Planning your Holiday Concert

Musicplay Holiday Newsletter – Dec. 2003

As many of you are finishing preparations for your holiday concert, it seems like a good time to give you some ideas for making that holiday concert FUN instead of just STRESS!

Planning and Delegating Responsibility: At a staff meeting early in the fall, discuss how the holiday concert will be handled. Administration should make it clear to staff that this is a school event – not the music teachers big show. All staff should be expected to help with planning, and all should be expected to attend. A coordinator for the concert is required – usually the music teacher – , but if the school is supportive, the music teacher in the school isn’t burdened with doing everything. The following tasks could be delegated:

Backdrop: One teacher or parent can take responsibility for preparing and putting up the backdrop. Simple backdrops are good. You can purchase white tarps from Home Depot. If you make your backdrop somewhat generic, you can recycle them. We painted “Happy Holidays” on half of the white tarp and stapled garland around the edges. The garland probably won’t last forever, be we don’t have to redo the sign each year. If you don’t want the same backdrop every year, create 3-4 different ones and cycle them through. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel each year!

Sound System: One teacher or parent is responsible for locating a good quality sound system, with 4 mikes: 2 for the choir, and at least 2 for soloists. If the school doesn’t have a good sound system, try renting one. If you’re in a rural location without rentals, a local dance band may have a PA system they would loan you or rent to you. Have a backup plan! Borrow a karaoke machine to have on stage so you have a backup in case your sound system crashes in the middle of your concert.

Risers: One teacher or parent should be responsible for borrowing and/or setting up risers.

Stage Helpers: A couple of stage hands for the night of the concert should be found. There is always something that needs to be adjusted, and the concert co-ordinator doesn’t have enough hands to do it all. I often have a few responsible fifth graders become my stage hands. Some of the kids that really don’t like speaking parts, make great stage helpers! The stage helpers should remember to bring some emergency supplies in case of accidents:

* paper towels (vomit, leaky bladders)

* big garbage can, big garbage bags

* clorox wipes, rubber gloves (vomit)

* broom and dustpan (broken flashlight candles)

  • kleenex (bleeding noses, runny noses)

Scene Rehearsal: Even when there is a music specialist every classroom teacher should provide extra rehearsal time for their own classes. The music specialist can make a CD of the class’s song or a YouTube video, for rehearsal purposes so the classroom teachers can help. (Themes & Variations Christmas programs allow you to do this – please check copyright regulations on other publications before copying anything!)

Classroom teachers can use music or phys-ed time to rehearse songs and dances. When they have them learned, bring in the concert coordinator to help with entrances, exits and staging. Ask all staff members to prepare the children for the “what if’s” that can happen. If you are the music specialist, allow time to go through this with all children who will be in the concert.

* “What if – you have to puke?” (Get to the garbage can at the side of the stage if you can!)

* “What if – you have to go the bathroom?” (Use bathroom before show. Don’t drink pop!)

  • “What if – you feel woozy?” (If you feel woozy when on stage, just sit down and put your head between your knees.) At least they won’t fall off the top riser!

Costumes: Meet with the concert co-ordinator to plan costumes for each group. The co-ordinator or the classroom teacher should determine determine what costumes and props are needed. Decide who will be sending notes home to parents with details of what their child should wear. Keep it simple! The easier the better. Sometimes just a hat will give the class the look you want.

Program: One teacher or parent should take responsibility for printing the program and for handing it out at the door (or choosing students to do this) at the actual concert.

Publicity: One teacher or parent should take responsibility for sending notes home giving the date, time and location of the concert.

Supervision Backstage: The concert coordinator will be in the wings, coordinating entrances and exits. Two teachers will be needed backstage to ensure that groups are ready to go on, on cue. All classroom teachers will be needed to supervise their children off stage. This is probably going to be the toughest hour of the school year. I had 90 children backstage one year. I played Concentration, Stella Ella Olla, and Topnotcher with them and managed to have fun while we waited. Directions for those 3 games are in “Singing Games Children Love” Volume 1 and 2, published by Themes & Variations. Videos don’t work well, unless you have a very large screen and a loud sound system. Taking children back to their own classroom and playing board games seems to be a good solution also.

Concert Setup: The concert coordinator will need some release time from regular classes to organize the setup of the stage area. Be sure to ask in your newsletter for parent volunteers to help with this. The backdrop needs to be put up, and all student art work that you can display, should be put up. A final check needs to be made that all props are ready to be taken on stage from the wings. There are 2 things that parents hate at a Christmas concert – not being able to see their child, and not being able to hear what is being said and sung. Check and double check your sound system, and use risers so your students are all seen!

Photos/Videotaping: Ask a staff member to find a parent volunteer to take photos and videotape the concert. You might have a staff member that takes great photos and give her the job.

Cleanup: One year I forgot to delegate a clean up crew, so guess who ended up cleaning up? Don’t forget to have teachers and parents who are responsible for taking down the backdrop and art work, loading instruments and props into vans, and returning them to school or to classrooms.

