1/2 Grade 3/4 Grade 5/6 General Music First Steps in Music Instrument Lessons Middle School Band

Music In Our Schools Month: The Final Week

The music room has come ALIVE this week! Many Middle Schoolers are preparing for the District Music Festival this Friday, 4th grade instrumentalists have all been busy at working learning tunes like “Frere Jacques,” “Mexican Mountain Song,” and “Sawmill Creek,” Kindergarteners have been doing 3 different “Mixer Dances,” the 1st and 2nd graders have been learning about Sound in Science, so in music we’ve been talking about PITCH, VIBRATION, and VOLUME, and using the Hand Chimes to discuss all three vocabulary words, in 3rd and 4th grade we’ve been composing with quarter notes and eighth notes and doing our favorite Russian Folk Dance, “Sasha!” AND SO MUCH MORE.


This week has been outstanding for before-school practicing! We’ve seen the return of many faces, (though looking a little sleepy at times,) but I am thrilled to have you back, and so proud of the extra effort you are putting in.
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The Middle School Musical, “School House Rock!” is well under way with our amazing director, Gina Fearn. A terrific group of middle schoolers (and a few awesome 4th graders!) have been learning songs, blocking, and choreography for the show.
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As we finish out the week I hope to collect more responses to the prompt,
“MUSIC MAKES ME____!” If YOU would like to fill out a sheet at home please let me know and I’ll make sure one makes it home to you!
Here’s a video of Preston rocking the bells, and another of many snippets from the past two weeks- Random Acts of Music, glimpses of K and 1/2 music classes, and band lessons.


3/4 Grade Instrument Lessons

Sawmill Creek-Clarinet and Saxophone

These students have been coming to school early almost every day to practice their instruments, clearly it’s paying off! Sawmill Creek is on page 20 of the Standard of Excellence Book 1 (the red book.) It has many combinations of quarter notes and eighth notes, accidentals, and slurs! These students have been working hard and they did a great job with this recording. (All before 8am, I might add!) Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the special guest in the video who offers moral support and occasional dancing… 😀

3/4 Grade Instrument Lessons

Frere Jacques on Clarinet

Abby has been coming to practice clarinet before school every day for many months. She’s doing a fantastic job! Here is Frere Jacques, as a round! Sing along!

3/4 Grade Instrument Lessons Middle School Band

Jayson and Paradiddles, and Decking the Hall!

Jayson learned paradiddles in his lesson today. They are one Rudiment for drums. A Paradiddle consists of a single stroke, single stroke, then a double stroke. Check it out!

During one Open Music Room time these folks made a video of Deck the Hall. Sing along!

3/4 Grade 5/6 General Music Instrument Lessons Middle School Band


I will be opening the music room every morning (except Tuesday) at 7:30 am for our instrumentalists 4-8 to come in a play. They can use the time/space for individual practice or for extra instruction with me OR each other! This would be a great chance for more experienced players to come in and help our new instrumentalists!

We already have band on Tuesday at 7:30-if you show up and aren’t in band yet… I will likely make you play with us… MUAHAHAHAH! 😀

Please take advantage of this opportunity, ESPECIALLY if you are having a hard time finding practice time between soccer and homework.

AND- Congratulations to Morgan and her family for purchasing a clarinet, AND to Erin and her family who are welcoming a new trumpet into the family for Erin’s birthday! Wahoo!


Instrument Lessons Middle School Band

What’s Been Popping In Band Lessons?

Here are some videos to give you the inside scoop on what’s been going on in our band lessons!

This student has returned to flute after a year vacation and is doing fabulously! She has beautiful tone and articulation technique! Those crazy flute fingerings are coming back to her quickly as well! Hooray!

Here we have “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas” played in October.

And lastly, we’re learning “Mr. Go” by ear, which means we listen to it, sing it, and figure it out without reading any music. The trumpets have figured out the melody AND added some improvisation during the spaces in the tune!


3/4 Grade 5/6 General Music Instrument Lessons Middle School Band

How To Use Your “Standard of Excellence” Band Method Book

Dear Band Families!

This Blog post is just for YOU! Whether your student has been playing for three years or is just beginning this month, the following information, tips, advice, and pleas are for you. When you get involved with your child’s music education you show them that music is something you value and that you support their efforts on this new adventure. Beginning an instrument is usually exciting, frustrating, and empowering; being able to share that experience with family is so important.

Every student is working out of a Standard of Excellence Band Method Book. Most of us are in the Red Book right now (Book One,) some will soon be moving to the the Blue Book (Book Two,) and by the end of the year, I anticipate some students will be moving into THE GREEN BOOK! 
My plea to you is this: Sit down with your child and look through this book. Ask them to explain to you how it works, with definitions at the top of the page, fingering charts that can look a little bit like hieroglyphics to the untrained eye, and different skills addressed on every page.
Here are some areas I’d like for you to notice:

1. When you open up the book, you’ll immediately see the PRACTICE JOURNAL. I would LOVE for students to use this and keep track of how much and when they are practicing each week. I will write their assignments in the designated spot as well.

2. The first few pages address setting up your instrument and CLEANING + CARING FOR your instrument. These are the first things I will teach my students, but reminders from  the family are SO important. Gross things grow in unclean instruments. Instruments are expensive, care for them so you don’t need to put more money into them.

3. Flip through the book and find songs that have a clapping part underneath the instrument part. You be the clapper, have your child teach you the rhythm, you clap while they play.

4. This book uses American Folk Music, and folk music from around the world. Chances are, you’ll know some of the songs. Sing them for your child. Teach them to sing it. If they can sing it, they can play it.

5. The back of the book has the FINGERING CHART. Help your child to find and use this resource. I will teach them to read the fingering chart. When they can learn to play new notes on their own, they can become independent learners, instrumentalists, and musicians. This is the end goal my friends.

Your child probably needs you to help him or her remember to practice. Help them find a place in your home free of distraction. It might seem daunting to offer help when they are practicing if you don’t know how to play their instrument, but use the resources in their method book, or just help them write down the questions they have so I can answer them when we see each other.

Your support will make ALL THE DIFFERENCE!

Thank you thank you thank you!

PS: If your child brought home a new method book this year it would be helpful to send in $7 for Ms. Kauffeld!