Mr. Kowalchuk | Music


Over the past month, students have continued their work with rhythms to include:

- playing rhythms on djembe drums

- creating and writing their own 4 and 8-beat repeating rhythmic patterns ("ostinati")

- accompanying pop songs (with drums edited out) with their own unpitched percussion rhythms

We have continued our work with using singing voices accurately in warm-up songs and games such as 'El Floron,' 'Doggie Doggie' and 'Diamond Thief,' and begun studying the music and story of Sergei Prokofiev's 'Peter and the Wolf.'  Students in Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2 are learning to pick out characters and plot points in the music, and students in Grades 3-6 are learning how to identify the four families of instruments in the orchestra (strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion) as well as identify individual instruments by their names, sounds and images.

Classes are all beginning to prepare poems, songs, and more for our Winter Celebrations coming up on December 22.  Students in Grades 4-6 will perform from 10:00-10:30 and students in K-3 will perform from 11:00-11:30.  We're excited to share some of our musical learning with you!


During the month of October, we have focused on the following learning outcomes in Music class:

- reading rhythm notes

- controlling our voices as instruments (using a singing voice)

- playing Orff instruments (xylophones, metallophones, bass chimes and glockenspiels) with good technique and accuracy

- moving our bodies to show understanding of music

In the beginning of the month, we learned to sing the Thanksgiving songs, 'Five Fat Turkeys' and 'Thanksgiving Round.'  The younger students had lots of fun playing the game associated with the 'Five Fat Turkeys' song in which the 'chef' tries to find turkeys hiding behind the bushes.  The older students were challenged to sing 'in a round' (i.e., sing the same melody, but start at different times) and eventually translated the melody to Orff instruments (xylophones, metallophones, bass chimes and glockenspiels) which they played in an ensemble/together:

Throughout the remainder of October, students have been learning a variety of 'spooky' songs focused in the key of D-minor ("In the Land of Oz", "Something's Hiding", and "Magic Spell").  Students from all grade levels have been learning how to play Orff instruments with good technique (i.e., elbows out "like riding a bike" and fingers loosely gripping their mallets without "finger worms").  

During the past couple weeks, students in Grades 4-6 have also been choreographing their own musical movements to match to the tempo, mood and dynamics of a selection of 'spooky' songs.  Students will perform their choreography in front of their homerooms during the last week of October, or show me during practice times if they wish for a little more private assessment.  The students in Kindergarten up to Grade 3 have been learning choreographed movements to match the composer, Edvard Grieg's famous piece: 'In the Hall of the Mountain King' and are working towards adding unpitched instruments to accompany their body percussion next week.  

In November, we will really dig into rhythm notes and the basics of music theory at each grade level, as well as begin learning about the unique instruments and instrument families of the orchestra.


(September) Welcome to Music!  

During the first weeks of school, we have focused on the following learning outcomes:

- hearing small differences in sounds (using our musician ears)

- controlling our voices as instruments (using a singing voice)

- creating and echoing rhythm patterns while keeping a steady beat

- using gentle hands with instruments and each other

All classes participated in "listening mysteries" to recognize the timbre of a variety of classroom instruments we've explored during the first days of school. The following week, the older students created and recorded their own class songs for the Class Song Listening Challenge.

Homerooms have been rewarded for good choices and responsible actions in the Music Room with increasing the temperature on their class thermometer - classes that fill their thermometers to the top receive 1-period of free choice time in Music!

It was great to see many families in the Music Room during our 'Meet the Teacher' night on September 21st.  I look forward to a fun-filled year with your students at Glenbrook! 

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