Concert Co-ordinator: You still need a concert co-ordinator to bring the whole show together. Email makes communication with the staff a lot easier than it use to be, so use it frequently so that all staff knows what is going on. This is the co-ordinators checklist:

Concert Date: ____________________________________________

Location: ____________________________________________

Time: ________________________

Grades Involved: _________________________________

Staff Member in Charge of: Verified/Done:

Backdrop: ____________________________________________ ____________

Sound System: ____________________________________________ ____________

Risers: ____________________________________________ ____________

Stage Helpers: ____________________________________________ ____________

Costumes: ____________________________________________ ____________

Program: ____________________________________________ ____________

Publicity/Notes to Parents: ____________________________________________

Supervision Backstage: ____________________________________________

Concert Setup: ____________________________________________ ____________

Photos/Videotaping: ____________________________________________

Cleanup: ____________________________________________ ____________

Concert Etiquette: Sometimes parents need a little education about concert etiquette. This may be especially true in schools where parents rarely attend concerts. Talking during performances, leaving the concert early, having CEL phone conversations are not infrequent complaints about parents in school concerts. To help to educate your parents, you might consider having a couple of students or the first class on stage read a poem at the beginning of the concert.

Concert Etiquette Rap    by Denise Gagne and Denese Odgaard

Welcome to our concert – we’re really glad you came.                                                                    We will listen carefully – we hope you do the same.

Some of us are really small – our voices aren’t too strong.                                                                If you’re really quiet – you’ll still hear – you won’t go wrong.

We have a few suggestions to make this fun for all.                                                                     Please turn your CEL phones off so they don’t ring inside the hall.

If you really have to go, please leave when there’s applause.                                                      You may enter once again – when there is a pause.

Save the hoots and hollers for when you’re at the game.                                                              When you’re at a concert, it isn’t quite the same.

If your baby’s crying and it’s really, really loud,                                                                             Please take them out until they’re calm – this time it is allowed!

We hope that you will stay and watch until the very end.                                                                We really will appreciate this – our thanks to you we’ll send!

When the concert gets closer, the stress level in the school rises. Remember who we’re doing the concert for – it’s all about giving the children a chance to perform! Ask someone in their 20’s what they remember from the second grade. The chances are really good that they’ll remember doing a Christmas concert. This is an event they will remember for a long, long time. It doesn’t matter if the choir on the risers is a little off centre or if one child sings the wrong words – what matters is that it’s a positive experience for every child.

Preschool Music Lesson, May 6, 2014

This class was taught to 3, 4, and 5 year old students in a Montessori school.   This was the second in  a series of 5 lessons that I’ll be doing with them.

Beat/Name Chant:  We started the class with our beat and name chant. I reviewed the beat chant.  Beat, beat, feel the beat.  Say hello to those you meet.

I kept the beat with the castanets today.  I have the plastic ones that pop open after you click them, so could keep the castanets on my hand and have the children tap them.  I told the children what the instrument is called and that they used to be made of wood, but now are sometimes made of plastic.  I showed them how to play it and told them that they’d all get to try it when they said their name. I held the castanet in the palm of my hand and the children played the castanet when they said “ My name is ____” and the class echoed “Your name is _________.”  At this point with the 3-4-5 year olds, I’m modeling how to keep the beat as we chant.  A few of the children are correctly tapping the beat, but many are not.  After 4 children, we said the 4 names in a row, partly to keep the beat, but also so I have a better chance of remembering the names!     (5  min.)

Vocalise with pipe cleaners:  – hold the pipe cleaner and move from top to bottom, saying ah as you move. – make the pipe cleaner into V and say Vvvv as you move ver the V shape.   – add a pipe cleaner across the upside down V and make A.  Say Aaaa as you show how to print the letter.  Be sure to show the formation of the letters in the same way that you print them.  (1 min.)

Short Letter A song – review from last week.  (30 sec)

Alligator Alarm song – review from last week.  Invite the children to children to choose new body parts for Alligator Al to eat.  (many squeals and excitement)  Some of the kids wanted to blurt out the body parts.  I found a child who had a hand up, and thanked them for having their hand up and asked them what they’d like Alligator Al to eat.  We ended up eating clothes, shoes, ears.

Vegetable cards – Mistake.  I gave each child a card and we spent more time discussing what the vegatables were than making music with them.  Suggestion for next time:  Put 4 cards in the pocket chart, and name them, then chant them with body percussion or instruments.  I wanted to have the children suggest sounds for their vegetable, but we’ll have to do this as a class this week.  (tomorrow’s lesson)

John the Rabbit:  I took vegetables from 4 kids, and we sang John the Rabbit substituting the vegetables chosen from the ones in the song..  I skipped the end of the song – it’s a little morbid.  I just shooed the rabbits out of my garden and picked out some new vegetables.

