Sunday, February 1, 2009

GarageBand, Music Man, and LS Ukuleles

Welcome back to school, a few weeks late! There is so much going on it's hard to know where to start. Here are a few highlights:

In First-Year Music Rotation in the MS, we finished up our unit on melody and Orff instruments, and moved on to the much awaited GarageBand unit. I love using GarageBand with students because it's so intuitive--almost like a musical version of desktop publishing software. With just a little knowledge you can create an appealing first project, but the sky's the limit for a creative musician. Next week we'll have the mobile lab (thanks Jim!) to work on individual short projects, so last week, we learned the basics by creating a collaborative class song. Click here to listen. I think it sums up our trimester pretty well. :-) I'll post some of our individual projects next week, and stay tuned to hear about next year's GarageBand elective!

"Music Man" opens in less than a week. Yikes! At this point in a production, the directors always feel like they need another month to be ready for opening night... and this show is no different! But we have an awesome cast and crew, and I know we will pull it together. It's mostly sold out, but if you miss out on tickets, please come to our open dress rehearsal this Wed. from 6:30-9:30. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first musical theater project at CFS, and can't wait for the next!

The first week back from the holidays, I gave my Lower Schoolers a clue about a big surprise coming to music class. The clue was this: "There are hundreds, maybe thousands of songs that only have one or two chords in them." To their great frustration, I refused to answer any questions about the clue or the surprise. Last week, they were presented with 18 shiny new ukuleles!
Ukuleles have become a fixture in the Middle School, thanks to the efforts of Ida and Matthew. Now, we'll be starting them in the Lower School and kids will soon be able to take advanced ukulele electives in the Middle School. River and Sky will learn the playing position, the parts of the uke, the basics of the four strings, a basic strum or two, one or two chords, and some individual notes for playing tunes. Forest and Mountain will learn all this, then add on more chords and fingerpicking. We'll continue to play recorders in Forest and Mountain, too, so all our older kids will have wind and string experience.

I'll be sending an email to all our LS parents to give you more details about the ukuleles, including information if you'd like to have one at home (completely optional). I highly recommend High Strung in Durham for all your uke needs--it's a great local store and they are one of the only places that professionally sets up even their cheapest ukuleles. Once "Music Man" is over, I hope to create a couple of short video tutorials you can use at home if you decide to purchase a ukulele.
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