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  • Writer's pictureMs. McKinnon

Let's Dance!

Welcome back from break everyone! This month we've been focusing on learning folk dances from around the world in preparation for our "Jammin' in Our Jammies" event on Thursday, February 7th. Students in all grade levels have been experiencing the sounds of Russia, Bolivia, France, and more. 3rd-5th has had a deeper look at these countries learning more about the context of these dances through language, traditions, and fun facts about each country. At our "Jammin' in Our Jammies" event, students will take the lead as teacher and share their learning with families teaching them how to dance with us. We hope this night is a fun experience for generations young and old as we come together as a Riverbend community through music and dance. Your child should have received a blue paper with event details and cut-off portion at the bottom to respond about attendance. RSVP is not required, but returning papers are encouraged so I have an estimate while I set up for the evening.

Check out Ms. Maddoux's and Mrs. Burgin's classes working on some of these dances!

Fourth grade is preparing to learn recorder this semester. We have a class set of recorders that students have access to but there is also the opportunity to purchase one for personal use and take home to practice. These recorders come in 3 different colors: pink, blue, or green. If a student wants to mix-and-match the pieces with a friend, they can have a rainbow recorder! Order forms went home with students this week and are due back by Friday, February 8th. They're $5 each and must be prepaid. While recorders can sometimes be found at stores like Dollar Tree, please refrain from purchasing those as we want to provide our young musicians with quality instruments that will produce a lovely tone and encourage successful music-making.

Last week on Thursday, January 24th was the 3rd grade performance of "Sing a Song of Aesop". Wow, did they do a fabulous job! It felt like every hurdle possible kept popping up last week but our Riverbend kiddos are rockstars and handled it all with grace and perseverance. The students who served as actors and narrators deserve a special shout-out for their extra dedication in before school and lunchtime rehearsals. Taking on that kind of extra responsibility is to be commended and is a testament to the wonderful young leaders we have in our hallways every day. Check out a snippet from the opening number below.

First grade is starting to dig into their upcoming performance in March, titled "Prime Time Nursery Rhymes". We're revisiting some Mother Goose classics and bringing them to life through song and dance. Students are encouraged to listen to the songs at home whenever possible and can be found by hovering over the "Performances" tab then selecting "1st Grade". The whole playlist is available for streaming and lyrics are found by clicking the music note icon.

2nd grade is diving into instrument families along with their global folk dances. The other week we read the story "Tubby the Tuba" and have been discussing how just like human families, instrument families have common characteristics too. So far we've only met the string family and brass family but there are plenty more adventures to be had in the coming weeks!

Kindergarten is focusing on our different voices: speak, sing, whisper, and call. We have been having so much fun with some of our music pals like Peter the Rabbit, Flutter the Butterfly, and Snowy the Owl as they teach us about their favorite voices and why they each think their voice is best! There's been a few disagreements about which voice is truly the best, but with some problem solving by our brilliant students we learned each voice can be the best. It all depends on our environment! Stay tuned though - there's still one more music pal to meet and rumor has it he's a bit, shall we say, gruff.

Orchestra students are busy working on repertoire for their spring concert, the "Stringsfield Extravaganza" held in May. Every rehearsal I see their progress in instrument technique, sound production, and confidence in reading sheet music. As we continue to develop bow technique, we want to think about smooth, fluid movement in our right arms like we are dragging our arms through water. That visualization helps create a consistent movement and and even tone. As a reminder, students should be practicing for at least 15 minutes, 5 days a week. Practice sheets are due every Thursday and are a fabulous tool to monitor that every piece is getting some attention at home. Blank practice sheets are always on the orchestra board in case your child forgot to grab a new one for the week.

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