One Green Jellybean song:  I sang the song for the kids, then played the recording and doing all the movement.  They needed the jumping after getting all excited playing John the Rabbit and jumping in the garden.  (3 minutes)

Little Rabbit Foo Foo – Last week we sang the song.  This week, I brought in the storybook, and we modified the words of the song to match the pictures.  I kept to the words of the song as much as possible thought.  (3 minutes)

Rain Rain Go Away – I played the song on my mini-glock.   I talked about the weather – it had rained and snowed all weekend, so we sang both Rain, rain, go away and Snow, snow, go away.     (1 minute)

Egg Shakers – I explained that when I give out the eggs, I wanted everyone to wait until everyone had one before anybody picked them up.  One child started before they were all given out and a gentle reminder was given to wait.  As soon as everyone had an egg we chanted:

Shake the eggs quickly, quickly, quickly.  Shake the eggs quickly, quickly,stop!                                2.  slowly     3. Quietly    4. Loudly

I found one child who stopped when they were supposed to, and complimented her on stopping right away.  This really helps improve the behaviour of all the other children!

We said the poem, Chorus:  Shakin’ Eggs.  Shakin’ eggs.  Shakin’ eggs.  I got no bacon I got shaken’ eggs. (repeat)  Shake it up high.  Shake it down low.  Shake it real fast.  Shake it real slow.                       Chorus:  Shakin’ eggs.  Shakin’ eggs.  I got no bacon I got shaken’ eggs. (repeat)                                                        Shake it real quiet.  Shake it real loud.  Shake it any way that you’re allowed.                                 Chorus:  Shakin’ eggs.  Shakin’ eggs.  I got no bacon I got shaken’ eggs. (repeat)

When we put the eggs away, I sing, “bum bum” to so-do.

Goodbye ________, See you next week. Is our goodbye song, but because they gave me a muffin for Mother’s day, we didn’t have time.

Happy music making with your preschool students!  If you have some great lessons, send them to me and I’ll post them.

 

Preschool Music Lesson – April Week 3

I realize that I’m a week behind, but I’m going to teach April week 4′s lesson next week, even though I know it’s going to be May.  I wanted to teach the entire month’s lessons and it’s going really well.

Hello song – Today I used a different hello song.  I’m so happy to see ___, I’m so happy to see _____, I’m so happy to see ____, Everyone has fun in music class.  I kept the beat with castanets and reviewed what it’s called (Castanets – letter C), and how it’s played.

Vocal warmups:  Our vocal warmup was singing with the pipe cleaners.  I pull out a pipe cleaner and we sing a descending oo-ooo-ooo as I slide my finger down the pipe cleaner.  Then, I make different letter shapes with the pipe cleaner and we vocalise to those shapes, using the sound the letter makes.  I made a V, and we sang vvv down and up the letter V.

Letter Song:  We sang Letter V says V,  then I taught them V is for Victory.  I didn’t do such a great job of teaching it, and forget to bring the story along.  I’m getting better at story telling in the preschool – any time I tell a story, I have much better engagement!

Vicki and Van were on a volleyball team. Their volleyball team was very good. Vicki and Van really liked to play volleyball. At the end of the season, their team was in first place. Their team had a good chance to win the gold medal. The coach told the team to try their very best. “When you’ve done your best, you are a victor,” he said. All the parents wanted to video tape the big game. Then the kids could watch the game on TV. Vicky and Van tried their very best. All the kids tried their very best and they won the game. They were victorious! Vicky and Van were very happy that they were the victors and won gold medals. After the game was over, all the kids went to Vicky and Van’s house and watched a video of the game on TV. It was great to watch the victory!

New Song:  Five Little Ducks was the new song this week.  I had the castanets out, and had a brainstorm!  I used the castanets to do the sound of mother duck’s “Quack, quack, quack, quack.”  The castanets even looked like mother duck’s beak!  I have a class set of castanets, so gave each child one.  We always start instruments with the chant:  Play the castanets quickly, quickly, quickly. Play the castanets quickly, quickly stop!  Then I praise the children who stop when they are supposed to!  Then we do it slowly, quietly, and loudly.  We sang the Play and Stop song.  (From the collection, Rhythm Instrument Fun!) and then we sang “Five Little Ducks” again, with the castanets playing mother duck’s “Quack, quack, quack, quack.”  We counted how many ducks were left after each verse, so reinforced counting too!

Movement:  We reviewed “John the Rabbit.”  This song has been a big hit this year.  I’ve tried it a few other years, but this is the year that the kids are loving it.  It’s a call-response, and the kids are getting better and better at singing the response.  Today I asked who wanted to be “farmers” with me and had a group of farmers on my side of the room.  They sang the call with me, and when the rabbits answered, “Yes, Ma’am” they took one jump closer to the farmers.  I think their favourite part is when the farmer shoos the rabbits back to their spot.

