Hello everyone, and welcome to a new year!

I hope you all had an awesome summer full of fun and relaxation.  We are already back to business in music class.  Here are some highlights!

Kindergarteners are busy working on learning classroom procedures and enjoying new games.  We will be starting Jungle Beat, a program designed for young musicians which teaches elements of music in a fun way, incorporating a rainforest theme.  

First and second grades are reviewing rhythm.  We are playing games and singing songs with strong steady beats.  We have already used a new listening map with a song about apples, and this week we will also incorporate Kodaly hand signals and learn the corresponding notes, la, fa, and sol.  

Third graders received their first song using actual sheet music!  Learning how to read notes and musical symbols is an amazing brain- stretching skill to develop.  They will use this year to hone their music reading skills, eventually learning to find use notes on the treble cleff.  They are well on their way to being ready for the adventure that fourth grade music is... RECORDERS!  Our fourth grade class will be receiving their recorders within the next couple of weeks.  This year, they will put their knowledge of rhythm and reading music to work playing an instrument of their own.  What an amazing way to increase skills in all other subject areas, while also having fun and making beautiful music!  Fourth grade parents, please ask your child about their progress as they make their way through their Recorder Karate program. 

In upper grades, we are working on a unit using the Orff instruments.  We were able to purchase several new ones last year with the money from Yankee Candle sales (THANK YOU!!!).  This unit is going to help us to remember music skills that may have become rusty over the summer.  We will learn a 5- part song called "Land of the Silver Birch," and eventually we will be able to play and sing in 5- part unison- an amazing feat. 

8th graders will be getting bells out soon... believe it or not, it is already time to pick a song and start working on it for Christmas!  How fast our time together flies in 8th grade.  

Our spring musical this year is Aladdin.  The kids are already full of great ideas and suggestions-  I can't wait to put them to use!  This year, we are going to be needing more volunteers than in the past.  If you would like to donate your time or talents to our musical, we would welcome your expertise!  Stay tuned for more information about how you can help, and more information about tryouts and schedules.  

As always, I am enjoying the students immensely!  Thank you for the opportunity to work with them and enhance their lives and learning through music.  

 

Laura Higgins

Hello St. Agnes students and families!

Music is off to a "singing" start already this year.  We have taken time during these first weeks of school to experiment with our new instruments.  We have used them to help us tell stories, to read written music, and to learn about the different sounds that can be made with them.  We were able to purchase a variety of new things with the money from our Yankee Candle sales.  We have a new classroom cajon (a large box- style drum), resonator bells, glockenspiels, guiros, triangles, and their favorite... a steel drum!  Thank you so much for making the candle sales such a successful fundraiser.  Our school is fortunate to be able to offer music education to ALL students multiple times each week.  What a blessing.  

In upper grades, we have been brushing up on our music reading skills.  I have chosen some simple and FUN songs to start the year as we review skills that may have become rusty over the summer.  Note- naming and rhythm have been major focus areas for us as we play and sing together.  Grades 6,7, and 8 have been using Boomwhackers.  3rd and 4thgrades are using Latin instruments, learning how to add sounds gradually to create complex rhythms and sounds.  6th graders have learned 3 chords on ukuleles and are also focused on learning to tune them.  

We have taken some time this week in upper grades to also learn about the show West Side Story.  We have discussed the social issues of the time and the ground-breaking music and dance of this famous musical.  We have watched and listened to how the creators of West Side Story blended Latin dance and instruments with elements of jazz, big band, bebop, and American folk music to create a unique and new style which conveyed the tension and issues presented in the musical.  

4th grade recorders are in!  The students are very, eager to begin playing.

8th graders have already begun thinking about their music selections for the bells at Christmas.  We have some exciting new things coming, and the kids are eager to start playing bells! 

Music is truly a time for relaxation and enjoyment for our students.  Thanks for supporting St. Agnes Music. 

Mrs. Higgins