and peeks inside the Music room. We have so much in store this year. We are going to be bold and "Try Everything!"

Sunday, June 24, 2018

When Literature Meets Music

For the culminating project of our "Lyrics as poetry/Literature as Lyrics" unit in 4th grade, each student selected a picture book to turn into a musical performance. This project was inspired by a video of Ludacris rapping the book Llama Llama Red Pajama. The students worked independently to create a background track on GarageBand. After preparing and rehearsing, they recorded themselves performing the text of the book over the accompaniment. The students paid attention to the tempo, rhythms of the words, and expressive elements (i.e. dynamics, accents, articulation.) The end results were fantastic!

You can check it out by following this link:  


Monday, May 7, 2018

Concert Programs: Let's go digital!

As part of the W+H School initiative of sustainability, we are sharing a PDF version of our concert programs with families. This means fewer printed paper copies will be made. If you would like to go green and save a tree, just click on the links below! We look forward to seeing you this week.


PreK-1st Grades Concert


2nd-5th Grades Concert

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A musical screen time alternative!

Looking for something to do in the car with your kids that doesn't involve screen time? Tired of the same top 40 hits on repeat? Need a break from NPR? I have found just what you need!

Noodle Loaf is a podcast made for parents and children by a music teacher dad and his four-year-old daughter. Each podcast is only about 10 minutes long, but is packed full of fun facts, great echo songs, silliness, and fun. Your kids may even recognize some of the songs from music class! (The first episode has the song A Wise Old Owl, which we sang earlier in the year in 1st grade.)

I highly recommend this podcast to all of our families throughout Lower School, but especially in PreK through 3rd grades. Just CLICK HERE to go straight to their page.




This podcast is so great, in fact, that I am feeling inspired with a new idea for next school year...!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Spring Concerts coming soon!!!

It is difficult to believe, but our Spring concerts are just a month away! Mark your calendars:

PreK-1st grades: Tuesday, May 8th at 8:30AM in the PAC

2nd-5th grades: Thursday, May 10th at 7:00PM in the PAC

They are both sure to be a fantastic time!



Thursday, March 1, 2018

Music in Our Schools Month!

March is national Music in Our Schools month. We are celebrating this year with a few fun events. As mentioned in my previous post, we will be hosting our first ever Family Folk Dance Night on March 8th at 6:30PM. See below for details.

We will be highlighting students who are pursuing musical studies outside of school with school day performance opportunities. In addition, we are hosting a movie sing-a-long on March 15th in the PAC. Come watch the movie Sing! with your child and sing along to the fantastic songs!

One other way we are celebrating Music in Our Schools month is by having an "Open House" week in the Music room. You are invited to come and sit in on Music class during the week of March 12th through 16th. You can attend class with your child or sit in on another class that works better for your schedule. This is my schedule for the week:


We look forward to having you join us for some music making!