Circle Game/Simple Song:  I’ve been teaching Rain Rain Go Away in preparation for the Rain Rain Story.  This is an app for iTunes, iPad and Google devices.  It’s great for creating sound effects and has some excellent ear training exercises for kids in the app.  Today I put 6-7 instruments in the middle of the circle.  I reviewed what these instruments were called and how to play them.  Then, as we sang “Rain Rain Go Away” I walked the outside of the circle, tapping each child on the head to the beat.  The last child tapped, went into the circle, chose an instrument and played the beat the next time we sang.  There was one child who was disappointed they didn’t get to go into the middle – another time, I’d give everyone a chance to play.  However, this way, we could hear the instruments better and the child playing could hear themselves better.

Audiation:  I taught the chant that is part of the Rain Rain app.

Pitter patter, pitter patter says the falling rain.   beats 1-4 pat, clap 2x, 2 beats show rain falling

Pitter patter, pitter patter on my window pane.   beats 1-4 pat, clap 2x, 2 beats show rain falling

We added the body percussion/actions as shown above.  Then I showed the kids my “magic mouth.”  I mouthed the words of the poem but didn’t say it, while I did the actions. I asked them to try it and we all did the actions, no words.  Next week, Say/Actions – Think/Actions – Say/Actions.

This is to help develop their ability to hear sound internally – audition.

Goodbye song:  Oh, It’s time to say goodbye to our friends.

 

This week I started teaching two classes at a Montessori preschool as well as teaching at Hunter’s play school.  I’m hoping to teach all the potential lessons in Musicplay Preschool several times before even thinking about completing it!

Join the Musicplay Teachers Group on Facebook – post questions and you get answers from Denise and from many other talented teachers!   https://www.facebook.com/groups/MusicplayTeachers/

 

 

Preschool Music Classes

I’ve been working on a preschool curriculum this year, combining what I think are the strengths of John Feirabend’s First Steps, and the curriculums that use instruments more extensively – Lynn Kleiner, Music Together, Kindermusik.  My hope is that Musicplay Preschool will be an easy to follow curriculum that will encourage students to enjoy singing, listening, playing instruments, moving, and creating.  I’ve spent the past 2 years with the preschool students in my grandsons preschool.  The first time I visited, they introduced me as Hunter’s grandma, and so for two years I’ve been Grandma D to 24 three, four and five year olds in the preschool.

This week’s lesson was mostly review.  Preschoolers need lots of repetition!  John Feirabend says you should do every activity four times in at least four lessons.  I find that can be a bit of overkill, but I do try to repeat activities 2-3 times.  We start our lessons with a beat chant, accompanied by a different instrument every week.

Beat, beat, feel the beat.  Say hello to those you meet.  I say,  ”Hello Hunter” and the students echo me.  I use different vocal qualities:  low/high, quiet/loud, fast/slow and I use melodic echo patterns as well.  We discuss the instrument that I’ve played.  What is it made out of?  How does it make it’s sound?

This week when I got into the classroom, the kids were all wearing pyjamas, sitting in the dark and holding flashlights.  They were pretty wired because it was panama day, so I changed the order of the lesson and did “Sleepy Bunnies” first.  They love this song – it’s in Primary Dances and Singing Games.  http://shop.musicplaytext.ihoststores.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=PD  Doing the game first got the wiggles out and they were ready for the rest of the lesson.

Fingerplays and simple action songs are very important for this age group.  They are engaging, and help to focus the students.  They help students to develop vocabulary and comprehension, as the actions often describe the meaning of the words.  They also get children used to watching the teacher – a great skill to have when they join choir or band later on.

This week we reviewed “Little Rabbit Foo Foo” with no accompaniment.  (just our voices)  On “Down came the good fairy” I really exaggerate the “downward” sound with my voice – helps them develop flexibility in their voices.  If we review the song next week, it would be fun to add some instruments as sound effects.  A glissando on a glockenspiel on “Down came the good fairy” would be magical.  We could shake egg shakers to the beat while we sing.  On “Boppin’ them on the head” a drum or woodblock could be added.

We also reviewed John the Rabbit.  I pretended to be the farmer that was mad that a rabbit was hopping in his garden and eating his cabbage.  The children were the “rabbits.”  Each time they sang “Yes, ma’am” they took one hop towards me.  At the end of the song the “rabbits” wiggle their tales back to back with another “rabbit” and then the farmer shoos them out of the garden.  They squealed with laughter as they hopped back.  Then I had them choose some new vegetables to eat out of the garden.  I’m going to make some picture cards of vegetables to use next week, and at the end of the song we might chant the names of the vegetables that the rabbit ate:  eg.  Lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, corn.  We could sing the song with instruments as well – one instrument for “yes ma’am” and a different instrument for the calls.

We reviewed “Bunny Boogie” from Sing and Play on Special Days.  We also reviewed One Green Jelly Bean from Movement Songs Children Love.

Our listening selection was “Hens and Roosters” from Carnival of the Animals.  I have a great visual that I printed from the Listening Kit 1 Digital Resources.  They pretended to be little chicks pecking at the grain.  They were scared of the big rooster who was trying to steal their grain.

