The 7th grade band students are being exposed to some pretty unusual time signatures in band. Yesterday, the students played a warm-up in 7/8 time and 3/8 time. Today they started sightreading a piece of music that goes back and forth between 5/4 and 3/4 time. They are also working on a 4-part chorale. Today they played the soprano and alto parts together for the first time. They have a playing test over line 171 on Friday.
The 8th grade band students analyzed the form of Can’t Turn You Loose. They learned that there is more than one way to analyze music and that there isn’t always one right answer to the way you interpret and look at music. The important thing is to find something that makes sense to you that you can justify. They also learned some choreography for Gimme Some Lovin’ today. You won’t want to miss their pregame performance at the Central football game on October 9.
The 6th grade band students learned another new note today. They are working hard in class and playing along with our new software program in small groups. First they listen to the recording. Then they count and clap the rhythm. Then they finger along. Then they play it.
Normally with great weather, teachers can expect behavior problems. Today was not the case! The weather was beautiful outside and the band students were great inside! Who could ask for more?!
7th graders got new music for the upcoming concert. One of the songs, Festival, is a tradition for the 7th grade band students to perform at the Fall Concert. This tradition has been going on for approximately 30 years. The other two songs they received were Chalumeau and Ghosts in the Graveyard.
8th grade band memorized Rawhide today. I was pleased with the students’ analysis of the form of the piece. Analyzing the form of the piece really stretches their thinking, but it is a great tool for memorizing the music. Tomorrow they will memorize Can’t Turn You Loose.
Today in 6th grade band we reviewed our new note and played lines 71 and 72 out of the book. We got to use our new Bluetooth keyboard and mouse/wand with our music software program to listen to the music and play along with it on the big screen.
After a nice weekend, students returned to school ready to learn! Well, most did. For others, it was definitely a Monday! 7th graders are getting better at tuning. Tomorrow they will be getting new music to work on for the October concert. 8th graders reviewed the memorization for Gimme Some Lovin’ today and started working on memorizing Rawhide. 6th graders got their test back that they completed on Friday and had an opportunity to correct it and turn it in for additional credit. They also concluded their blitz through the book. Today they learned a new note and tomorrow they will start learning NEW material that they didn’t get to in the book last year. I was especially pleased with the 6th grader percussionists who are making big improvements on the bells.
6th graders celebrated Tie Day today by wearing ties to school. The annual holiday is in honor of the curved line that connects notes of the same pitch. The students also completed a test over pages 1-9 out of the book. Today Mr. Rohrer worked with the percussionists on the bells.
7th graders had a playing test over line 163 today (Concert Eb Major Scale). For the most part, they did a nice job on it. The scale is much higher than they are used to playing, so the last few notes were difficult for some students to play. The 7th graders also got signatures from other students in class by playing lines for them out of the book. The signature sheet is due on Monday — over the weekend they need to get a signature from a parent.
The 8th graders passed their playing test over Rawhide and Can’t Turn You Loose with flying colors. We had a class meeting about the upcoming calendar. Next week they will work on memorizing the music so that after Labor Day they can begin the work of marching outside.
Students in band class spent part of class time today preparing for tomorrow’s test. 7th graders have a playing test over line 163 tomorrow (Eb concert major scale). They also received their first signature sheet today in class and filled in the blanks about staccato, tenuto, and sightreading using their books. 8th graders have a playing test over Rawhide and Can’t Turn You Loose tomorrow. They spent most of today in sectionals working on the music together. 6th graders have a test over concepts from pages 1-9 out of the book. They also continued their blitz today, knocking out pages 12 and 13. Tomorrow is tie day, an annual tradition for 6th grade band students when they reach page 14 in the book, which introduces the concept of the tie in music.
Band students got to see their grades in class today. Grades are posted on the bulletin board by student ID so that it is anonymous. So far, the students have 3 grades in the gradebook: their daily grade, which is based on their supplies and participation in class; a playing test or a written test which varies depending on the class; and a locker check for taking their instrument home over the weekend. A very few students are losing daily grade points each day because they still need to turn in the contract that was due August 17.
7th graders got a bigger taste of tuning their instruments today by listening to different pitches and watching a metronome. They also started their first new unit out of the book which focuses on articulations such as staccato and tenuto.
The 8th grade band played through the music for their marching show. It is important to play the music each day so that they become very familiar with it. The next step is memorizing it, which tends to be easier if you’ve played the music a whole lot already. They also broke off into groups to analyze the musical form of each piece.
