Tuesday, September 20, 2016

I'll Be Bach

We have began to dive right into our composer of the month in music at CFES.  This month we learned about one the most famous composers of all time, Johann Sebastian Bach.  3rd-5th grade students listened and watched Bach's music being performed.  Students knew a lot more of Bach's compositions than they previously thought. They were familiar with pieces such as Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D minor," which they often think is spooky movie music but was actually composed for church services.

Many students were also familiar with Bach's wonderful "Cello Suite No. 1."

In class I often like to show students other ways that artist have taken classical composer's music and turn it into something new and exciting.  One artist who does an amazing job with that is Bobby McFerrin. Bobby McFerrin is known for his hit "Don't Worry Be Happy," but he is actually a very accomplished musician in many other aspects.  He performs all his music a capella and the only instrument that he uses is the human voice.  This is a video of him performing a Bach motet with the audience's help. 

And as always the Piano Guys. 

Ask your child what they learned about Bach.  Where was he from?  How many kids did he have?  What period of music did he compose in?  

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Mustang Chorale

  Mustang Chorale is starting back up for another year of great music making!  If you are or have a 4th or 5th grade student interested in Mustang Chorale a form will be sent home this week and I will also attach it to this post.  We have rehearsals every Monday from 2:30-3:30.  One of the requirements is to have a ride that can pick you up promptly at 3:30.  Students are picked up in the back of the school at the music room. We will begin rehearsals Monday, September 12. You must turn in your permission slip before you can attend Mustang Chorale.  Permission slips are due September 19. I will not accept any more students after that date.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.  I look forward to seeing you at rehearsal.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


    In 2nd-5th grade we learned about songs of cowboys and the Wild West.  There is a rich history of music and melodies that come from the time of cowboys moving cattle along the dusty trail.  In second grade we learned two songs, "Lone Star Trail," and "Ragtime Cowboy Joe."  When learning about "Ragtime Cowboy Joe," we discussed what the genre of ragtime was watched several videos of player pianos and ragtime music.

Maple Leaf Rag

Player piano playing "The Entertainer."

    Third grade learned two cowboys songs named, "Railroad Corral," and "Texas Cowboy."  4th and 5th also learned cowboy songs and talked about Will Rogers and his rope tricks. Ask your child what their favorite cowboy song was. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

From High to Low and Low to High

    In first grade we learn about pitch and how it can move from high to low and low to high. I often use songs to teach different musical ideas and knowledge. I used a song about a frog called, "The Little Green Frog," to teach about pitches that go from low to high. We then learned a song called "Leaves" to learn about songs that have pitches that go from high to low.  First grade did a wonderful job singing and moving to these newly learned songs.

The Little Green Frog


Tuesday, August 23, 2016


    Can you name all 50 states?  Can you name them in alphabetical order?  That is something that the song, "The Fifty Nifty United States," helps our 3rd-5th graders learn.  It seems like a very daunting song but they learn it very quickly and it becomes one of their favorite songs to sing.  Below is a video of the song.

    The composer of this song may come as a surprise but the Georgia native, Ray Charles,  We talked about who Ray Charles is and some of his big hits.  Hopefully this song will help our kids know the names of our states and hopefully next our capitals. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Drumming in Music

Drumming In Music

   Last year the wonderful CFES PTO came to me and asked if there was something I would like for my classroom.  I told them that I would love to have a classroom set of djembes and they made it happen.  

   We are already using them in our classes and below you can see a short video of 5th grade using them along withe song, "Haida."  

   It's going to be a great year in music. I am going to try very hard to keep my blog updated this year with what is happening in music class. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

TIMBER!!!!! No, I said timbre.

    Timbre is likely the most common mispronounced word in  music vocabulary.  Timbre is pronounced tam-bur.  Timbre is the unique quality or tone colors of sound.  In other words, it's how you know the difference between talking to your Mom or Dad on the phone.  Even though you can't see them you can tell by the timbre of their voice who they are.  In fourth and fifth grade class we listened to several different styles of singing from all over the world and describe their timbre.  We came up with a list of words that we could use to describe these different timbres.  A few of our description words were:


    The singing selections that we listened to were not what the students were used to hearing and we talked about how we had to listen with mature ears.  Our first selection came from the European country, Bulgaria.  One quality of Bulgarian vocal music is harmony created by singing notes very close together, producing a special ringing sound.  The students used the words high, full, complex, and straight to describe the timbre.  Click the link below to watch a video of the singing.

    Tuvian Throat singing is a style of singing that has been in existence for thousands of years.  Men from Tuva will sing in a choomej technique that originated in Mongolia.  They will change the inside shape of their mouths to make the higher and lower pitches sounds.  Students thought this style was by far the most different sounding singing technique.  They described the timbre as, high pitch, rough, loud, and unique. Watch the video below to listen and see this throat singing technique.

    We listened to several other styles such as Native American Powwow singing, opera singing, and traditional choral music.  The kids really enjoyed listening to all the different timbres of the world.