Saturday, December 17, 2011

Concert Program a HUGE hit!

Songs of Night, Songs of Light was a great program and I didn't hear from one parent any negative comments; they really enjoyed the theme and as the theme was stars, moon, light, jingle bells, "light sounds" there was none of the typically negative comments about "too much Christmas", "not enough Christmas", etc. It was truly a lovely mix of songs about stars, moon, darkness, light, etc. Kids did a great job and I figured we had about 140 different kids playing Orff arrangements and unpitched percussion at various times.. fun!

Monday, November 28, 2011

National Conference and Holiday Program

The most awesome conference- that's all I have to say! Typically when I've been to conference I attend a few "bummer" sessions- I get into the room and it becomes pretty obvious that the "clinician" isn't for me. This time around I went to only ONE bummer session and was able to leave pretty quickly. I LOVED pretty much everyone I saw and had an awesome time drumming, playing, singing, and dancing through Pittsburgh! Amazing conference!
Now, back to my approaching concert in a couple weeks- our concert is entitled, "Songs of Night, Songs of Light". I really wanted to sing "Just One Candle" from Music K8 again this year- it's been many years since my students sang this one and they always enjoy it. We are also performing "Stars" from Lynn Kleiner and a song I wrote called "Inky Night" as well as an Elizabeth Gilpatrick Orff arrangement of "Starlight, Star Bright" which my fourth graders LOVE- a little jazzy with an extremely accessible instrument part. We are playing "Kalendara" from Jon Madin as an introit and have several other songs about night, stars, and bells (texture of "light" and shimmery things). We are using the Boyz 2 Men version of "Silent Night" with white gloves and white snowflakes and are performing a movement piece complete with black light! My third graders are performing "All Through the Night" on recorder and are also performing "Trepak" from the Nutcracker as a movement piece with glowsticks. I really wanted to do a flashlight piece, but I was a little concerned about using these as I have a couple students who seizure disorders that can be triggered by flashing lights so I decided not to that in performance. I'm so excited about this performance- it'll be fun! Oh- and Music K8 had a new song that we're singing, too- soooo cute- We Will Jingle- a take off of "We Will Rock You"- kids LOVE it!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Off to National Conference

So excited- I'm off to the Orff National Conference in Pittsburgh and can't wait to come back with some new ideas and inspirations! Hope to see many of you there!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Aquarium Idea

This is an idea developed by my friend Laurie and I. We are presenting in a couple weeks at a workshop and had originally wanted to use slinkies but they are kinky and can be expensive for a classroom set. The solution? Dollar Tree paper plates! Cheap and colorful! Ask your art teacher to have the kiddos cut these into spirals. Hold the middle part and let the rest of the spiral fall.. I know, I should've taken a picture but if you try it you'll get the idea! Use Carnival of the Animals "Aquarium" music. Tell the students you are going to take a trip today under the ocean; share pictures of octopus, coral, whales, jellyfish, etc. Tell them today they are going to be a jellyfish; ask them how jellyfish move; can they move their hand like a jellys? Legs like jellys, head like jellys, bodies like jellys? Now, standing and holding their paper jellyfish (aka spirals) play the music and move to the music; no jellys touching each other because they'll sting each other and die (you'll come tap on their shoulders and they'll sit). Parts of the music have lots of descending passages, demonstrate to the class how to move your jellyfish from high to low. This is a fun, easy activity.. turn the lights out and use one of those rotating ocean animal nighlights.. a true "hit"! Enjoy!

Monday, September 19, 2011


For all of you out there (haha) I have to put a little plug in for the show "Sing-Off"- I'm actually watching it while I blog right now and truly LOVE it.. it makes me stay up an hour later than I want, but it reminds me of WHY I love music.. pure vocals, amazing talent! It is awesome; if you haven't watched it you really need to- my favorites at the moment are the all girl group Delilah- powerful voices, gorgeous harmonies and no gimmicks! It makes me want to sing in an a capella group!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

You Tube Videos

I did a search on the MusicK8 archives and found some really awesome videos on there that I have used in the classroom- a couple of my recent favorites that students REALLY loved watching- this one is the Hallelujah Chorus

Bach's Toccatta & Fugue (by the same animator)

Another thing my third graders loved watching was a clip on youtube by the Discovery Channel's "How It's Made" program.
Enjoy! PLEASE leave a comment or two- wondering if anybody is actually reading this???

Monday, August 29, 2011

Workshop Links

For all of you who attended the PNCC-AOSA Best Practices workshop this past Saturday, here are the links Janet shared: (PNCC-AOSA website)

NC DPI (Department of instruction) check out the artswiki

Book Ashley shared: Farmyard Beat by L. Craig

Upcoming workshops:
September 23/24 in Statesville: Gretchen Wahlberg and Sandy Lantz click on pdf for the workshop info.
March 2/3 Donna Marsello-Chiacos at Charlotte Latin School (South Charlotte)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

workshop today!

