PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Music, Grades 1-5, Week of February 5th

Hello Families!

Here’s our musical update for the beginning of February. Our musicians are growing their knowledge daily and I’m very proud of their work over the past two weeks!

Grades 1 & 2:

Our youngest musicians are so proud of themselves, and they should be! They continue to use their knowledge of basic music notation to write their own rhythms. We are also performing their original pieces using various percussion instruments. We have used rhythm sticks, egg shakes, triangles and the glockenspiel.

Moving forward, we will be exploring various time signatures: how many beats we need per measure. The students are actually getting some extra math in during music class! We are using the note values (whole note, 4 beats; half note, 2 beats; quarter note, 1 beat; eighth note, 1/2 beat OR 2 eighth notes, 1 beat) to create various combinations that equal 3 (3/4 time) and 4 (4/4 time).

Check out some of our first grade students at work writing music!!

**I’ll try to capture the 2nd graders at work this week – stay tuned!!**


Grades 3 & 4:

Our third and fourth graders are finishing up their study of the orchestra and the four instrument families. They will be taking a BRIEF quiz this week, or next, to see what information they have retained.  Ask your child to name a few instruments from the following families!

Woodwind: flute, piccolo, bassoon, clarinet, saxophone

Brass: trumpet, tuba, french horn, trombone

Percussion: drum, castanets, maracas, triangle, xylophone, wood block, whip, timpani/kettle drum, chime, cymbals, gong, tambourine

String: violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar, piano, harp, lute, banjo, lyre

Visit:  to hear the instruments in action!


Moving forward, students will begin a unit on music theory. For some of our musicians, some of this information might be a repeat (note names/values), but the practice will serve them well. They will be our resident experts as we begin to play rhythmic examples in class! If all goes well with this unit, I *may* introduce recorder at the end of the year (May/June?) so that students can practice what they have been learning with an actual instrument! The use of recorders will depend on student readiness and class cooperation during our lessons. I want to give them something to work towards!


Grade 5:

My fifth grade students continue to work in groups to write their own songs! The primary focus was lyrics, and they have recently turned their attention to melody and rhythm. I have some hilarious songwriters in this group! The songs that they are writing will be presented to the class when we return from February break.

After this first round of song writing, getting used to group work, and performing their finished pieces a capella, we will attempt to use Garage Band to write songs electronically. This will then allow us to focus more on melody, instrumentation and tempo.

Ask your child what his/her group is writing about! They are very entertaining!