Friday, 29 November 2013

Concert is Coming!!!

-December 9 - Grade 6 and Junior Winds Concert - 7:00p.m. at Campbell, students meet at 6:30p.m.
-December 10 - Grade 7 and Grade 8 Concert - 7:00p.m. at Campbell, students meet at 6:30p.m.
- MONDAY IS DAY 1!!   (With some schools having interviews on Friday, just a reminder that Monday will still be Day 1)

The t-shirts have arrived!  They will be distributed next week.

Congratulations to all the students who braved the very chilly temperatures to march in the Grey Cup Parade.   You did a wonderful job!

In Grade 6 Band

This week the Grade 6's learned a new jazz standard piece.  They learned C Jam Blues.    Many of the Grade 6's were impressed to hear a recording of Oscar Peterson play the exact same piece that they learned by ear.    Students learned this melody was called "the head" and that after we played "the head" we added some improvised solos.    We had some fun experimenting with the jazz style.

With our concert quickly approaching Grade 6's are now concentrating on their concert music.   They will be playing Let's Go Band, Theme From Beethoven's Ninth, Jingle Bells, C Jam Blues, and from our book Star Search, Shark, and Dreidel Song.   Some students are also working on "Green is the Colour" to perform.   Some students have asked to play a "show off" at the concert.   We will be checking these next week to make sure all are ready.    Students are asked to practice their concert material this week.

In Grade 7 Band

We are completely focusing on concert music right now.   Students are asked to focus on the Concert F key signature and O Tannenbones.    This piece has MANY accidentals for students.   Students are asked to take a very careful look at it and mark all the accidentals.

Concert material for the Grade 7's will be O Tannenbones, Spirit of the Wolf,  Song for Peace and Incantation and Ritual.  Students are asked not just to practice their favourite, but to practice the tricky parts.    (They should now be circled!)

In Grade 8 Band

With one more week of rehearsal's before the concert, the grade 8's are working hard on the finishing touches of our four songs.  We've been focusing on our articulations and phrasing to make the pieces sound great.  We will start working on Amen and African Marching Song after the concert.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Go Riders!

Please Remember:
  • T-Shirt Money
  • For those participating in the Marching Band, please bring back your permission forms
  • Concert dates are December 9th for Gr. 6 and Junior Winds and December 10th for Gr. 7 and 8

In Grade 6 Band

In Grade 6 Band this week we had several discussions about how the cold weather affects our instruments.   Students were reminded not keep instruments in cars over night and not to leave them outside.   Brass students were reminded that all of their valves will probably dry out more quickly and that their slides will need more grease.   Woodwind students were reminded that their corks will dry out more quickly and so will need more cork grease and that reeds will dry out more quickly.   This is fixed by making sure reeds are wet when they are used.  Several students commented on how different it felt playing their instrument.   Many students lips and skin also dry out in the cold weather and as soon as students "wet" their lips they found it much easier to play.

Grade Sixes are now starting to focus on the music we will be playing at our concert on Dec. 9.   Students will be performing Jingle Bells, Let's Go Band, and Beethoven's 9th.  We began playing the Concert Bb scale together, and some of us began playing it up and down.    Several of our students asked this week to review the notes for "Green is the Colour"  so they could help cheer on the Riders this weekend.   Once again  we have circled in books what to practice this week.  

In Grade 7 Band

In Grade 7 Band this week we spent a fair amount of time discovering different articulations.   These included staccatos, tenutos, accents and a "normal" note.    Students were quite critical of themselves as they tried to match exactly with their groups each of these articulations.   Percussionists quickly discovered why it is we have so many different kinds of mallets.   They found mallets to match with each of the styles we were trying to play.  

Grade 7's are getting geared up for our concert.   They will be performing O Tannenbones, A Song For Peace, Incantation and Ritual and Spirit of the Wolf.   These are practice priorities, with the specific goal of playing the proper articulations.     

In Grade 8 Band

This week we got a new piece for our concert on December the 10th.  It's Drums on the Housetop and it is a percussion feature.  The other pieces we've been working on are Chesapeake Serenade, Chant and Tribal Dance, and Spania.  We've been concentrating on using the articulations that we worked on with Dr. Lonis as well as emphasizing beats 1 and 3.  Have a good weekend.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Short Week

-Instrument Rental Forms need to be handed in
-Any t-shirt orders left, need to be handed in
-Grey Cup Marchers need to make sure you have your form handed in

In Grade 6 Band

This week in Grade 6 band we went beginning to end (without stopping) of one piece of sheet music.  Students discovered, this is much harder than it sounds, especially if there are no long rests written in the music.  It takes a great deal of focus and concentration to do this, especially for the first time, and so congratulations Grade 6's!  

This week we also learned a Concert Bb scale.   We learned this by playing the note, writing it in our composition books, and then playing it again.   Grade 6's also discovered this week why we have been learning music by reading notes, by writing note names down, and figuring out by ear.   Many were very surprised by the diversity in which our students prefer to learn.   Our goal is to make students comfortable playing music in all of these ways.

Students this week, also figured a base line.   We learned this by some of us playing our 12 bar blues, some of us soloing, and some of us playing the scale degrees that we wrote out.   We did this all at the same time.   It was a little tricky, but the Grade 6's did a great job of trying their best and helping each other out in the process.  

This coming up week we will be taking a closer look at Beethoven's Ninth.   We will once again be applying the practice strategies  - airing, singing, clapping,  and using our fingering charts to help us figure it out.  This piece is tricky, because everyone gets not only melody, but harmony as well.   We learned quickly that harmony many times is more tricky than the melody.   We once again circled in students' books the lines to practice.

