Let’s Read Rhythms!

Good morning y’all! Today, I want you to keep your rhythm skills sharp! Get started with this fun rhythm challenge video from Hanover music teacher Mr. Bakeman. Mr. Bakeman is an incredible teacher who has taught me a whole lot, and you guys are going to love his rhythm challenge video! Wait for the magic word, just like in our music class:

Ok now, let’s talk time signature. Remember those numbers at the beginning of all the song we work on tell us how many beats are in each measure and what kind of note gets one beat. That last rhythm challenge was in 4/4, which means there were 4 beats in each measure. Now let’s try one in 3/4, where there will be 3 beats in each measure:

Alright 4th and 5th graders, I can hear you in my brain already saying that’s too easy…I know, I know! Here’s one for you guys to practice your syncopation-what is the time signature for these rhythms?

And one for your sixteenth notes, too. Remember, if you are using the nicknames (hopefully you’re thinking about the counts instead!) we say TA-KA-TI-KI for our 16th notes. In the video they say ti-ki-ti-ki instead, but really, if you’re clapping rhythms correctly at home that’s all I care about right now! You rock! Keep up the good work friends! Do you know what the time signature is for these?

Let’s Play Au Clair De La Lune!

Hi guys! I am playing around with new ways to share lessons with you, and today I’ve got a walk through for how to read the music and play the song Au Clair De La Lune on the recorder! I love experimenting with new technology, so I’m really excited to about this new adventure. This first video will take you through the rhythm and reading the letter names of the notes, and can be used for all of my 2nd-5th graders out there.

Alright, grab a recorder if you’ve got one and let’s get to the playing part! Apologies for the weird microphone issues-this is my first attempt, so hopefully I’ll get better at this as we weather our distance learning journey together. If you are in 3rd grade, you can access the site http://www.bearecorderstar.com with the access code in your notebook, and you can actually hear the recording (and the man saying the song’s title in the way I keep saying it).

Let’s play CUPS!

Today’s lesson is a simple and fun one!  I challenge you to learn the cup game! Use this tutorial video to start off slow (be sure to use a plastic cup, not the good glassware).

Once you know it, you can play it with your family passing the cups in a circle, or along with The Cup Song from the movie Pitch Perfect.

I usually teach this song at the end of the year to 4th grade and we do a dance, but why not learn it on your own with a cup! Try some other cup routines like this one  to We Will Rock You, or this one to Sleigh Ride. 

Let’s sing songs from around the world!

Just because we’re stuck at home, doesn’t mean we can’t still take a digital field trip! Today, try learning some songs from around the world! Just like we did for St. Patrick’s day, learn about where the songs come from. Look them up on a map, look up some fun recipes to make from that country, and listen to some other music from there.

Mr. Beekman and I love to travel. Here’s a picture of me in Reykjavic, Iceland! 

VPI and Kindergarten students can try this Filipino song, which is sort of like head, shoulders, knees, and toes. You can also do this fun one from Panama and learn the names of all the instruments used in the song.

For 1st all the way up through 5th, these next links are really great ways to learn new songs and practice some of our other music reading skills in a fun way. This one is from New Zealand, and it will teach you the song and then some really fun body percussion patterns to go with it. If you have a ukulele at home, it shows you how to play the ukulele chords, too. Or you can try this one from Africa, if one of your family members plays guitar, it has guitar chords they could use, plus rhythms you could put on your body or on whatever instruments you have, and even shoes you how to play along on a piano if you have a keyboard! Here’s another from Puerto Rico.

2nd graders learned this one earlier this school year, so ask them to show you the dance moves and you can be their echo (repeat after them).

5th graders can practice their syncopation with this Jamaican song. Remember, if you don’t have a drum at home to play on, your body can be your instrument! They can also practice their beginning choral behaviors with this Scottish folk song  we already sang earlier this year. Remember, sit or stand up tall with your shoulders down, take a low belly breath, and keep it light and gentle (out of the gutter!).

Today’s story is one that I read every year to our 2nd graders, and we add instruments playing for specific words each time I read them. We haven’t gotten to that lesson at school just yet, but all of my lovely 3rd-5th graders may remember it. You can try this lesson at home with your bodies! Click the little closed captioning button in the bottom right so you can look and listen for the words. After you’ve heard the whole book once, play it again and anytime you hear/see the word Ping, snap your fingers, when you hear/see the word emperor, clap the rhythm of the word with your hands, when you hear/see the word flowers, tap that rhythm on your legs. Can you write out the rhythm for each of those words? Give it a try!

Hey guys! Sorry my post is so late today, but here are some quick and fun ideas you could squeeze in tonight or tomorrow!

Try out this rhythm trainer. You can choose mode A or mode B, and what rhythms are included. For 1st and 2nd grade, just stick with the quarter notes and eighth notes that are already selected. For 3rd and 4th, select the quarter rest also. For 5th graders who need a challenge, add in those 4 sixteenth notes! You can email me your results at lprather@rvaschools.net to show me how you’re doing!

If you haven’t done it yet, you are going to need to go to https://jr.brainpop.com/ for K-3 and brainpop.com for 3-5 and sign up for a free account. There are so many amazing free educational videos for every subject there, so it is the perfect site for all of your distance learning needs! I’d love for you to check out the music videos and then take the quiz after the video. They’ve got videos about making music, reading music, composers and musicians, so have fun choosing your own topic of study!

Let’s READ Music!

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!


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!

Kindergarten Composing

This week, the kindergarten students are working on composing with quarter notes and eighth notes. We clapped rhythms with our rhythm nicknames (ta and ti-ti) last week. This week, after practicing longer rhythms, each student got two pieces of paper. We wrote ta on one and put ti-ti on the other. Then, we worked with a partner to create a 4 beat rhythm. After performing these rhythms for the class, we moved to groups of 4 to create longer rhythms. One group from each class who performed their rhythm well and showed good audience membership was able to perform their rhythm a second time for the class on hand drums!