I’m preparing them for the Rain Rain Story App so taught them Rain Rain go Away.  We made up a new verse – all the children want to play.  I brought out finger cymbals and we accompanied the song with finger cymbals.  I don’t have 24 pairs, so gave each child 1 cymbal and a small wooden mallet.  It’s easier to play like this and still sounds beautiful.  This was our simple song, and it’s one that I expect all the children will be able to sing with enough repetition.  More about the app in the next post.

We didn’t have time to give out egg shakers, but I wanted to review the Shakin’ eggs poem, so I played and said the poem.

Then, goodbye song and class was done.

Planning your Holiday Concert

The holiday concert in your school is great PR for the entire school!  It shouldn’t be up to the music teacher to do all the organizing.

Planning and Delegating Responsibility: At a staff meeting early in the fall, discuss how the holiday concert will be handled. Administration should make it clear to staff that this is a school event – not the music teachers big show. All staff should be expected to help with planning, and all should be expected to attend. A coordinator for the concert is required – usually the music teacher – , but if the school is supportive, the music teacher in the school isn’t burdened with doing everything

The following tasks could be delegated:

Backdrop: One teacher or parent can take responsibility for preparing and putting up the backdrop. Simple backdrops are good. You can purchase white tarps from Home Depot. If you make your backdrop somewhat generic, you can recycle them. We painted “Happy Holidays” on half of the white tarp and stapled garland around the edges. The garland probably won’t last forever, be we don’t have to redo the sign each year. If you don’t want the same backdrop every year, create 3-4 different ones and cycle them through. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel each year!

Sound System: One teacher or parent is responsible for locating a good quality sound system, with 4 mikes: 2 for the choir, and at least 2 for soloists. If the school doesn’t have a good sound system, try renting one. If you’re in a rural location without rentals, a local dance band may have a PA system they would loan you or rent to you. Have a backup plan! Borrow a karaoke machine to have on stage so you have a backup in case your sound system crashes in the middle of your concert.

Risers: One teacher or parent should be responsible for borrowing and/or setting up risers.

Stage Helpers: A couple of stage hands for the night of the concert should be found. There is always something that needs to be adjusted, and the concert co-ordinator doesn’t have enough hands to do it all. I often have a few responsible fifth graders become my stage hands. Some of the kids that really don’t like speaking parts, make great stage helpers! The stage helpers should remember to bring some emergency supplies in case of accidents:

* paper towels (vomit, leaky bladders)

* big garbage can, big garbage bags

* clorox wipes, rubber gloves (vomit)

* broom and dustpan (broken flashlight candles)

* kleenex (bleeding noses, runny noses)

Scene Rehearsal: Even when there is a music specialist every classroom teacher should provide extra rehearsal time for their own classes. The music specialist can make a tape or CD of the class’s song, for rehearsal purposes so the classroom teachers can help. (Themes & Variations Christmas programs allow you to do this – please check copyright regulations on other publications before copying anything!) Classroom teachers can use music or physed

time to rehearse songs and dances. When they have them learned, bring in the concert coordinator to help with entrances, exits and staging. Ask all staff members to prepare the children for the “what if’s” that can happen. If you are the music specialist, allow time to go through this with all children who will be in the concert.

* “What if – you have to puke?” (Get to the garbage can at the side of the stage if you can!)

* “What if – you have to go the bathroom?” (Use bathroom before show. Don’t drink pop!)

* “What if – you feel woozy?” (If you feel woozy when on stage, just sit down and put your head between your knees.) At least they won’t fall off the top riser!

Costumes: Meet with the concert co-ordinator to plan costumes for each group. The co-ordinator or the classroom teacher should determine determine what costumes and props are needed. Decide who will be sending notes home to parents with details of what their child should wear. Keep it simple! The easier the better. Sometimes just a hat will give the class the look you want.

Program: One teacher or parent should take responsibility for printing the program and for handing it out at the door (or choosing students to do this) at the actual concert. Publicity: One teacher or parent should take responsibility for sending notes home giving the date, time and location of the concert.

Supervision Backstage: The concert coordinator will be in the wings, coordinating entrances and exits. Two teachers or aides will be needed backstage to ensure that groups are ready to go on, on cue. All classroom teachers will be needed to supervise their children off stage. This is probably going to be the toughest hour of the school year. I had 90 children backstage one year. I played Concentration, Stella Ella Olla, and Topnotcher with them and managed to have fun while we waited. Directions for those 3 games are in “Singing Games Children Love” Volume 1 and 2, published by Themes & Variations. Videos don’t work well, unless you have a very large screen and a loud sound system. Taking children back to their own classroom and playing board games seems to be a good solution also.

