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SECOND TRIMESTER:  MID-TERM NEWS

Grade 6:  Since last posting, the 6th grade music classes have progressed.  After working on first string music (working on fingering and smoothness), each student wrote a first string composition with whole notes and a whole rest.  After composing, each student played their composition.  During the December weeks, we included an Advent journey.   Each week in class we took a look at a work of art (Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party, Hopper's Nighthawks, and vanHonthorst's The Adoration of the Shepherds) and listened to music corresponding to each of the art periods (a Chopin Sonata, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, and Handel's For Unto Us a Child is Born).  We brainstormed characteristics of both the art and music. The best of everything was recognized in the Nativity scene and music.  The class before Christmas holiday, we play the CUP GAME.  The class moved to mastering the second string.   Students can now play B,C,D,E,F, and G. Students practiced Jingle Bells and each student either played individually or in a pair before the class.  Students evaluated their classmates' performances with many positive comments.  We will now work on a first and second string piece, Ode to Joy, with the goal of having the entire class play the piece together; followed by a composition and performance. Then we will be ready for the third string.

FIRST TRIMESTER:  MID-TERM NEWS

Grade 1:  We began the trimester with name songs and getting to know one another.  Our topics have included High and Low sounds (soprano and base), Tempo (adagio, moderato, allegro), distinguishing the difference between Beat and Rhythm and practicing for the "Saint Prayer Service."  Percussion instruments including the xylophone, wood sticks, rhythm sticks together with clapping, tapping and body movement have been incorporated into stories (The Tortoise and the Hare, Legend of William Tell, Going on a Bear Hunt) along with other rhymes, verses and songs.

Grade 4: We began the trimester with a "Rap my Name" activity using conga drums  Each student was introduced with a rhyme and beat rap telling something about about him or herself.  Since Virginia is the topic in 4th grade social studies, we have worked on learning both the traditional and popular Virginia State songs.  In 2015 a new State song was selected for our state.  The second choice song was very close to a tie, so Virginia now has a traditional version (Our Great Virginia) and a secondary popular version (Sweet Virginia Breeze). Students learned the history behind how the song "Shenandoah" became the melody of the traditional version.  The students divided into groups and created body movement for the popular version.  The entire class is learning the movements for each verse which we are currently fine tuning.  Students practiced how to draw a treble clef and writing staff notes (notes on the lines and spaces) with attention to neatness in note writing. We will continue reviewing note names and values throughout the year.   We are ready to return to the Recorder.

Grade 6:  Music in 6th grade begins with an introduction to guitar playing.  Topics covered the first half of this trimester include parts of the guitar, guitar string names and numbers, how to tune a guitar (using an electric tuner), and playing E, F, G on the first string. Each student is individually demonstrating the three first string notes showing correct guitar position, placement of the hands, finger placement on frets, and a good downward stroke. Learning good positioning at the beginning will make learning the guitar more successful along the way. We will stay on the first string for awhile.  Students reviewed and practiced drawing the treble clef and writing staff notes (notes on the lines and spaces) with an emphasis on neatness. As we learn more notes on the guitar, we will be writing short and original compositions--neatness will be important.  The 6th grade is getting good at a game called "Pass the Beat around the Room."