Music Notes

El Toro November Music Note

We have had a very busy musical November! The students truly increased their “oral tradition”. Many songs were added to the list of songs children are capable of singing without needing song sheets or charts. Favorites include: “Zip Ah Dee Do Dah”, “Over the River and Through the Woods” and “Teach Me to Read”. We also learned “Smokey, the Bear” as we discussed fire safety. 

Our younger students have learned to keep the beat while marching and clapping. We also practice tapping toes to music. Activities like this promote good listening skills for our youngsters. We have learned that each of us have percussion instruments with us wherever we go. Our hands and feet are perfect for keeping the beat! Older youngsters have been identifying major and minor key and learning dynamics (how loud or quiet music is played during a selection). We have learned note values and time signatures.

I am so pleased with our recorder players. They sound great! Part of their success can be directly attributed to the support of their classroom teachers. Another factor in their success is that they remember to bring their instruments to school each Tuesday. (Thanks for your help with reminders!)  Following our Holiday break, we will review instrument families.  

Our after school choir continues to meet each Tuesday from 2 to 3 p.m. We work on harmony, on singing with expression and conveying a mood, and on using clear diction. However, there are non-musical goals that we are achieving as well. Singers are learning to stay on task, to be responsible, to demonstrate a willingness to try and to display a positive attitude. There is a real emphasis on Community Service in choir. Our trip to Valley Pines resulted in happy smiles for both our singers and our audience! In January, I will be accepting new singers into our choir. (For those of you who LOVE to plan ahead, we sing at Stanford on March 1, 2020. Thanks to Home and School Club for approving funds to purchase tickets for our choir members and to Mr. McDonald who is our ambassador.)

In December, we will celebrate the Holidays and sing the treasured songs of the season. We will sing several Holiday songs including “Silent Night.” I like to include this song in our studies because of its historical significance as well as its global popularity. And, of course, we will sing Hanukkah songs, a Spanish lullaby, and learn a round or two. Ah, so many songs, so little time!

Be watching for information on school Holiday gatherings. It’s wonderful to be able to give our youngsters the opportunity to learn that performing is FUN! Our first gathering will be “Evening with Santa” on Friday, Dec. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. Children will not be performing, but will be encouraged to come up on the stage and sing at various times during the evening. 

            We are THRILLED to be presenting multiple concerts this year because our audiences are so large. Thank you!! (Must be everyone wanting to sing the “12 Days of Christmas”!) Please be watching Mr. McDonald’s weekly emails for more information on our concerts. Tentatively, Grades 2 and 3 will perform on December 10, grades 4 and 5 on December 17th. Information on our TKs, Ks and 1st Grades will be announced soon.       

    I would like to include a community service component to our concerts. Please bring a cozy pair of socks or a cap to be donated to “Cecilia’s Closet” or “Community Solutions” and given to youngsters in our community. Our choir members will be collecting the items. Thanks in advance!         

        Though this isn’t a school activity, I will be leading “Caroling by Candlelight” at Machado School (13150 Sycamore Drive) in Morgan Hill on Sunday, December 22, at 5:30 p.m. We will gather to sing traditional Christmas carols outside under the stars. This is a wonderful family event. Please dress warmly!

      Thanks to our Home and School Club and Mr. McDonald for their support of music at El Toro. Thanks to those of you who contributed to the Bull Run! Happy Thanksgiving to all! 

With a song in my heart, Karen Ann Crane