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1/2 Grade 3/4 Grade 5/6 General Music 7th Grade Middle School Band Middle School Chorus Middle School General Music

Kudos to Our Music Program!

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Keep reading for an explanation of this VERY attractive picture.

On Sunday I traveled to Killington to take part in the annual Vermont Music Education Association Conference. It is a two-day event filled with workshops in all areas of music education and attended by SO many of Vermont’s amazing music teachers. It’s my favorite time of the year because I get to connect with my best friends from college who now teach all over the state, connect with my former mentor teachers from all over the state, connect with my music teachers from elementary, middle, and high school, and meet new teachers-ALL WHILE LEARNING COOL NEW STUFF TO BRING BACK TO FOLSOM!

On Sunday evening my friend Lizzy Carlson who teaches down in Waterbury and I held a Folk-Dance workshop where we taught about 25 music teachers circle dances, contra dances, Sicilian circle dances, square dances, and mixer dances. It was SO. MUCH. FUN. It’s totally nerve-wracking to teach other teachers though. We were overjoyed with the rockstars who turned out for the event, we had so much fun swinging, do-si-doing, sashaying, and more!

The most exciting news for me, and for Folsom was that I was named Vermont’s Outstanding New Music Teacher of the Year for 2016! This is an award given to a teacher in their first 5 years of service, voted on first by the various music districts in Vermont, and then finally by the board of VT Music Ed. It is a tremendous honor, I am so proud to bring this back to Folsom. I’ve been trying to find adequate language to thank my students, but it’s hard without getting too emotional. I owe it all to the Folsom Musicians, their families, my tremendous colleagues here, and the incredible music teachers that have shaped me throughout the course of my life. Thank you all so much, I am a happy and lucky girl.

AND NOW…we get to keep a ridiculously large trophy in our case for the school year!
14516562_10100290735710205_5142052482322859727_nAs he handed me the award I asked if I could run around the room singing the Rocky Theme… he looked incredibly perplexed so I said, “I’ll just hold it over my head.”

14691082_10157540282355333_1304574110425682347_nAimee Bushey, the South Burlington HS Choral Director. I student-taught with Aimee for 12 weeks and I owe SO much to her.

 

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5/6 General Music 7th Grade Instrument Lessons Middle School Band Middle School Chorus Middle School General Music Uncategorized

2016 Island County Music Festival

Hey Folsom Friends!

On March 22nd and 23rd thirty-two of our middle school musicians traveled to Alburgh to take part in the Island County Music Festival. Andy Gagnon from Stowe Middle School conducted the band, and Melissa Towle from Colchester High School conducted the chorus. Folsom set an outstanding example musically and as students in another school. The days were long, and our students were tired, but their handwork paid off because the concert sounded fantastic. Ms. Kauffeld is so proud and thankful for all of their help during the two days, we look forward to hosting the festival at Folsom next year!
THE BAND

THE CHORUS

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Middle School Band Middle School Chorus Middle School General Music Middle School Musical Uncategorized

Anything Goes!

Hey Folks!

We (Gina and I,) are working as quickly as possible to get the Middle School production of “Anything Goes,” up and running. Today I met with a great group of 4th-8th graders to help them get familiar with some of the tunes. If you couldn’t attend today, do not fear. I will have another session Friday at recess and Friday after school until 4 (there is no late bus so plan accordingly.)

Auditions will be Monday March 21 and Tuesday March 22 after school. I don’t have an end time yet. More to come.

Middle School Musical FAQ-

  1. Can 4th graders be in the production?
    Yes! When making this decision to be involved please know that the time commitment is much more extensive than for the K-4 play, and these students are asked to really up their maturity and responsibility levels!
  2. What if I have some after school commitments?
    Join us! We have folks who take dance classes, play a sport a few times a week, have mentoring, and more. With this in mind, if you are available for less time to rehearse, it may mean that you are on stage less, but we’d really love to have you! When we get into the final weeks before the play students and families are asked to prioritize rehearsals and miss their other activities.
  3. Is it possible to be in the play but not sing on stage?
    Yes! The beauty of a show like “Anything Goes!” is that there’s room for all types on involvement. Join us!
  4. What about lights/sound/crew?
    More info to come… but… Join us!
  5. How do I prepare for auditions?
    It’s all about the YouTube. Here are the songs you should listen to:
    Girls: Blow Gabriel Blow, All Through the Night, I Get a Kick Out of You
    Boys: Be Like the Blue Bird, All Through the Night, Friendship

 

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1/2 Grade 3/4 Grade 5/6 General Music 7th Grade First Steps in Music Middle School Band Middle School Chorus Middle School General Music

Music Update Nov 20

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I think we’re all ready for a little time to rest up during Thanksgiving break. I know I’m looking forward to having time to update the blog, I’ve really been slacking this year!

