Saturday, December 13, 2014

Wallace December Program 2014

I am blessed each year to lead almost 400 children in beautiful
music during the month of December.  We sing and dance and play
and give the gift of music to our community.  This is a playlist of
the first school to perform this year.  I hope you enjoy.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Is the Grinch stealing Christmas?

Every year at this time, music teachers around the country are directing musical shows in December and calling them all kinds of things.  Do we dare call our concerts, Christmas concerts any more?

My program this year is called, "Seasonal Songs of Stage and Screen." My 6th graders are singing "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch."   The show this song is based on is called,  "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," not "How the Grinch Stole Winter or Holiday time."

Most people in this country celebrate Christmas in at least some kind of secular way. Whether you embrace the baby born in the manger 2000 years ago or not,  it is what it is.  It's Christmas and I'm not afraid to use the word. our final song says this year...
Have yourself a merry little Christmas.

Saturday, November 8, 2014


How to teach it to children whose only exposure to music is me and what they hear on the radio. This is not a choir. These are all the 6th graders in my schools. Some I've had for 7 years, others are new this year. 

I am a firm believer in the Suzuki method. A child learns to speak before learning to read. I believe a child needs to be immersed in the sound of music before they can make music and finally read music.

My 6th graders are singing Auld Lang Syne. It's not a song they know. Maybe they have heard it rarely, but now, I want them to sing harmony to it. This is kind of how it went at each school.

I first sang the harmony only to them.
Then I sang it with the words projected.
We talked about word origins.
We talked about Scotland and Gaelic.
I sang it again with accompaniment.
I sang it again with children singing the melody.
I showed them the notation.
We navigated what I call our musical map.
They watched me sing it as I pointed to the notation.
They got the score with their part highighted.
They silently followed with their finger.
They helped each other find the repeat, 1st & 2nd endings.
They hummed along with me as I sang and they followed.
They got to sing along with me with the score.
We got into a circle with the score and sang it again.
Then we put away the music and sang it again.

We'll review this shortened process again the next time I see them in order for them to hear it again, follow the score and translate what they already know by hearing into what they are seeing.

And they will sound amazing and be proud of themselves.

Monday, October 27, 2014

This is one way to familiarize my students with musical symbols at an early age.  I had my 1st and 2nd graders create musical jack-o-lanterns with  musical symbols the last week of October.  I found this little song floating around on the Internet, combined the two and had a neat little project they could take home and share with their families.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bach Biography

I am trying my hand at creating a teaching video by creating it in Keynote and exporting it to an MPEG video.  I like how it turned out!

What is Genius Hour? - Introduction to Genius Hour in the Classroom

Imagine if we gave our students this time...

Monday, September 29, 2014

Preamble from one generation to another!

My daughter is now a 4th grade teacher and has taught her students to rap the Preamble of the U. S. Constitution just like I do every year.  I can not tell you how much this blesses me.   The gift goes on!