Monday, October 5, 2009

The first month of school--Lower School

I can hardly believe it's already October! The kids are bursting with energy from the cooling weather and the anticipation of Halloween, and they are full of enthusiasm for new projects and activities. Watch out for approaching storms--just today there was a poetry tornado in the Lower School!

Here are some highlights from our first month of music classes in the Lower School (I'll be posting about the Middle School separately):

  • Third-years in Forest and Mountain (as well as our new fourth-years) have received their new recorders! We've already learned to play our first three notes--B, A, and G--and are starting to read those notes on the staff and work in our new music notebooks. Fourth-years have been reviewing their recorder notes and are starting to work independently in the music notebooks. I'm hoping to soon film a few recorder tutorial videos similar to my ukulele tutorial videos so that interested students (and parents!) can refer to them at home. Stay tuned!
  • River and Sky classes have been playing our Orff instruments (xylophones) each Monday. They've learned to play lots of different accompaniment patterns to simple songs, and have had fun making up their own patterns and improvising tunes. Today, we reviewed a favorite song of the second years--"I've got a dog as thin as a rail..." Ask your child to sing it for you, complete with barks!
  • Forest and Mountain have also had their first class of the year playing the ever-popular ukuleles. River and Sky will get to this soon.
  • All classes discussed musical instrument families. We had a stringed instrument day, in which I demonstrated my harp and violin, and the students helped to figure out exactly how the sounds were produced and what all the parts of the instruments were for... plus, why it is that a violin costs so much more than a ukulele even though they both have four strings, and why you can't play a violin directly with a horse's tail no matter how friendly the horse.
  • We have all had our first music sharing day. In each music class, up to eight students signed up to bring in an instrument, recording, or other musical item or performance to share. We have quite a lot of talent in the Lower School, and I look forward to our next music sharing days in a couple of weeks!
  • River and Sky classes are learning the CFS Philosophy Song (you can hear it as sung at 2009 Springfest at our new website) We're discussing and singing one new verse each week. Soon your child will be able to explain to you exactly what CFS is all about, in rhymed verse!
Tomorrow, we'll start learning a beautiful song from our songbooks which your children are sure to sing at home, "Shady Grove." The older classes will learn to sing and play an ostinato (repeated pattern) during the song. This American folk song appears in many versions, some more appropriate for Lower School than others. The standard verses about getting married are sure to get a big "eeeew!", so here are the ones we'll be using. The song can be performed with just two chords, D minor and C major.

Shady grove, my little love
Shady grove, I know
Shady grove, my little love
I'm bound for the shady grove

Singin’ bird in the tree
Singin’ out so sweetly
Singin’ bird in the tree
Sing your song for me

Some come here to fiddle and dance
Some come here to tarry
Some come here to fiddle and dance
Whether sad or merry

Wish I had a fiddle string
Made of golden twine
Every time I played on it
Made music that was mine.

(lullaby verse)
Go to sleep, my little love
Go to sleep, my darling
Go to sleep, my little love
I'll see you in the morning.
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