For now, let me make sure you have these VERY IMPORTANT dates in your calendars!

FOLSOM K-4 MUSIC NIGHT!
When? Wednesday December 2nd, 6pm.
 
Where? The Folsom Gym
 
Who? All Kindergarten through Fourth grade students
 
What should we wear?  Something festive!
 
Why?
    We want to share what we’ve been working on this year with you! This will be an evening of showing you some of the different activities we do in our music classes. We’ll even get you up and moving around with us! We’re excited to hold an evening with a different feel than a typical “concert,” and instead we’ll simulate a giant music class!

 

FOLSOM MIDDLE SCHOOL WINTER CONCERT!

When? Friday December 11th, 6pm.

Where? The Grand Folsom Concert Hall

(On other occasions it’s known as the Gym)

Who? The Middle School Band, Chorus, Select Band, and small ensembles.

What should we wear?  Something festive! (No jeans, sweatpants, teeshirts)

Why?

We want to share what we’ve been working on this year with you! Performing for an audience is an important part of becoming a musician. However it’s not the most important part. We wish we could share all that we do during our Band and Chorus rehearsals with you, but on this evening you will get to hear just a few pieces that we’ve been crafting so far this year.

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Blues Band Middle School General Music

Presenting the Folsom Blues Band: 12 Bar Boomwhackers Blues!

The new Folsom Blues Band met for the second time this week. We’re learning the standard 12 Bar Blues chord progression in C Major. For those of you that play an instrument that can play chords, (Maybe piano? Maybe guitar? Maybe Ukulele?) This progression is:

C|C|C|C|
F|F|C|C|
G7|F|C|C|

(4 beats in each measure, 12 measures. Have fun!)

We’ve learned this progression on the Boomwhackers which you’ll see in this video, and on the xylophones, which actually sounds like really beautiful blues! We’ve been working on getting a bluesy drum beat going on using hand drums- which has been challenging. Next week we’ll keep plugging away on the drum pattern and start using the guitar and piano as well!
GO TEAM!
Enjoy this debut video of the Trimester 1 Folsom Blues Band!

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1/2 Grade 3/4 Grade 5/6 General Music Kindergarten Middle School Band Middle School Chorus Middle School General Music

Ms. Kauffeld’s Summer Part 2: Summer Performing Arts Explorations!

IMG_1570After 11th grade my best friend Claire and I decided that it was silly that no towns near us had any theatre stuff over the Summer. So, without thinking too much about the logistics, we asked our High school Drama teacher if she would help us start a camp for kids going into 5th through 8th grades. The program would be two weeks long and at the end we would have a final performance. That year we decided to rewrite “Peter Pan.”
We had 10 campers.
8 years later Summer Performing Arts Explorations (SPAE) lives on with the help of two other best friends Emily and Abby. This year we put on our own production of, “The Lorax,” and we had 37 campers. The production at the end is really fun and gives the program a lot of focus, but there is a wholllllle bunch of stuff that happens during those two weeks that doesn’t get shown during the final performance. We bring in professionals from the area to do workshops in amazing aspects of art like Instruments, Drumming, Light Design, Sound Design, Dance, and more. We design costumes, make up, props, set pieces, play a ton of improvisation games, sing, and build a community. It’s exhausting, but exhilarating.
Want to know more? Check out the SPAE blog.

This video will give you an inside look at what happens at SPAE!
See you soon!
PS: Haven’t sent me a video yet? Time is running out!!

Categories
3/4 Grade 5/6 General Music Middle School Band Middle School Chorus Middle School General Music

PRESENTING…THE FOLSOM 2015 SPRING CONCERT!!!

Here ‘Tis Folks!

Send it to your family and friends that couldn’t make it!
Hooray for our wonderful musicians!

