We had the best February ever!! Studying the Songs of the South has always been a passion for me! We learned a Civil War Medley, songs about Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, and some of the songs sung by the slaves as they tried to keep a rhythm while picking cotton.
Then we discovered Ragtime and the music of Scott Joplin. The children loved learning facts about the life of this musician as well as listening to his music. We learned how music traveled on the riverboats and spread throughout the country. This resulted in the birth of a new and unique form of music called Jazz!
March will find us getting ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and the music of Ireland. Because Ireland is an island, we will study sea chanteys, the work songs of the sailors of the tall ships. In February, we learned how the slaves used music to work to a beat. Sailors, too, would hoist lines and raise sails to the rhythm of their rousing songs.
This month we will learn Irish folksongs. The leprechauns will be smiling as we learn “The Leprechauns are Marching,” “Michael Finnegan,” and “Molly Malone.” We will listen to the famous “Irish Washerwoman” and learn about tempo. We will also learn “In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb” in honor of our changing season.
On our list of composers, we will study the lives of Vivaldi, Bach and Beethoven. Hopefully, we’ll also have time to study Prokofiev. Prokofiev was a Russian composer who believed the children of Moscow should be able to easily recognize the sounds of various instruments. He wrote the classic “Peter and the Wolf” to accomplish that goal.
I am so proud of our recorder students (5th graders). Students have learned note value, musical symbols, and basic rhythm. Now we will be able to put this learning into practical application! Our afterschool choir will be singing at Open House, Valley Pines and at Mama Mia’s for a Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce Breakfast. Students are also invited to sing at the annual Memorial Day Ceremony in downtown Morgan Hill.
As you may know, I am the Musical Director of Freedom Fest’s Patriotic Sing held on July 3rd in Morgan Hill. Be watching for announcements regarding our essay contest for students in 2nd through 5th grade. Our topic this year is “What is your favorite Patriotic song? Why?” I would love to have entries from El Toro. And perhaps our amazing school will have a winner! Essays will be due April 25. I would love to have our El Toro Bulls be a part of Freedom Fest’s Patriotic Sing to be held on July 3rd. We have several rehearsals prior to our performance. Our first rehearsal will be on May 28. I will send along additional information.
Thank you so much to our Home and School Club for funding music at El Toro and to all of you who have participated in fundraisers!
Karen Ann Crane
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