5th graders are learning about the song “Carol of the Bells.” This song is a popular Christmas carol that was originally composed by the Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych in 1904 and is based on a folk chant known in Ukrainian as “Shchedryk.” The song is easily recognizable for its four-note ostinato. We listened to three different versions of the song:
The Trans Siberian Orchestra
Libera (a boys chorus)
The Pentatonix (an a capella group)
We then learned to play the tune on our ukuleles! Next week we will try it with note reading and xylophones.
Here are the ukulele frets to use to play this song:
A string: 3 2 3 0 (x4) 7 5 7 3 (x4) 12 12 12 10 8 7 7 7 5 3 5 5 5 7 5 3 0 0 0
E string: 0 2 4 5 7 8 10 12 10 8 (x2)
A string: 3 2 3 0 (x8)
Fourth graders are learning about the composer Leroy Anderson, who composed light orchestra pieces such as “The Syncopated Clock” (which we learned about in 2nd grade) and “Sleigh Ride!” Leroy Anderson grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and many of his songs are still played by The Boston Pops today. We watched a video of John Williams conducting the Boston Pops playing “Sleigh Ride” and talked about all the instruments we saw and heard. Then we sang the song! Fourth graders will be singing “Sleigh Ride” at our school sing-along assembly in a few weeks, so it was good to start practicing now. After singing the song, fourth graders learned a special rhythm, which we then translated to cups. We began learning the rhythm on cups. We will be playing this special rhythm ALONG with “Sleigh Ride” next week! Here is the routine we will be doing:
We will be having a sing-along for students and staff only during the week before our holiday vacation! Students who would like to practice the songs for our sing-along can listen to the youtube videos below, and can find the lyrics to all the songs by clicking here.
Students in first and second grade are using lots of fun and cool instruments to mimic the sounds of tools used by elves in Santa’s workshop! We are using wood blocks, hand drums, tambourines, jingle bells, cowbells, triangles, and guiros. As I use a pointer to “press the buttons” on the paper, we practice counting 1, 2, 3, 4 with a steady beat, while clapping on the beat. Then, I tell everyone to ONLY clap on a certain number, or numbers, as I “press the buttons” once again. Then we transfer this skill to instruments, and from there I assign a different pattern to each instrument. The result is very neat! We play in the instrumental section of our song “The Sounds of Santa’s Workshop” from Music K8 Volume 24 no. 2.