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1/2 Grade 3/4 Grade 5/6 General Music Kindergarten Middle School Chorus Middle School General Music

Hand Chimes End of Year Report

This year at Folsom we were lucky enough to be offered the Hand Chime Loan Grant from the Handbell Musicians of America. This organization sent us two sets of hand chimes for our classroom, and we put them to good use! Unfortunately not all that we did could be documented, often a teacher needs to be in the moment with students instead of stepping back to document- but I think this blog post will give you a good sense of how we used our chimes. We used them throughout the year in all grades. Only in the 5th and 6th grade did we really do what I would call a Hand Chime Unit, which only lasted about 4 weeks-one day a week. But the end result of that was a very cool hand chime piece read from notation. For the rest of our students we used them to enhance learning and music making in other aspects of our curriculum.
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In Kindergarten, just as we learned to keep a steady beat, or a bourdun, using the 1st ad 5th scale degrees on a xylophone, we did this with chimes as well. We sung tunes like “John the Rabbit,” “Pitter Patter,” and “Snowflakes Falling,” while playing our bourdun.

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In the following video at 1:05 you will see the First and Second Graders playing the hand chimes as part of our Human Piano! There is one piano player in this video, but sometimes we had two or three piano players playing at once. We did this as the First and Second graders were learning about Sound. They organized themselves from lowest to highest pitch, which they knew from their work in science class that the bigger the chime, the lower the pitch would be.

In First and Second grade we also used the chimes to easily see how sound is made with Vibrations. The bravest students touched the chimes to their noses to feel a major tickling    vibration!

We made the following video on Halloween in the third and fourth grade. We learned “Ghost of John” as a round, then added what we affectionately named the, “Spooky Hand Chimes.” Students then came up with an arrangement that included movement, (start hidden, on the cue of a chime slowly enter the shot, move around room, at end sink to the ground,) and a combination of chime playing and singing. We used this as a way to get everyone to the same place in knowing how to properly play the hand chimes. You can see that there are some students who still struggle to keep the chime vertical.

In fifth and sixth grade we followed the same process with “Ghost of John,” but as one of their classroom teachers is named “Tom” we went to his classroom, circled around him in the dark and sang, “Have you seen the ghost of Tom..” and then left without a word. It was sufficiently spooky.

In fifth and sixth grade many students were ready to read music with the chimes. After only about 10 minutes of rehearsal we worked up an impressive chime piece that I’ve unfortunately lost the video of. Students reflected after, “That sounded SO cool!”

In our 3rd-8th grade spring concert we used the hand chimes in a few pieces.
The third and four graders had given much focus to recorder, so we enhanced our two recorder songs “Gently Sleep” and “Hot Crossed Buns” by adding chimes and fingers cymbals to one, and chimes and xylophones to the other. Students were given the option of what they would like to play in the concert- some who may have felt less comfortable playing recorder were able to play chimes, cymbals, or xylophone- or they looked at it differently, if they were bored of those songs on recorder, they opted to play the other instruments! It worked out great for all!

IMG_1331As we learned to read more notes on recorder, we also read the notes with hand chimes. This way we were reading the notes while singing, playing recorder, and playing hand chimes. Here students are reading “When the Saints Go Marching In.” After I’d lead them through the music once, I asked student volunteers to lead it. This provided an extra challenge in music-reading and listening to these students.
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In fifth and sixth grade we learned the folk song “Liza Jane,” and used it to create an Orff-style arrangement on xylophone which we enhanced with percussion and chimes. Students that play in band were given the opportunity to solo over the arrangement using the C concert pentatonic scale. Soloists were able to select which instrumentation they would like behind them as the soloed which allowed us to play with the interesting sound of different combinations.
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To end our concert the middle school chorus taught THE AUDIENCE the round, “Now It’s Time to Go.” Once the audience had gotten to know the tune, we sung it as a round, and the middle schoolers brought hand chimes out to audience members to play. Watching their reactions were great, some jumped right in, others were too nervous to play the chimes so they handed them off to others!
The following video includes excerpts from the concert and the 3/4 reading music while playing the hand chimes.

We are still raising money for our own set of these chimes, it’s a project that we’ll continue on with as we’ve had so much fun at all age levels! Thank you endlessly to the Handbell Musicians of America for your generosity, you’ve played an important part in our learning at Folsom this year!