Concert Setup: The concert coordinator will need some release time from regular classes to organize the setup of the stage area. Be sure to ask in your newsletter for parent volunteers to help with this. The backdrop needs to be put up, and all student art work that you can display, should be put up. A final check needs to be made that all

props are ready to be taken on stage from the wings. There are 2 things that parents hate at a Christmas concert - not being able to see their child, and not being able to hear what is being said and sung. Check and double check your sound system, and use risers so your students are all seen!

Photos/Videotaping: Ask a staff member to find a parent volunteer to take photos and videotape the concert. You might have a staff member that takes great photos and give her the job.

Cleanup: One year I forgot to delegate a clean up crew, so guess who ended up cleaning up? Don’t forget to have teachers and parents who are responsible for taking down the backdrop and art work, loading instruments and props into vans, and returning them to school or to classrooms.

Concert Co-ordinator: You still need a concert co-ordinator to bring the whole show together. Email makes communication with the staff a lot easier than it use to be, so use it frequently so that all staff knows what is going on. This is the co-ordinators checklist:

Concert Date: ____________________________________________

Location: ____________________________________________

Time: ________________________ Grades Involved: _________________________________

Staff Member in Charge of: Verified/Done:

Backdrop: ____________________________________________ ____________

Sound System: ____________________________________________

Risers: ____________________________________________

Stage Helpers: ____________________________________________ ____________

Costumes: ____________________________________________

Program: ____________________________________________

Publicity/Notes to Parents: ____________________________________________ ____________

Supervision Backstage: ____________________________________________ ____________

Concert Setup: ____________________________________________

Photos/Videotaping: ____________________________________________ ____________

Cleanup: ____________________________________________

Concert Etiquette: Sometimes parents need a little education about concert etiquette. This may be especially true in schools where parents rarely attend concerts. Talking during performances, leaving the concert early, having CEL phone conversations are not infrequent complaints about parents in school concerts. To help to educate your

parents, you might consider having a couple of students or the first class on stage read a poem at the beginning of the concert.  In the Holiday Concert Scripts Collection the Concert Etiquette rap is given with two extra verses – one about babies crying and taking them out and one about parent paparazzi – parents who rush to the stage to photograph their child.

Holiday ConcertHoliday Concert Scripts - This is a collection of 14 scripts for holiday concerts written by teachers from all over Canada and the USA.  It includes song suggestions, but you will find it very easy to use or substitute your own song choices.  A PDF file of all the scripts will be available so you can easily cut and paste and create your own concert.

http://shop.musicplaytext.ihoststores.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=HOL   (This is the Canadian site – go to musicplay.ca for the US site)

Do you like to do an inclusive program?  Celebrate Around the World includes a concert opener and a finale, a simple script, and 10 songs – Day of Eid, Diwali, a partner song using O Hanukkah, a partner song with Joy to the World, a great song about Snowing, Kwanzaa, and Gung Hay Fat Choi for Chinese New Years.  This collection has beautiful vocals and orchestrations. You can use it in December — or ANY time of year!

CelebrateCelebrate Around the World - This collection of 10 composed and traditional songs could be used as a holiday concert or could be used any time of year as a multicultural celebration.  Songs for Day of Eid, Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas, Winter (Snowing), Chinese New Years, Kwanzaa are included.  A simple script is included as well as an interactive vocal PDF to print or to project.  (Includes linked audio)

http://shop.musicplaytext.ihoststores.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=CEL    (This is the Canadian site – go to musicplay.ca for the US site)

November Assembly Ideas

November 11th is Remembrance Day or Veteran’s Day.  There are some really good selections in Musicplay.     Musicplay 1 – Just One Candle

You could use Just One Candle for Nov. 11th, and then use it again in your holiday program!

In Musicplay 3, there is a lovely piece by Sandra Klassen, Remember Flanders Fields.

If you don’t have Musicplay 1 or 3, these selections are available from www.musicplay.ca as single song kits.  When you enter the website, select song collections, then single song kits.  ANY song that we hold the copyright to can be made available as a single song kit.  The Kit is $15 and includes a piano/vocal score, a vocal reproducible and performance/accompaniment CDs.

Other Favorites for Nov. 11th include

A Wish For Peace (also titled A Christmas Wish) from the Happy Holidays collection.  (also a single song kit)

There are several performances on YouTube of this song:

Edwin posted the words for his choir to practice with – he’s one of the teacher’s who suggested the word change to make this song work for both Nov 11th and Christmas concerts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBl4zmdso2I

This is the Christmas version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVgBsL3t80E

In Flanders Fields - Craig Cassils has written two arrangements of this poem.  One is in Songs of Peace

This arrangement was on CBC news in 2011!  Great performance with choir and movement:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tn7gqpnVdRo

The other Flanders Fields is in the collection, “We Remember.”  I really like both arrangements.

