Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Elementary School....

I am about 1/3 of the way into my first year as an elementary music-chorus-band teacher and I thought it would be a good time to get some thoughts down on paper.

1. So far the time commitment is significantly less than my old job at the high school.  I have not adjusted to this yet.  There are virtually no evenings and no weekends required.  This is a big shift. 

2. I have not adjusted to the later starting time.  I usually get here at 7am for an 8:40am start.  Twice a week I have morning band at 745am (band is not scheduled in school day).  Even today I came in "late" but I am still an hour early.  On the flip side I never have to stay after the bell.  I am trying hard to run/exercise in the morning now that it is dark when I get home.

3. The school day is challenging.  I usually get 2 minutes between classes and this can be challenging for my brain.  My schedule is generally Prep until 10:05, 5th grade, lunch, then classes straight through from 11:30am to 3:30pm.

4. I do the same listening and reading segment for K-5.  You can see my listening playlist on youTube.  I then generally have a lesson for K-2 and a 4-5 lesson.  3rd grade is in the gap.   4th-5th are focussing on ukulele and K-2 are focussing on First Steps (at least portions of it).

5. I see Chorus very infrequently.  3rd grade is once per month and 4th/5th grade twice per month.  I see everyone in 3rd/4th and 5th is select.  All choruses are working on following large group rules.  I do have to bleed some "chorus" time into general music.

6. I am realizing as well that students do not do Google Classroom work unless they are in front of you.  Since I only see them about 120 minutes per month this is challenging to get any sort of listening or writing done.  I have to figure out how to leverage that.

7.  I am realizing that learning names may be a lost cause. 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Always on My Mind

I am not trying to post things that are perfect.  I recognize that I am in the beginning stages. This recording has a few slip ups in it.   I wanted to post a song that had more than 3-4 chord changes.  I struggled with the D chord and the strumming pattern--I am trying to do triplets.



Pretty shocking that I am three weeks away from an elementary school gig.  I really still have little to no idea what to do.  I imagine I know more than I think but I also feel I really need to teach a few classes to see how the pacing goes.  I need to get a ton of tiny activities ready for the little ones.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Learning Journey

I am trying to hard to write (sometimes I forget) and to document my learning journey and the ukulele.  The recent addition of the concert uke has helped and I have been playing about an hour per day.

I am working on my strumming.  I still struggle with learning tunes.  I don't know if that is part of my stroke deficit or if I just can't do it.  I could never memorize choir songs either.  I still don't think I could confidently sing the National Anthem without the words in front of me.  Verbal recall definitely a problem.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Kala KS-15 Concert

I bought a new Kala Concert KS-15.  It is basically the same as the KS-15S that I bought for school but much easier to play with the bigger size.  I don't yet feel comfortable buying a more expensive version of the instrument.  The Kala discounts for educators are very cool by the way.

I have gotten pretty comfortable with the "basic" playing on the ukulele.  I still struggle with the "exotic" chords but I can do the pretty basic ones.  My strumming is getting a little more natural.  I have been working a lot from Doctor Uke which has a TON of songs, almost all with audio attached and the Uke Tenor youtube page 


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Over the Rainbow

In Over the Rainbow I added an Em chord and I am trying to get the upbeat feel on the strumming.  This is clearly a work in progress.  I almost get it some of the time...

Yesterday I visited by colleague at the other elementary school in town and she has promised to share resources with me.  That will be a huge help.  The most important thing I need is some organization and she will share her scope and sequence.  Then I can start learning tunes, methods, games, etc...

Lots to do!!

Comments welcome.


Monday, June 18, 2018

You are My Sunshine

So I took Friday-Sunday off as I visited my mom and went to Molly's soccer tournament.  Yes, they allow ukuleles in Pennsylvania, I just did not bring one...

So I am trying to get my right hand moving a bit and learn some more songs.  I choose You are My Sunshine which seems to be a song students learn how to sing, and maybe we can get them to sing and play.

Its not in this song but I am trying to change my G fingering to the "proper" way.  I think that is why my G7 is now getting confused.

I tried a few patterns on the right hand.  I definitely struggle with the offbeat feel.  I can do it without singing, but the singing throws me off a bit.  Will improve with practice.

I hope to continue to post my progress (or lack of...) and welcome comments and ideas.


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Let it Be

I got some advice from Chris Russell to use my index finger to strum and to hold my right hand farther up the neck.  I struggle with the G chord (3 fingers...) and I see different fingerings out there for that chord.

I have been using the Roadie Tuner which was expensive but is pretty cool.  I hope it lasts!

I am transitioning slowly out of the high school.  I have had my last class and I am packing up.  Not easy!

Here is Day 2 of Let it Be.  Advice welcome.