Categories
1/2 Grade 3/4 Grade 5/6 General Music COOL MUSIC STUFF! Kindergarten Middle School Band Middle School Chorus Middle School General Music Why Is Music Education Important?

Happy 100th Birthday Anniversary Billie Holiday!

April is Jazz Appreciation Month, and what better way to kick it off than to wish Billie Holiday a Happy 100th Birthday Anniversary!
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Billie Holiday was born on April 7th, 1915 and died in 1959.
One of the most influential and beautiful jazz singers of all time.
Her recordings speak for themselves.
The first, “Night and Day” by Cole Porter (One of Ms. K’s favorite songs.)

Next, “God Bless the Child,” written by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog Jr.

And last, for now… “I’ll Be Seeing You”

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3/4 Grade COOL MUSIC STUFF! Instrument Lessons Instrument Series Middle School Band Middle School General Music

Instrument Series #1 Great Saxophonists YOU Should Know About…

This is the first in a series of blog posts aimed specifically at Folsom’s instrumentalists. Each will highlight some of the great instrumentalists that they should know about. Listening to great musicians will give our students examples of beautiful tone to strive for on their instruments, as well as examples of their instrument playing in many different genres, with different styles, and unique sounds.

While these posts are aimed at our instrumentalists they can be used to inspire other students into perhaps, starting an instrument, or for great music to listen to and enjoy!

Great Saxophone Players

1. Charlie Parker (1920-1955) charlie-parker Charlie Parker, also known as “Bird,” was born in Kansas City. He came from a non-musical family but luckily found himself at a school that promoted the study of music, so he took up the baritone saxophone. His mother eventually scraped together enough money to buy him an alto saxophone. As an unsupervised teenager Charlie began to frequent the Kansas City jazz clubs. He learned mostly by listening to others play. Because he didn’t know much about music theory, when he improvised (made up what he was playing over the chords played by piano/bass/guitar) he often played notes that didn’t quite “fit” with what the traditional sounds were in Jazz in the 1930s. Because of this his sound was unique. He moved to New York City and found like-minded musicians. Together the beginnings of a new jazz style called “Bebop” were formed. He met Dizzy Gillespie-a great trumpeter in 1949 and they became fast friends. Bird was addicted to drugs and alcohol throughout his career, and at the young age of 35 died because of it. “Birdland” is a jazz club in NYC named in his honor. This first recording is of Bird playing “Ornithology” The next is “Summertime,” which many of our middle school musicians sang last year. You’ll hear Bird on sax accompanied by string instruments.

2. John Coltrane (1926-1967)
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John Coltrane (often just “Trane”) pushed the musical boundaries of jazz contributing to bebop and “free jazz.” He played alto saxophone in high school and in church bands. He made the switch to tenor saxophone and taking inspiration from the greats like Charlie Parker, he joined Dizzy Gillespie’s band. Trane, like many other musicians at the time, became addicted to drugs. His dependency resulted in getting him fired from his band. He overcame his addictions and returned to the jazz world. Trane developed a technique for playing long strings of notes at lightning speeds, sometimes playing up to 1,000 notes a minute. Trane moved jazz to a freer place with uncommon harmonies and rhythms. This first recording is of John Coltrane playing “Giant Steps,” where you will hear his long streams of fast moving notes. The next is a video of Trane playing “My Favorite Things,” which many of our musicians know from “The Sound of Music.” Trane puts a new spin on this classic tune.

Saxophones don’t ONLY have to play jazz…
3. Theodore Kerkezos
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While it is uncommon to find a saxophone in an orchestra (but typical to find them in a Concert Band or Wind Ensemble setting,) there are MANY pieces written for solo saxophone and orchestra. Theodore Kerkezos is a professor and saxophone soloist in Russia. He has received some of the highest musical awards in Russia for his playing and teaching.
In this video you will here Kerkezos accompanied by the Moscow State Conservatory Orchestra in Russia playing Milhaud Fedoseyev’s “Scaramouche”

The info on John Coltrane and Charlie Parker comes from a very cool book that Ms. Kauffeld has in her classroom for YOU to borrow called “The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia Jazz & Blues” by Julia Rolf.
The info on Kerkezos comes from Ms. Kauffeld’s good friend who plays classical saxophone!