I love the song “Take One Minute to Stand” by Beth Jay from this collection and made a video last year.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfJtqB4dJL8

Developing the Child’s Singing Voice

 Developing the Child’s Singing Voice     I recently read this question on a music teachers facebook page:  I’m teaching grade 1 and 2 music. I had 2 of my classes for the first time today and did some call and response tone-matching activities. I was shocked to find that 75% of the students could not sing in their head voice. At least 40% of those students couldn’t reproduce so-mi in a singing voice at all! Any ideas on where I start to help these students develop singing/head voices?  In this newsletter, I’ve got some suggestions for warmups, vocalizes and activities to get your kids matching pitch.

Start with the speaking voice and work on high and low sounds.

Alphabet Echo:  Say the letters of the alphabet in lots of different voices – high, low, silly, scary, monster, and have the kids echo each letter or group of letters.  (A or A B C) It’s a fun warmup and for your preK and kindergarten students will reinforce letter recognition.

Vocalise:  Do lots of vocalises with them.  I bought a toy fire engine and play the siren for the kids and have them make siren sounds.  I’ve found one Fire Engine storybook, and would welcome suggestions of fire engine stories that you’ve found!

I love the slide whistle! Have them echo the sounds that you make on a slide whistle.  Do this with your entire group, and then try it with individual students.  In John Feirabend’s research, he’s found that children need opportunities to sing alone as well as with the group.

Make vocal exploration cards, or have your students make them,  and have kids sing the shapes on oo, ah, bbb.   We’ve put some vocal exploration cards on www.musicplay.ca in the Free Downloads section.  If you want printed versions of these cards, they’ll be available soon.  (Sometimes buying them printed is cheaper than getting them printed in color yourself)

Say poems in low and high voices – for example:

low voice – Pussycat, pussycat where have you been?

high voice – I’ve been to London to visit the Queen

low voice – Pussycat, pussycat what did you there?

High voice – I frightened a little mouse under a chair.

Dramatize the poem!

Have the kids create ostinatos to chant with the poem, and have them chant in low voices, then high voices –

For example:

meow, meow, kitty says meow

Grandma’s Glasses Source: Musicplay K and 1

High Voice – These are Grandma’s glasses. This is Grandma’s hat.   This is the way she folds her hands and puts them in her lap.

Low Voice – These are Grandpa’s glasses. This is Grandpa’s hat.  This is the way he folds his hands, and then he takes a nap.

I use stories to get kids using different voices.  Retell the story of the three bears, and use low voices for Papa Bear, a middle voice for Mama Bear and a high voice for Baby Bear.  Have the kids say all the spoken parts with you.  “Someone’s been eating my porridge,” said Papa Bear.  (low voice)

The Three Bears in Musicplay 1, The Billy Goats Gruff in Musicplay for Kindergarten, and The Three Little Pigs in Musicplay 3 are all good for this activity.

The absolute favorite low-middle-high activity is the

Three Little Monkeys poem.

Three little monkeys swinging from a tree  Along came a crocodile quiet as can be

The low monkey said “You can’t catch me.” Snap!

Two little monkeys swinging from a tree  Along came a crocodile quiet as can be

The middle monkey said “You can’t catch me.” Snap!

One little monkeys swinging from a tree   Along came a crocodile quiet as can be

The high monkey said “You can’t catch me.” Snap!

“Missed me, missed me – now you gotta kiss me!”

I have great puppets to use with this poem, and you can find them at www.musicplay.ca - search for puppets.

Other songs/poems to use for high/middle/low practice:

Eensy Weensy Spider – Great Big Spider, Teeny Tiny Spider (in Musicplay 1 and Action Songs 1)

Boom Chicka Boom in Musicplay 5 is a good chant to use with your older students.

Leader:                                                      Class echoes:

Boom chicka boom                                      echo Boom chicka boom

Boom chicka rocka chicka rocka chicka boom  echo

All right?                                                      All right?

Oh Yeah!                                                      Oh Yeah!

One more time                                              One more time

Little bit louder                                              Little bit louder

Create ostinato patterns with body percussion to accompany the chant.  For example:  Pat left, pat right, clap, snap

 

After the chant activities do lots of echo singing. Echo so-mi, la-so-mi, so-mi-do, so-fa-mi-re-do patterns.

Do 3-4 minutes of these warmups every time you see them and you’ll start to build some flexibility in their voices.

Give them 5 or 6 classes of this and you’ll see a big improvement!

Rhythm Instrument Fun

Rhythm Instrument Fun!

Rhythm Instrument Fun!

When you have an activity using non-pitched percussion or rhythm instruments, it can get noisy and out of control if your children don’t know or don’t follow your procedures. When giving out instruments, I explain to the class that I’m going to put the instrument on the floor in front of them and they are to wait until everyone has an instrument and I tell them it’s OK to pick up and play. The analogy I use is if you go to a fancy restaurant, you don’t start gobbling your food the second it’s placed in front of you. It’s polite to wait until everyone has their meal, and then you all start eating at the same time.

That’s the procedure, but the kids are still eager to play and I hate to make them sit and wait and I want them to have the experience of playing. As soon as the last instrument is given out I use this poem:

Play the Instruments Quickly

The kids are very quickly engaged in the activity, they are exploring ways to play the instrument, and there is no chaos!