In 6th grade band, students received a new sheet of “Finger Exercises” today. The exercises are designed to wean students off of writing fingerings or note names in the music if they are accustomed to using those as a crutch when playing music. The percussionists are pretty good at the playing rhythms on the practice pad, but they need a lot of work on the bells. Most of the percussionists don’t like playing the bells — which is not hard to believe because no one enjoys doing something that they can’t do very well. Mr. Bley visited with the percussionists and used an analogy to explain to the percussionists that a quarterback with no arms is worthless to a football team. In the same way, a percussionist who cannot play the bells is not going to be able to help out the band very much. They seemed to understand that as percussionists, they need to learn all the percussion instruments. They will be focusing more on the bells in class so that they develop their ability to read notes on the staff and play them on a mallet instrument.
The 7th grade band will be learning how to tune their instruments by ear this quarter. Today, the students were introduced to the steps involved in tuning and what to listen for when playing their tuning note. Over the next few weeks, students will work on tuning in class and developing their listening skills. They also completed a sheet of review terms that were covered in the first few pages of their books. Eventually, they will be tested over the concepts. Tomorrow the students will receive their first signature sheet and start learning new concepts from Book 2.
8th grade band students played through all their music for their upcoming marching show and split off into sectionals for most of the period. They have a playing test on Rawhide and Can’t Turn You Loose on Friday. Did you know that Otis Redding composed Can’t Turn You Loose? Here’s an interesting arrangement of Can’t Turn You Loose performed by another band.
In 6th grade band, students had a chance to retake their note names test. Every student who retook the test passed! Students also completed a review sheet over terms from pages 1-9 in their books. They will have a test on Friday over those terms. The beginning of the year in 6th grade band feels like a lot of worksheets and tests because it is important for me to find out where the students are at musically. With students coming together from different schools, we need to find a starting point that will give everyone the best chance of being successful.
The 7th grade band learned their Eb Concert Major Scale today (Line 163 in the book). This is the first time they have played the entire octave. Book 1 split the scale up because the last part is too high for most of the instruments. They will have a playing test over the scale on Friday. The students also received a 4-part chorale that they are going to work on at the beginning of each class.
7th and 8th graders listened to Ken Hakoda talk about the Salina Youth Symphony. Hakoda talked about the many opportunities available for students involved in SYS. The auditions are this weekend and flyers are available for any student interested in auditioning. Hakoda is the director of the Salina Symphony and teaches choir at Kansas Weslyan University.
The 8th grade marching band reviewed Gimme Some Lovin’ and Rawhide today. We decided that measure 52 to the end needs a lot of work on Rawhide. Then we listened to Think/Can’t Turn You Loose and talked about how much time we have to prepare the piece, memorize it, and march to it. The students decided that they would cut the first half of the piece (the Think half), and just play the last part with Can’t Turn You Loose.
6th graders got to see how they did on their note names test today. Those who were gone on Friday made up the test today in class. Any students who scored below an 80% will need to retake the test tomorrow. Those students were paired up with another student who scored a 100% to help them study for the retake. We also continued our blitz through the book, reviewing pick-up notes and dynamics today in class.
The first week has come and gone for students at Lakewood Middle School and the bands are hard at work playing their instruments. Today students in band class had their first tests of the year.
7th graders had a playing test over the first eight notes of line 159, also known as their Bb Concert Scale. As a class, they did a great job. Each student received written feedback on what they did well and how they can improve on the next playing test.
8th Grade Band Pictures
The 8th grade band tested over two of the songs from their marching show: Gimme Some Lovin’ and the Fight Song (On Salina). Gimme Some Lovin’ sounded really good, but some of them could use some more work on the Fight Song. They also played through Rawhide, which they will be tested over next week. Before long, they will need to have the songs memorized, so it’s important to stay on top of it and practice on a regular basis.
The 6th grade band had a written test over note names. Most of the students did a really good job. A few students had a little trouble remembering that the spaces spell “FACE” in the treble clef (bottom to top). The lines spell “Every Good Boy Does Fine” in the treble clef (bottom to top). After their test, they continued their blitz through the book playing lines 27-34.
8th graders continued to make progress on their marching show today. Students rehearsed together and then broke off into sectionals before returning to play the songs together at the end of class. Tomorrow they have a playing test over Gimme Some Lovin’ and the Fight Song (On Salina).
7th graders played lines 6-9 and worked with a partner to prepare for tomorrow’s playing test over line 159 (Bb Concert Scale).
The 6th grade band continued their blitz through the book today, knocking out lines 14 through 25. Then they had a note-naming competition between sections using the note trainer from musictheory.net. The winning sections will not have to take the test over note names tomorrow. Congratulations to the clarinets and the bass clef team (trombones, tubas, bass clef baritones)! Tomorrow’s note-naming test is available online for students to practice.