GENERAL MUSIC: WINTER 2020
Though February is the shortest month in the year, it is full of holidays and special occasions that are worth singing about. This month, all grades will be singing songs and playing music that pays tribute to Black History Month. Presidents’ Day and Valentine’s Day.
The General Music program benefits greatly from its close collaboration with Ms. Leon’s violin program and Ms. Texixeira expanded band program. Students of all ages make associations between a General Music topic with what they are learning in violin and in band.
We sincerely thank the PTA for a generous grant it has given us. The funding has enabled us to expand our barred percussion program, buy an amplification system for choral presentations, and install a new stereo system for the choir loft among many other things.
PRE-K and KINDERGARTEN
Students are making positive connections with February’s song of the month by Hap Palmer, So Happy You’re Here Today. In this song, children dance with each other in a happy scarf dance and practice shaking hands, patting each other on the back, and saying ‘hello.’ We continue to work on keeping the beat on various body parts and developing rhythmic awareness with rhythm sticks, bucket drums, and maracas. Songs include the spiritual Zion’s Children; the sacred song Praise, O Praise and the folk song classic We’re Going to Kentucky.
FIRST - THIRD GRADES
First and second grades also greet each other in the morning with the song, So Happy You’re Here Today. Students sing pentatonic songs that help develop improvisation and solfege skills through Do, Re, Mi, So, and La, and by doing the Curwen hand signs. Students develop rhythmic awareness through chants such as The Grand Old Duke of Yorkand Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang which then become body percussion and unpitched percussion instrumental compositions.
Students sing and study the historical significance of The Star Spangled Banneras well as other patriotic songs. Fourth graders also learn how to play the melody of the country-western song Deep in the Heart of Texas on xylophones and glockenspiels. Throughout the winter students will gain skill reading music by accompanying pentatonic and diatonic songs on glockenspiels and xylophones.
FIFTH – EIGHTH GRADES
In the fall, students were introduced to Bucket Drumming techniques and this winter, students are learning the subtle techniques of how to play the Frame Drum. After improvising on the drums, students collaborate to write a rhythm arrangements for the Native American song The Earth Is Our Mother. Students take the process one step further as they write and perform multi-layered rhythmic compositions for the Frame Drum. Students will begin working on group projects that they will perform for each other in class at the end of the year.
Immediately following SHOW CHOIR’s performances in December 2019 at the Sheen Center with Cardinal Dolan and in our annual Christmas concert, the group was given the opportunity to appear in Ms. Leon’s February 6 violin concert. The students worked throughout January to bring the jazz age alive with performances of the Gershwins’ Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off and Duke Ellington’s Cotton Club hit, It Don’t Mean a Thing if I Ain’t Got that Swing. SHOW CHOIR welcomed four new members into the group in January and continues to expand repertoire of sacred, popular, folk, and Broadway each Tuesday afternoon from 3:15 PM to 4:30 PM.