Friday, 31 May 2013

Compose Yourself

Ideas and thoughts of the following lesson are taken from Mark Burrows, "Outside the Lines,"


Teaching how to write music is never an easy task.  The Grade 2-5 classes have spent several weeks learning music-reading skills, values of notes, Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge, FACE, bar lines and all that jazz.  Students can demonstration notation in pitch, rhythm and meter.  However, when I think about composition, I see an opportunity to be creative and take an idea and develop it into something new.

Many agree that the word composition, which comes from the Latin compenere, means "to put together" and is essentially the process of creating a musical work.


In my classroom, I see my students as creative communicators that can connect to themselves, each other and the world outside our walls.  One way to express this is through making music.  There are so many ways to show and explore thoughts, messages and feelings and to record it and preserve is not only through conventional notation.

The Grade 2/3s composed a one-line staff song using 3 pitches (low, medium and high).  We then assigned each line a note on the recorder.

After practicing and editing their pieces, they shared with each other.

Grade 1 Peter and the Wolf

The Grade 1s just finished a unit on the story and orchestra piece of Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev.

Their activities supported music literacy growth as well as encouraged the development of critical thinking and listening skills.  Students matched instruments to the characters they represented in the symphony.   They were able to communicate ideas or moods in music.

Here are the sound clips of each character.  Can you identify the instruments?








Hear ye, Hear ye...


“Thank you Canada for making music with me.  I can see our nation from the International Space Station and it’s a wonderful joining of human invention and human challenge and creativity all together.”

 “Just like exploration on a space ship, music is an amazing human adventure and it needs to be shared.”

“Everybody should be learning music….Music opens doors.  And music stimulates the brain.  Music helps organize and even wire your brain…Music education is really important in life.  It’s a wonderful and applicable skill that only makes you a more capable human – We should all learn music.”

- Commander Chris Hadfield

“You’ve just pulled off the biggest act of support for music that Canada has ever seen.  Congratulations to everybody that had anything to do with Music Monday.  It was absolutely awesome.” 

- J.R. Digger MacDougall, Chair and CEO, Sing Canada Harmony: Supporting vocal music in the schools and communities of Canada.

“Thrilled our song is raising awareness for public school music education in Canada.  I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.  I think science and music share a sense of wonder about the world as we attempt to communicate what we’re feeling, what we’re seeing, what we’re experiencing.”

- Ed Robertson, singer/songwriter, Barenaked Ladies

“We are an Arts Nation.  Whether you sing, or play, or buy tickets- you’re all part of an Arts Nation.  Music education fuels the very essence of who we are as Canadians.”

- Douglas Knight, President and Co-Chair, Governor General Performing Arts Award Foundation

“Today is a science experiment.  Everything everybody needed to say about music has been proven today.  It does make us.  Creativity is one of the most important skills you could have in the 21st century.”

-  Annie Kidder, Executive Director, People for Education

“The CMEA and OMEA would like to congratulate the Coalition for doing such an outstanding job of bringing the country together to celebrate music education, not just today but many times over the past 20 yrs.  We thank the Coalition for everything they do here in Ontario and across Canada.”

- Dave Gueulette, President, Ontario Music Educators’ Association

“MusiCounts shares a common vision with the Coalition and the importance of music education for young people….  Our work is far from done.  We will continue to work together with the Coalition and with Music Canada to guarantee that children have the opportunity to experience music first hand.”

- Melanie Berry, President & CEO, CARAS/The JUNO Awards & MusiCounts

“Music education is one of the 5 key pillars that Music Canada has identified as essential if we are to re-invigorate the music industry in the digital age.  Music education is where it all begins.  It’s music education that will really raise the bar.”

- Graham Henderson, President, Music Canada

“The need for music education carries all areas of life.  Music is a universal form of artistic expression.  It engages all ages.  Music can be studied through the lens of many scientific disciplines – acoustics, neuroscience, biology, information sciences, and mathematics.”

- Dr. Hooley McLaughlin, Vice President, Science Experience & Chief Science Officer, Ontario Science Centre

Friday, 24 May 2013

Art Gallery Performances

Preparing for an event or a concert is no small task.  Families and audience get to enjoy the fruits of hours and hours of planning and rehearsals.  This year's 6th Annual Celebration of the Arts was no small task.  Thank you to Mr. Miller, staff, families and last but not least, the students for sharing your work.


Sansa Kroma

Reach for the Stars

Cup Song Ensemble

Zum Gali Gali

Music is Fun

Funga Alafia

Wednesday, 22 May 2013


Congratulations to all our students on a very successful 6th annual Celebration of the Arts.

Cup Song Ensemble performing "When I'm Gone"
Punch anyone?
Grade 2/3 Choir singing "Music is Fun"
Grade 4/5 Orff Club performing "Funga Alafia"
Team work!
Dancers and musicians working together.
Grade 4/5 Choir performing "Zum Gali Gali"
Awesome singers and performers!
We're still...
'reaching for the stars!'

Celebration of the Arts - Spring is in the Air!

Come and join us on Wednesday, May 22 (5:00-6:30) for our 6th annual Celebration of the Arts.  Our students are preparing for a mini-music arts concert which starts at 5:30.  Families can come and enjoy our student art displays, purchase baking and hear our students perform a number of pieces, including the Gr. 2/3 choir singing "Music is Fun," Grade 4/5 choir singing "Zum Gali Gali", Grade 4/5 Orff Club performing "Funga Alafia" and our new school theme song and dance, "Reach for the Stars."  All students must be accompanied by an adult.  Cup Song Ensemble and Grade 2/3 choir to meet in the music room at 5:15.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

George Waters Visit

The Grade 4/5 students had the privilege of having the Grade 6 George Waters Show Band come and share their songs and stories about learning instruments for the first time.  They played for us some exciting ensemble pieces as well as duets.  We played a listening game to guess what instrument was playing and learned that there are many factors that come into play when choosing an instrument.  Congratulations to the GW students and Mr. Johnson, their band director.  Thank you for coming!

For more information about band, please check out:  George Waters Band Program

Students listening to the band playing
Two former Stevenson students playing a trombone duet

More Music Monday photos

Playing our recorders on Music Monday
Performing our songs for the class in our learning circle

Enjoying music outside and the warm spring afternoon

Filling the skies with music

Monday, 6 May 2013

Filling the Skies with Song!

Congratulations Stevenson students on a really awesome performance this morning as we reached for the stars in song and dance.  Also, a big shout out to the Grade 4/5 Stomp ensemble for performing your original composition of sounds and rhythms!  Happy Music Monday everyone!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Let's Fill the Skies with Music!

MUSIC MONDAY is almost here!

This coming Monday, May 6, 2013, Stevenson-Britannia students are going to be filling the skies with music for the annual Canadian Music Monday celebration.  At 8:40 am during our morning line-up outside, we are going to be singing and dancing to our new school song “Reach for the Stars.”   The mini-concert will also feature a Grade 4/5 “STOMP” ensemble.   We hope to see you there!

I.S.S. (Is Someone Singing)
The official 2013 Music Monday song will be sung from outer space on Monday.  See the following link for the webcast:  Music Monday Webcast