When that activity is finished, and they have to wait until the next activity is prepared, the rule is: If you play before I say I’ll take your instrument away.

I will take away an instrument, but usually give it back for a second try. Certainly, the behaviour is better from all the students if I do take away one instrument.  Remember Barbara Coloroso’s saying:  Say what you mean (If you play before I say I’ll take your instrument away.), Mean what you say and do what you say!

There are many ideas for using rhythm instruments in the new collection, Rhythm Instrument Fun. Get more information on the collection at www.musicplcay.ca.

Classroom Management

Music Classroom Management   We want music class to be something the kids look forward to, and it’s a very active learning environment.  How do you maintain the “fun” yet have your students behave in a way that allows for maximum learning.

I’d appreciate your suggestions and input!  Tips:

1. Engage the students - When students are engaged, they aren’t causing problems. When are students engaged?  When they are “doing!”   The teacher needs to remember to talk less and do more!

2.  Pacing - My lessons are fast paced.  When students have very little down time, there are far fewer behavior issues.

3. Barbara Coloroso says it so well:  “Our children are counting on us to provide two things: consistency and structure. Children need parents who say what they mean, mean what they say, and do what they say they are going to do.”

4. Praise the Positive  A pat on the back goes a lot further than a kick in the pants.  Catch someone in the class doing something right and make a positive comment.  It will often encourage the rest of the students to behave more responsibly.

5. Remind them about the Rules    Set your classroom rules early in the year and revisit them as needed throughout the school year.

Class rules - 5 Ps You Get What You Get

 

Rules Rhythms

6. If students don’t meet the expectations, have them reflect on their behavior.  Here are two sample reflection forms.

Behavior reflection

 

Bad Day in Music Class

Old Mr. Rabbit

Old Mr Rabbit

Game Directions:  Two children make a bridge with their arms raised. All the other children walk in a line through the bridge. On the word “cabbage” the gate comes down trapping “Mister Rabbit.” “Mister Rabbit” joins with the teacher to make a new bridge. The next child trapped joins the first “Mister Rabbit.” Continue making bridges until there are only a few children left.

Teaching Process/Suggested Activities: Tell the story to the children, having them sing each time the song occurs. Have a discussion about why it’s important to eat vegetables with the children. The story also touches on the them of “sharing.” Have the children think of times when they might share something with someone else.

Why include the story?  The more children do something, the better they will get at it.  Repetition of a simple song will help children to learn the lyrics, the melody and to be able to sing it in tune.   Playing the game is a great way to get many repetitions of the song.  However, it may not be possible in every teaching situation to play the game.  Using the song in the story gives an alternate way to repeat the song several times.  Kinesthetic learners will respond to the game.  Aural learners may respond better to the story.

Musicplay Digital Resources: In the Musicplay Digital resources, the PowerPoint includes the music notation for the teacher, and

the lyrics are illustrated with large, colorful photos. The movie includes the illustrated song lyrics.  If you have Musicplay teacher’s guides and would like to add the digital resources, grants are available to assist with purchase.  Download application forms at www.musicplay.ca

Old Mr. Rabbit Story

Old Mr. Rabbit lived in the meadow near Farmer Brown’s farm. Old Mr. Rabbit loved to eat lettuce, carrots, and cabbage from Farmer Brown’s garden.

Farmer Brown knew he had to eat a lot of vegetables to stay

healthy. He wasn’t happy when Old Mr. Rabbit came and ate all his cabbage!

Old Mr. Rabbit, you’ve got a might habit   Of hopping in my garden, and eating all my cabbage.

Farmer Brown built a very high fence around his garden. He hoped that the fence would keep Old Mr. Rabbit out of his garden. But Old Mr. Rabbit dug a hole under the fence, and helped himself to some lettuce, carrots and cabbage.

Old Mr. Rabbit, you’ve got a might habit Of hopping in my garden, and eating all my cabbage.

Farmer Brown thought that maybe a dog would scare away Old Mr. Rabbit. He got a new puppy named Sam.But Sam liked rabbits. When Old Mr. Rabbit came in the garden, Sam the puppy wanted to play with him.  Farmer Brown was not happy.

Old Mr. Rabbit, you’ve got a might habit   Of hopping in my garden, and eating all my cabbage.

Farmer Brown didn’t know what to do.

Mrs. Brown liked Old Mr. Rabbit. She said to Farmer Brown “Why don’t you plant a bigger garden? You could plant an extra row of lettuce, carrots and cabbage for our rabbit.” So Farmer Brown did.

Old Mr. Rabbit, you’ve got a might habit  Of hopping in my garden, and eating all my cabbage.

Old Mr. Rabbit left lots of vegetables in the garden for Farmer and Mrs. Brown. They all enjoyed their lettuce, carrots and cabbage and they all stayed healthy.