1/2 Grade Instrument Lessons Middle School Band Middle School Chorus

What’s New in the Music Room? Mrs. V’s class, Chorus, and Deck the Hall!

Here is Mrs. Vandedord’s 1/2 class performing the fingerplay “Grandma’s Glasses.” Fingerplays help us build expression in our voices, faces, and bodies, and stretch our imagination!

Here the Middle School Chorus sings a Major Scale on Solfege as a round. It sounds beautiful and is relatively easy to do!

And lastly, as we approach our WINTER CONCERT on DECEMBER 11th at 6pm, the band is getting ready to accompany all of YOU singers in “Deck the Hall!” Here Lucas and Emma play their parts! (YOU CAN START PRACTICING FOR THE END-OF-CONCERT SING-A-LONG!)

Instrument Lessons Middle School Band

Mr. Go Intro and the Band Plays “Dragon Dance”

For the Middle School Band:

Here’s the video I promised teaching the intro to “Mr. Go” on Trumpet, Clarinet, and Flute. A little tricky on trombone- but if you’re up for the challenge, watch any instrument and start on a low F.

AND once you’ve learned that and can play it by heart- check out our recording of Michael Story’s “Dragon Dance!” We learned this piece at the beginning of the year and took it our on Friday after not playing it for a while to make a recording!

PS: There has been AMAZING attendance during the Open-Music-Room times!!!
Post with pictures to come soon!

3/4 Grade Instrument Lessons

The 123s Play “Two For The Show”

Our beginning trumpets became the first fourth graders to record a video today!!!

They’ve named themselves the “123s” and they’re working extraordinarily hard- INCLUDING coming to the before-school open music room times! In this piece we were juggling whole notes, half notes, counting rests, three different pitches that are all mixed up AND making sure to tongue each note. Holy cow. I just got tired writing about all of the things we have to think about while we play!

Like Max says in the video, “SUBSCRIBE!” If you want to stay updated on the Folsom Musicians Blog, enter your email at the top right to receive a notification every time there’s a new post!
ENJOY the world premier of the 123s!

Instrument Lessons Middle School Band

Open Music Room!


Opening the music room at 7:30 last week proved to be a smashing success!
On Wednesday morning 6 students came, Thursday 10, and Friday 11!
Students can choose to work with me, work with each other, or find their own space to practice. The most exciting part has been watching more experienced players come in and work with our beginners-what an awesome learning experience for both parties!

Keep ’em coming-I will be there!!!

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!


Instrument Lessons Middle School Band

“Largo” from New World Symphony played by Our Sixth Graders!

This was from our lesson last week. This excerpt of the main melody from Antonin Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” contains a lot of dotted quarter note+eighth note combinations and slurs. That’s what we focused on when learning this piece. The clarinet part is also over the break and really hard to play! These three students are making GREAT progress and are ready to move into (drum roll) THE BLUE BOOK! Wahoo!

And if you’re looking for something to do with your family on a raining afternoon, listen to the whole “Largo” movement from the symphony here while you watch the orchestra members! I LOVE this video! While you’re there you can find videos to the rest of the movements as well, but this is my particular favorite.

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!