Posted in 4th and 5th Grade, Classical Music, Composing, Fourth Grade, Group Activities, Instrument Activities

Beethoven’s Motive: The Fifth Symphony

In fourth grade, we learned about the life of famous composer Ludwig van Beethoven.  We then listened to the beginning of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and realized Beethoven used the same short rhythmic and melodic pattern throughout most of his piece.  Think (dum dum dum DUMMMMM!)   The pattern is , with a fermata (or hold) over the last eighth note in many cases.  We learned that this repeating pattern is called a motive.  We also noticed the first three eighth notes were usually the same pitch, and the last one usually went  down.  We listened to the first 25 or so seconds of the piece to see how many motives we could count: 14 in all!  Fourth graders then used xylophones to create their own motives.  When they were finished, they got to make their own composer biography, in which they described the motive they came up with.

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Listen to Ryan’s song using his motive here:


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Listen to Abby’s song using her motive here:

We all played our songs for each other (a motive isn’t song, their songs had to repeat the motive many times), and then watched this AWESOME graphical score of The Fifth Symphony.  I only intended to play the first minute or so, but they wanted to watch and listen to the entire 7 minutes 38 seconds!!!  See the cool graphical score we watched below.

Posted in 1st and 2nd Grade, Classical Music, Movement Activities, Scarves

More Rondo Form with “Viennese Musical Clock” by Zoltán Kodály

First and second graders have been reinforcing the term “Rondo Form” with another scarf activity and the song Viennese Musical Clock by Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály.

First, we reviewed the term “rondo form” by singing the song “There is a form that we all know and Rondo is it’s name-o!” (to the tune of Bingo of course) and discussing what it means for a song to be “in rondo form.”  Then we listened to Viennese Musical Clock and charted it out:

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Next, I demonstrated the movements for each section: Wave your Flag for the A section, Ring of Fire for the B section, Bug in a Rug for the C section, Crystal Ball for the D section, and Throw in the Air for the coda.  We love this activity!

Wave your Flag

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Ring of Fire (make a big circle in front of yourself)

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Bug in a Rug

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Crystal Ball

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And afterwards, the “scarf folding music.”  As soon as the students hear the special scarf folding music, they know what to do

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Posted in 1st and 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th and 5th Grade, Pop Music, Read-a-thon, Singing

Read-a-thon Song Practice

Our West Read-a-thon will be kicking off soon!  The theme will be The World Cup, and our official West World Cup Read-a-thon Song will be…..


This song is sung to the tune of “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, from the movie Despicable Me 2.   We will be singing this song as a school at our Read-a-thon assembly in June.  Don’t forget to practice!  You can listen to it by clicking here: