Hi friends! It is too beautiful outside to hang out indoors today! It’s supposed to be cool and rainy for the next couple of days, so I hope you’ll spend as much time outside as you can. I am typing this from my backyard right now, and this breeze would be perfect for flying a kite. When you come inside to cool off, try learning to sing the song “Let’s Go Fly a Kite!”
If you haven’t watched the original Mary Poppins movie, maybe you could do that on one of these upcoming rainy days! Here are the song lyrics so you can sing along…
Think about how this song is organized, what happens first? Next? Then?
I hear Verse #1, then a chorus or refrain that will be repeated again later. Next, I hear verse #2, followed by an instrumental interlude. Then, I hear one last chorus or refrain to end the song. Can you make up your own dance moves to show how the song is organized? Remember that is called the song’s FORM.
After singing and dancing, make your own homemade kite to fly today. You can make kites from lots of different things around your house, for example, a garbage bag, paper, newspaper, or whatever other creative ideas you can come up with yourself!
Happy April and happy Jazz Appreciation Month! I’m pretty disappointed that I don’t get to see my students’ faces as you walk into my classroom listening to our new composer of the month. I kept this composer a complete surprise, she isn’t even in your Interactive Music Notebooks! Yes SHE! Today, take a few minutes to learn about and listen to Esperanza Spalding.
Here are the 4 facts we would be reading about her for each week of the month:
Esperanza Spalding is a bassist, singer, arranger, and composer from Portland, Oregon. She was born on October 18th, 1984.
She started playing music professionally when she was 5 years old. She played violin in the Chamber Music Society of Oregon. Later, she taught herself to play guitar and bass.
She has won 4 Grammys, a Boston Music Award, and a Soul Train Music Award.
She says that watching the famous cellist Yo Yo Ma on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood as a kid inspired her to be a musician, too.
You can watch Yo Yo Ma on Mr. Rogers right here! I had big plans for our month of learning about her and making connections in every lesson to African History inspired by this song and music video:
So each grade level has someone different to learn about from the Black Gold history book!
For VPI, Kindergarten, and 1st graders, learn about Miriam Makeba.Learn some facts about her here, listen to her song Pata Pata while showing the steady beat on different body parts, and then learn this Pata Pata dance! Last but not least, bring back our jazz vocabulary word IMPROVISE. When we improvise, we make music up on the spot. Can you improvise your own dance moves to Miriam Makeba’s music on the spot? Ask Alexa, turn on Miriam Makeba on Spotify, or try out this Youtube playlist that I’m jamming to today! Can you click along with Mama Africa to The Click Song? Don’t forget to find South Africa on a map! Did you know it has 3 capital cities? Learn to sing a song from South Africa:
2nd graders, learn about Nelson Mandela. Here is another Ducksters biography to read or listen to about him, and a nice simple video bio. You can make connections between South African Apartheid and the unfair Jim Crow Laws in America. Nelson Mandela has a lot of different names, can you find out why they call him Madiba? Of course, you gotta find that handy dandy South Africa map and talk about those 3 capitals again! Don’t forget to look up South Africa’s flag before you print this free coloring sheet. There were a lot of songs written about Nelson Mandela, but this one is probably the most famous/fun to dance to song. Here’s another freedom dance with moves you can learn to do together as a family (this is always a favorite thing to do with our last 5 minutes of class, everyone leaves with this song stuck in their heads!) You can check out the 2 songs above from South Africa, too!
For 3rd graders and 5th graders, research Sundiata Keita. Again, I like Ducksters to find information, because there is a play button at the bottom of the page to read the text out loud to you! 3rd graders, I know you learn about Ancient Mali in social studies this year, so read all about it!
5th graders, look at the song Balafon that we glued into our notebooks–remember playing this song on our xylophones at school? We watched this video of a real Balafon from West Africa first:
4th graders! Don’t worry I didn’t forget about you! Your job is to research Fela Kuti. I think you’re going to love listening to his music 4th grade friends, but don’t forget to read his biography first. I don’t even have to tell you what to do with this music, because it undoubtedly will kick off an Afrobeat dance party at your house! Try learning a song from Nigeria, too:
I wish we could play some Nigerian singing games together, check out all of these fun ones and pick one to learn more about and play with your family!
