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  • Writer's pictureMs. McKinnon

A Trip to the Jungle

It's hard to believe that we're down to the last 28 days of this school year. It feels like time has flown by but I'm so glad it's not over yet because there's still fun to be had, music to be made, and learning to be done!

Kindergarten had their performance on April 25th and it was quite the adorable adventure! We had been preparing jungle themed songs and they were incredible young entertainers. Big shoutout to the Kinder team for their help managing 80 exited little ones and making time for their students to create custom animals that became our backdrop and stage decor.

First grade continues to study xylophone technique with some of Robert Munsch's classic stories including "Up, Up, Down" and "Mortimer". We're working on glissandos, ascending and descending patterns, playing technique and even being unicorns to help keep our mallets quiet when they need to be. They're also exploring Note Neighborhood where we're meeting friends Tommy and twin sisters, Tia & Tina. All together they're helping us read patterns of quarter note and beamed eighth through hops, high fives, and lots of smiles!

Second grade added unpitched percussion and did rhythmic composition to a cute spring story, "Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!", our friend Peter helped us with. We reviewed instrument families and then students were sent on an egg hunt to find 60 eggs hidden around the music room and classify them into the correct family. We just started a unit on Carnival of the Animals by French composer Camille Saint-Saens. It's going to be a fun-filled month as we explore and move along to 8 of the movements.

Third grade continued their work with bucket drumming playing along to favorites including "Best Day of my Life", "Pompeii", and "Happier". All students graduated to using drum sticks and quickly realized how much more control is required to not let dynamics get the better of us and drown out the song. We're digging into instrument families and discussing the common traits that help us classify them into families. We've gotten to see single reeds, a clarinet mouthpiece, and a double reed so far and we'll get into the brass and string families soon.

Fourth grade continues to work on recorder and has begun testing for their Recorder Karate belts. We've gone through the process of how to take apart sheet music with some whole group songs. To earn their belt, students must independently figure out a pre-selected piece, practice it until performance ready and play it as a solo for me. I'm so proud of their perseverance, support and encouragement for peers, and teamwork when peer mentoring each other. We're still doing skill drills to help read treble clef pitches, fingering patterns, and our roll-and-play patterns. So far we've learned the pitches B,A,G, and low E. These notes are required for the white, yellow, orange, and green belt tests.

Fifth grade is preparing for their upcoming performance highlighting the sounds of Polynesia! It was originally scheduled for May 16 but due to state testing, pushed back until May 30. One more snafu - that's a middle school orientation evening! The final and official performance date is Wednesday, May 29th at 6:30pm. It's a juggling act for 5th grade schedules toward the end of the year so thank you for being flexible and patient as we find just the right date to share our music with you. For this performance we've been preparing selections from Solomon Islands, New Zealand, Tahiti, and Hawaii that have us dancing, singing, playing tititorea, strumming ukulele and more! It has been a treat working with the UO Hawaii Club to learn a hula and my students are really getting into it. Thank you for sharing your time and talent. Mahalo.

Orchestra is into it's final week for the 18-19 year and will culminate this Thursday, May 9th at Springfield High School with our "String"field Extravaganza! We have 160 beginning orchestra students from the 12 elementary schools coming together for an evening of music and to share the incredible things that Springfield offers our students. Admission is free and the. performance starts at 7:00pm. Orchestra students need to bring back their instrument (bow/rosin/case), folding music stand, and Essential Elements book by Friday, May 17th.

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