Choir Music I Love – 2

Choir Music I Love – 2

Kusimama by Jim Papoulis is one of those choral pieces that is both challenging and really fun to sing.  I’ve had 5th graders at two different schools with various degrees of choral singing experience sing this piece very successfully and with great joy.  It is a great teaching piece and one that I love. It’s also a real crowd pleaser!  The piano part is basic enough that even I can play it when needed and the song is a perfect opportunity to incorporate percussion instruments. Kusimama Like this:Like... read more
Choir Music I love – 1

Choir Music I love – 1

Winter Canon by Andy Beck is simply beautiful.  Not only is it beautiful, but it has my 5th graders talking.  Yesterday during dismissal, a couple of 5th grade choir members who also serve as Safety Patrol were telling me, “Mrs. McSpadden!  Everyone, and I mean everyone is talking about how beautifully we sang on Tuesday during rehearsal!”  This was stated with a ton of smiles.  They told me that Winter Canon was their favorite song this year…. and we are doing some really cool music. This is the song that has “hooked” my students into moving beyond singing some songs and into singing beautiful music together. Back in May we decided to use this song for several reasons.  The Tallis Canon which is the “canon” part of the Winter Canon is really great to use with a choir when you want to have them singing solfa.  I knew that I could introduce this song as our warm up in the beginning of the year. The melody for Bleak Midwinter was written by Gustov Holst.  We plan on studying “The Planets” later in the year and we want our students to be familiar with more than just that huge work. We needed a great piece that sounded winter-esque but we needed something that was not particular to a specific holiday.  Although Bleak Midwinter is a Christmas Carol, the only portion included in the Winter Canon are talking about snow. Being a 5th grade volunteer choir means that my students can sing a round in 2 parts with confidence and our 2-part singing is coming along nicely.  Although my students can do the 3... read more
Why I love and hate drumming – a survival guide

Why I love and hate drumming – a survival guide

So I have a confession to make….   I REALLY hate love drumming!  I haven’t done as much as I like in recent years because my school has just a few hand drums and even fewer “world” drums.  I use what we have often, but I’d like to do more, and am considering working up to a drum circle particularly in 5th grade.   Just last week Sonic Limeades for Learning funded my world drum project on donorschoose.org so more are on the way. Now that I am about to increase my drum collection, I’ve got drumming on my mind because I’m hoping to be able to do some drumming activities this spring AND it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if I could find ways to do a better job of facilitating lessons using unpitched percussion because based on my love/hate relationship with drums I have room for growth. I’m hoping that writing this blog post will help me remember what strategies I want to use to ensure that I don’t end up hating drumming before I’m finished.   Here are some questions I am asking myself at this point; Not everyone needs a drum or do they? This may seem obvious as more drums mean more sound…. but on the other hand, fewer drums might mean perpetual turns and depending on the class, getting the entire class through the process in fewer turns might work in my favor. What are the students who are not playing a drum supposed to do? I love it when students can play a game that goes with the drumming accompaniment.  However, the type of game and the intended outcome is... read more
World Music Resources for Performance

World Music Resources for Performance

So this year our 3rd graders are performing music from around the world.  This is an especially exciting program because my amazing team is working together to make this year special.   While we are teaching the singing and instrument playing, the PE teachers are teaching dances and the art teachers are creating art work.  Each of these elements will culminate in a combined performance and gallery of art work.  This shift in approach has been quite an undertaking but so far it’s been a good move. Because of the sort of program it is, we aren’t using just one resource as a source for music.  However, the one that we are most excited about and will use again in the future is the book called “World Partners” by Cheryl Lavender.   It is REALLY good and is deep enough that if you do the whole thing you have a substantial program.  If you are looking into changing things up a bit or if you need an international resource, it’s REALLY good!    Find it HERE!   In the process of finding resources to use for our performance we found an excellent resource that we plan on using with our students in class.  This is really a great book with lots information. Find it HERE!       Like this:Like... read more

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