Hey guys! Today, I was inspired by one of my favorite books to read with the students. I hope today you will spend a little quality time learning about jazz and Charlie Parker, before watching the video of the book at the bottom of this post.
Jazz musicians all have fun nicknames, so look up Charlie Parker’s nickname, his instrument and the kind of jazz he played first. If you had a jazz nickname, what would yours be? For the little ones, try dancing and singing along to this fun little song about the saxophone. With your 2nd-5th grade students, check out this fantastic House of Sound video to learn about the science behind the Woodwind Family of instruments. As far as the kind of jazz, talk about how bebop is fast, usually played by a smaller group of instruments with musicians playing lots of improvised solos. Improvising is an important vocabulary word, so look it up and write down what it means in your notebook 3rd-5th graders!
Now search for Charlie Parker on your favorite streaming service or good ole Youtube and listen to some more music-can you sit at the beginning and stand up when you think you hear improvising? Try doing a fast crazy dance to match the improvising you hear! Make your dance up high if you hear high notes, down low if you hear low notes, and watch out for rests where you body might stop moving for a beat.
Now it’s time to try improvising with more than just our bodies. Don’t worry, you don’t need a saxophone and anyone can do it! In 2nd grade, we would be starting to learn about scat singing right about now. Scatting is how singers can use their voice to improvise, but we need words to sing right? Singers can make up silly syllables to try to sound like instruments. Expert scatters like Ella Fitzgerald sometimes even use real words like at the beginning of this incredible scat! For your littlest scatters, Hoots the Owl from Sesame Street can help, all you have to do is repeat what he does! For your older ones, just give it a go with this backing track and see what happens. Parents, give it a try too-have fun with it, and enjoy being creative! There’s no wrong answer here, just do whatever feels good and explore all of the cool things your voice can do.
Close out your lesson with this read aloud of one of my favorite books in our music library:
Happy Wednesday everyone! Today, why not start off your music time with an episode of The Music Show! We watch these videos in class all the time to introduce and reinforce concepts. For VPI/Kindergarten, watch episode 1 about beat or episode 4 about high, low, and the middle. For 1st grade, watch episode 2 all about rhythm. For 2nd grade, episode 5 is all about tempo, or episode 6 about the lines and spaces. For 3rd-5th grades, definitely watch episode 6, 2 and 3 to reinforce our music reading skills.
VPI/Kindergarten students can listen to these celebrity Sesame Street songs and pat along with the steady beat. The big kids can get in on this one too-turn on the closed captions using the little cc in the bottom right corner of the video player and your readers can sing along! The songs have such great, positive messages, and I think all of us could use them right now. Suggest different body parts to show the steady beat-your legs, clap, tap your head, your tummy, your shoulders, your toes, march around the room etc. The Common and Colbie Caillet “Belly Breathing”song is really great for helping your little ones calm down when they are upset (or honestly, for yourself, I put it on when I need to take some belly breaths too!). You should also check out this playlist for some fun freeze dances and more ways to get moving.
Next, for 1st-5th, you could try out these fun Rhythm Play alongs. Your body can be your instrument as you clap, pat, and snap along.
Time for a break from reading to get back to some movement. If your child loves to dance as much as I do, then let them break a sweat while listening to their favorite tunes! I love to put on playlists of songs from the Just Dance games and do the dances in my living room!
The 5th graders have been using this body percussion song as a warm-up for a few months, so have them teach it to you or a sibling. When you sing bim, you clap, for bum, you snap, and for biddy, you pat your legs. Try it out: Bim Bum
Another cool resource is the Berlin Phiharmoniker’s Digital Concert Hall. You can join for free using the code BERLINPHIL for access to 30 days of free concerts! The concerts marked under the education tab are great and accessible. I’ve been listening to the opera concerts as I’m typing this to you (currently a beautiful rendition of Porgy and Bess), so I thought I’d share a couple of pictures of me in my opera theater costumes back in college that the students might get a kick out of!
On the left in purple playing Peep Bo in the Mikado
Here’s me as a the nursing sister in Suor Angelica
Project time! Learn the steps to this simple dance tutorial. Once you learn it, click on the Soundcloud link under the video to play the (free!) music and make your own video of your family doing the choreography! You can post your video on your ClassDojo portfolio so your teachers and I can see what you’re up to at home!