Our local AOSA chapter, PNCC (Piedmont North Carolina) had a "Best Practices" (AKA Sharing Session) today and several people shared. We all had a great time and I will be posting some notes in the coming days from that session. Check back and SIGN UP (button on the right) to receive email updates when we post. If you have a BIG thing to share just email me (go to "About Me" and you will either see an address or you will find a way to contact me). Hope to hear from all of you soon!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Third Grade Recorder Lesson

This is our second week back at school (!) and my third graders play recorders. They will get their recorders tomorrow and are so unbelievably excited! I used a new lesson to teach Hot Cross Buns (oh that infernal song!) and it was so fun. First I taught the song with solfege, then with words, then added an overhead clap on "hot", a crossed arm snap (at chest level) on "cross" and a pat on "buns". On "one a penny..." they turned around in place. We did this several times, adjusting the tempo each time. The next class we reviewed the song and then partnered up. Each partner group was given a 24" x 3" piece of laminated black posterboard. This will become 8 beats of rhythm the students will develop. Each group is also given a plastic ziploc bag containing quarter notes, paired eighth notes, and quarter rests (each a different color) on laminated 3" by 3" construction paper. On 6" by 3" pieces you can have half notes and half rests. We reviewed the notes and the note values on the board (draw quarter note and an equal sign with 1, half note = 2 beats, etc.). Directions were to work with their groups to develop a rhythm and practice their rhythm. I travelled around the room, making suggestions here and there and once everyone had practiced together a few times, students then were joined up with other pairs to make a group of four. Each partner pair was responsible for clapping and saying their rhythm, not the other pair.
Each groups rhythm became the "B" section for the song. Groups were numbered and the final form was A (song), B (group 1), A, B (group 2), etc. Students then were given an instrument (we kept it simple with groups each receiving tambourines and maracas/shakers) and we performed it again. Truly fun and the kids loved it AND it was a great way to review rhythms, create in groups, easy assessment, and perform a new song that we will transfer next week to recorders! Wahoo!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Song Material

This is a great site I happened upon today- full of song material, not necessarily "Orff" processed, but a lot of good material.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Create AND Organize? Say WHAT?

Although I am an artist and a musician, I also have a very annoying habit of being super organized; my chorus teacher (I teach in a Jrk-12 school and he is in the classroom next door) always jokes that I know EXACTLY where every CD is that is in my collection! So.. here are a few things I try to do at the beginning of every school year... there are always a few things I really want to try every year so I keep a file in my cabinet called, "To Do".. I know, VERY original, dontcha think? Anyway, when I'm looking for something I want to try, or when I find a new song I want to arrange or an arrangement I want to try, I put a post it note on the page and keep it on a corner of my desk; during a free moment I'll photocopy it and stick it in the "To Do" file. In moments of boredom (yes, I get bored easily, too.. geez, aren't you finding out a lot about me today!), I'll take out one of the things to try and plan it into my next week of lessons. This way, I try to work through some new things every school year.
Another thing I've found useful is when I complete a lesson, in my plan book I write a quick note like "don't try this again next year" or "awesome" or "tweak to create B section next year". That way when I'm planning the next years lesson plans I can look back to see what worked well and what I need to change/add/adjust. As previously stated, I get bored easily so I don't teach the same material every year, but I DO teach some of the same lessons and have found certain songs/lessons that are gems and of course, try to improve upon them every year.
Hope this is helpful!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Step Lively Dance Resources

I started using the Step Lively dances last school year. There are 4 books in the series and they are great "ice breakers" and good for beginning of the school year and end of the school year for quick, accessible, high-energy dances!
I use book 1 and book 3 most often; Book 2 has Canadian dances and Book 4 has French dances.
GREAT stuff!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Orff Resources

There are a few REALLY good sites out there with detailed Orff lesson plans, etc. This is by no means a conclusive list, just a start:

Ontario Music Educator's Site:
This is a site I wandered onto and it has some really good info/lessons/etc.

Utah Schools site:
Complete with sound files, etc.

For all you "techies" out there; this is an ipad app called, appropriately, "Singing Fingers: This app lets your finger ‘paint’ sound. Play it back by moving your finger(s) over the shapes and swirls. This could be used for graphic scoring, solfa acivities and even composition tasks in groups.

Add your own in the comments.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Why Blog?

So, it's something I've thought of for a while now; after searching for things on the web having to do with elementary Orff Schulwerk, I found the resources LIM*I*TED! Not much out there.. so... I'm throwing in my meager two cents worth. I am heading into my 18th year of teaching; most of those years hungry to learn more about the Orff Approach, even after completing my Master's Level Certification... I continue to want to improve, to learn more, and to encourage others to teach music in such a unique, exhilarating way that is WAAAAY (yeah, I know I just used that word in a different WAY!) more fun (and meaningful) than traditional music education.
I'd love for you to join me and add your own comments, thoughts, tricks, tips, and YES! LeSsOn PlAnS!
So, join in, share your best; what works, what you love, what you have written, what "jumping off points" we can use to begin a lesson. Ask your questions here... no ? too "elementary", no judgments.. let's start the ball rolling, fellow Orff-fans!