Friday, February 8, 2019

Chorale Repertoire

I am currently at the local elementary school but I was able to hold on to the after school stipend for Chorale.  I love this group.  We are not performing nearly as much but we have a real solid program we are preparing for April 4.  There are 12 girls and 5 boys in the group.  We meet once per week.

Mainly since our seniors lost a bit when I got transferred I wanted to have a senior showcase.  So our program will be in two acts.

Ensemble Songs:

1.  Fly to Paradise by Eric Whitacre.  This piece is challenging.  It has a soprano solo and lots of split parts.  It is sung to a tape.  It is not quite as dissonant as most of the Whitacre we have sung.

2.  Selene's Boat by Don MacDonald.  The kids seem to love this song.  Great vowel exercise.  Opportunity for two solos as well.


3.  I'm Gonna Sing 'Til the Spirit Moves in My Heart by Moses Hogan.  This is hard for many reasons.  First--split parts.  Super high, super low.  FAST.  The middle section of sixteenth notes is a bear to do correctly.


4.  Cheap Thrills arranged by Deke Sharon.  We will do three pop numbers and this is probably the hardest one of the bunch.

In addition we will do Bring Me Little Water and some arrangements of Happy Together and Count on Me.  We will end with our theme song: Parting Glass.

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.