In Grade 7 Band

We are continuing to work on Concert F scale and our chromatic scale.   We will begin trying some experiments with different articulations.   The Concert F scale puts many of our students in a range of their instruments they do not regularly play in.   Some instruments this is lower and some this is much higher.   We are having students try these notes.   Many are surprising themselves that although they thought they could not do them, they can.    This is a major accomplishment and discovery as we continue to work on expanding instrument range.  

We have been working mostly on sheet music.   However, the sooner we have the Orange Book, we will begin!    Some students have begun the second book.   We are looking forward to getting everyone going in the next book.  Students are asked to practice O Tannenbone and Spirit of The Wolf.

In Grade 8 Band

Although it was a short week, we had a very full four days with two full band classes.  In particular we had a great workshop with Dr. Dale Lonis.  Dr. Lonis had worked with many of our students last year so it was particularly beneficial to take what they learned last year and incorporate it and build upon it this week.  Also, we'll get another chance to work with Dr. Lonis again in February.  Students should continue to practice Chesapeake Overture, Chant and Tribal Dance, and Spania.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Long Weekend

Things To Remember

  • T-shirts -  If you haven't brought your form in yet please do so immediately.
  • Instrument Rental Forms need to be returned.
  • Grey Cup Parade Forms
Grey Cup Parade
If their is anyone else interested in marching in the Grey Cup Parade please let us know.   We will have  a practice after school on Friday to go over the music.   We will also have a practice on Thurs. Nov. 21 with Balfour Area to go over music and make sure students are comfortable marching.  Please note, parents are welcome to march and play with us in the parade.

In Grade 6 Band
This past week Grade sixes received their first pieces of sheet music!     When we handed them out, we tried a few practice strategies to figure them out.   The first was important.   We put it the music in "chunks."    Then with these chunks we clapped rhythms, we sang it, we looked up fingerings, and we aired it.   After we had done all of these steps, then we began trying to make the "chunks" of music longer.    When students received the music, they were reminded that it is not expected to sound good at first, that is why we practice.

This week as well marked the first week many students were assigned lines from the second chapter.   The beginning of the second chapter includes two new notes.  Most students have played these notes before, but they have not necessarily seen what they looked like.    Most students were given the first three lines of chapter two to practice.

In Grade 7 Band
This week in Grade 7 Band students continued working on the chromatic scale and Concert F scale.   We received one new piece of music and students quickly figured out why it was that we have been working on our Concert F scale.  (This is the key signature of our new piece.)  Students are being aksed to play for me their Concert F scale and their chromatic scale.

This was the first week that we began working out of the second book in some sectionals.    All students can now begin bringing this book regularly to class.  If you have not purchased this book yet, please call ahead to the music store before you make a trip down there.   Books were in stock at Cobb Swanson, Long and McQuade, and St. John's, quantities were limited and more orders were being made a few weeks ago.   If you have any problems getting a book, please let me know.

In Grade 8 Band

This coming week is very exciting for us.  First, we have our full band rehearsal on Tuesday and then we have a special full band clinic at Campbell on Thursday morning with Dr. Dale Lonis.  Students will be picked up at their schools first thing in the morning and will be returned to their school before lunch.

Most schools have finished their playing test on measures 58-74 in Amen.  It is becoming apparent that success is dependent upon practice.  Students are encouraged to practice slowly but with keeping time and then increase the speed slowly.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Practice Strategies

Things to Remember:
-Instrument Rental Forms need to be returned.
-T-shirt Forms - we are still missing a few.   Please get them in.   We need to place our order.
- Grey Cup Parade forms are due back.  If anyone is interested in playing in the Grey Cup parade, they should make sure we know about it.

In Grade 6 Band

Grade 6's will be beginning the second chapter of their Blue Book this coming up week.   The second chapter begins on Page 11 and introduces two new notes.   For Grade 6's who missed seeing Ms. Anderson this week, please go ahead and practice lines 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3.  If Grade 6's have already practiced these, they may move on to the next numbers in their book.

This week in Grade 6 band we practiced using different practice strategies.   To do this we tried as a Group - Jingle Bells.   Strategies that we used to help us were breaking the music down in chunks, clapping rhythms, using our fingering charts, and airing it.   We practiced these strategies in preparation for some of the longer "sheet music" students will be receiving this week.    Students are encouraged to try some of these strategies at home during their practice sessions.

Grade 6 students this week also did some experimenting with a Concert E.    This is a new note needed for one of the pieces of sheet music that we will be playing.    Grade 6's who we did get to see in sectionals this week also figured out the notes for the opening of Harry Potter.

In Grade 7 Band

The Grade 7's made some excellent progress this week.   We have been working extremely hard at learning how to control our big sound and it is starting to pay off.    Grade 7's are beginning to use their controlled sound to create some very crescendos and decrescendos.  

This week, as well Grade 7's began working on their Concert F Scale and their chromatic scale.   Many were pleasantly surprised at how the chromatic scale was not nearly as tricky as they thought it was.    Students are still encouraged to use their fingering charts on Page 55 to help figure out their chromatic scale.

We are starting the move to the second book.  Students with the second book, we have begun circling lines to be practiced.    Students without, you will need it soon.   Please call ahead to St. John's, Long and McQuade, or Cobb and Swanson.   All of these stores are stocking in, but a had a shortage a couple of weeks ago.   They were getting more books in.

In Grade 8 Band

In Grade 8 we are working on combining our circle of 4ths with a chromatic scale to give us dominant 7 chords.  It's coming along very nicely.  This challenges the students to really work on their intonation and confidence.

For this weeks playing test we are doing measures 58-74 in Amen.  This is a very tricky piece and these measures are definitely the most difficult.  However, the piece is lots of fun and getting these measures under control will make it possible to get through the entire piece.