Thursday, January 29, 2015

Bouncing To The Beat 2015

This is our third year of performing basketballs to the beat for our high school audience!  I've taught note values through basketballs for years.  It seems like a natural to me!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Planning for April

In April 2015, we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War.  I think this is worth celebrating with the amazing music from that time!   We sang The Battle Hymn For Gettysburg in September and it quickly became a favorite! I showed the Gettysburg clip from Remember The Titans for a current connection.   Here are a few ideas from my favorite music education magazine MK8.

Aura Lee for recorder.
Goober Peas - One of my favorites.
Down By The Riverside - Great for harmony.
Blessed Peace from MK8 is a beautiful new one.
When Johnny Comes Marching Home for recorder

Here is a whole list from Music K8!

I own this CD and use it often for listening examples.

Friday, January 9, 2015

First Time First Graders - Jump Bands

It's so important to lay the ground work for Jump Bands.  This is how we start in 1st grade.  We'll practice this lots and lots with all kind of music but usually with a tempo from 140 - 155 BPM.  This one is about 151.    We will practice the enders next.  It is rare that we combine the two in 1st grade!  This year might be an exception!  Encourage.  Model.  Praise.  They will get it!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

YouTube Playlists - An Awesome Tool!

YouTube - Playlists

Amazingly, you can create a playlist on YouTube and play one video after another.  It is a great way for families and students to watch the content they want from each program, or watch all the content from each program.  I'm so grateful for this service!

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.