PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

April Music Update! Grades 1-4

Hello students & families!

Here’s what we’ve been working on in music…

Grade 1:

Our awesome first graders have now completed their journey through the Woodwind Pond, String Savannah, and the Brass and Percussion Lands. They found, assembled, “played”, and heard SO many new orchestra instruments. See which activities/ instruments they remember. The students were all truly engaged in the games – please ask them which part of our Listening Adventure was their favorite! (If they seem to have forgotten what they did, remind them of the hippos, the lions, the harp or the riddles. Those few clues should bring up some happy memories and get them talking!)

Last week, first graders also learned a Call/Response song called The Littlest Worm. It’s definitely a silly, simple song, but see if your child can recall the adventures the worm experienced after he got stuck in a straw! Don’t worry… it turns out OK in the end!


Grade 2:

Last week, 2nd grade had a real treat! They got to visit their 5th grade buddy classes in dance, and watch them practice their song/dance for an upcoming 5th grade performance. The 2nd graders were an amazing audience!

They are now ready to begin their interactive orchestra adventure via Carnegie Hall. They will hear, “play”, assemble and find instruments in an effort to recreate the symphony orchestra! Benjamin Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra will be our guide.


Grades 3 & 4:

Students in grades 3 and 4 are turning into some excellent musicians! Their new theory skills are showing as they compose 16 measure songs in partnerships. These compositions will first be played rhythmically – students will tap out the rhythms that they wrote and “perform” for their classmates. Then, if students are able to truly play the pieces using the pitches that they have written (line and space notes), they will perform again! If students need help, I can play the pieces aloud for them. In this way, they will actually hear what their compositions sound like. Seeing and hearing the relationship between what the notes look like when spaced out, or close together, on the staff will lead into a new concept: intervals.

3rd and 4th graders also got to play a new, interactive game this week – Whack A Note. Based on the popular carnival game Whack A Mole. Students are given a note to look/wait for, and when that note “pops up,” they tap the Smart Board screen (or laptop keyboard) to “hit” it. Faster tapping = bonus points, so you can imagine the excited squeals that came from your children. Learning to read/identify notes was never so exciting!


Encourage your child to sing, dance and listen to music at home! (My own 3 year old has recently begun “writing” songs and playing them on his guitar. Of course, he always asks for an audience, and it’s awesome to see the joy in his eyes as he creates and plays.)

Find YOUR favorite CD and play it for them – talk about what you like about the music. The more exposure that students have to music, the more they will grow as musicians and appreciate what they are hearing. Music is a great way to relax after a busy day, or ease into bedtime. Try to make it a part of your routine!