Thursday, December 22, 2011

We Will Jingle

Third graders have been singing a song they really enjoy called We Will Jingle. I borrowed some of the choreography ideas from, Mrs. Schroeder (a music teacher friend in Wisconsin). Here are some videos we made this week.

We Will Jingle by Teresa Jennings (ASCAP) © 2011 Plank Road Publishing, Inc. • All Rights Reserved • Used by permission

Mrs. Baldwin's Class

Mr. Mooney's Class

Mrs. Runia's Class

Have a very Merry Christmas! Enjoy your friends and family. See you in 2012!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

iPad and iPhone Music

Since we are in the last week before winter break, all classes have been doing sing-along with a few YouTube videos interspersed. One of the favorites has been around for over a year now. It is North Point's iBand in which they play several songs using only borrowed iPads and iPhones. The kids are fascinated by this and always ask about which apps are being used. Not all the apps are free. In fact, a few of them are quite pricey. In most cases (the exceptions being Bebot and possibly Melody Bell) there is a free app that will accomplish the same thing. Also keep in mind that iPhone apps will frequently work on the iPad and are sometimes cheaper. Apps listed as iPhone apps will also frequently work on an iPod Touch. Here's the list:

NLog Midi Synth $4.99 for iPhone
NLog Synth PRO $14.99 for iPad (I'm not sure which one of these they actually used.)
SoundGrid $0.99 for iPad/iPhone
Melody Bell $0.99 for iPhone
iGOG: Massive Drums $2.99 for iPhone
Bassist $3.99 for iPhone
Pocket Organ C3B3 $2.99 for iPad/iPhone
Percussions $3.99 for iPad/iPhone
Pianist Pro $4.99 for iPad
Pianist $3.99 for iPhone (again, I'm not sure which one of these they actually used.)
Saxophone Musicofx $0.99 for iPhone
Guitarist $3.99 for iPhone
Bebot - Robot Synth $1.99 for iPad/iPhone

There is one more app which was used for the singing portion of Feliz Navidad, but the app is rated 12+ and I'm not comfortable linking to it on this blog for elementary students.

Update: I'm pretty sure that Guitar Studio is also used in the iBand Video. It is $4.99 for iPhone.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


A couple of weeks ago I found an app for the iPad (or iPhone/iPod Touch) called VidRhythm. I paid $1.99 for it and played around with it. It was fun, but I remember thinking at the time that it would be kind of cool if the developers had included holiday songs. Well, guess what? This morning I read an article that said they not only had updated it to have holiday songs, but it is also now free. Of course that would happen since I already paid for it. Grrrr. Anyway, we played around with it in the last few minutes of my fourth and fifth grade classes today. Here are a couple of examples of the silliness.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Trepak Tennis Ball Routine

Fourth and fifth graders have been working on a tennis ball routine to Trepak from The Nutcracker. It's a little bit crazy because the tennis balls keep escaping! Here is a fourth grade class doing an impromptu video. Hopefully you can get the idea.

Friday, December 9, 2011

March from the Nutcracker and Candy Cane Horses

All grade levels have been learning the music and story of the ballet The Nutcracker composed by Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky. We used an iPad app called The Nutcracker Musical Storybook to learn the story. K/1 students studied the piece called March. Our instructional focus included rondo form and steady beat. We used some large, plastic candy canes as "horses" while we moved to the music. We also played jingle bells and egg shakers. Here are a couple of pictures:

You're a Grand Old Flag

In November, the second graders learned You're a Grand Old Flag and a flag routine to go with it. This is a favorite activity of second graders every year. I adapted the flag choreography from my friend, Kristin Lukow. This particular arrangement of the song comes from one of my favorite teaching resources, Music K-8 Magazine. Here are a couple of videos of two of the classes performing the song.

“You’re A Grand Old Flag” by George M. Cohan/arr. by Paul Jennings (ASCAP) © 1994 Plank Road Publishing, Inc. • All Rights Reserved • Used by permission

Mrs. Jessen's Second Graders

Mrs. Sannerud's Second Graders

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Native American Hoop Dancing

We had a special morning of music today. Instead of our regular PE, music, and art classes, we had a guest speaker for all students in grades 2-5. Fern Cloud came to teach us about Native American Hoop Dancing. Each grade level was able to spend 50 minutes with her. Fern talked about the symbolism of the hoop and the colors on it (the life cycle, the seasons, the day/night, the people of the earth). Then she demonstrated a hoop dance that was called The Global Dance. She formed the hoops into a globe at the end.

After the dance demonstration, she taught the students some hoop dancing. Here are a few pictures from the morning.

I really learned a lot from Fern and I'm hoping the students enjoyed their time with her and will remember what they've learned about Native American Hoop Dancing.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Car Song

Since many people travel during the holiday season to see friends and family, I thought it was an appropriate time to teach a fun Woody Guthrie song: The Car Song. It is also appropriate because 2012 marks the hundredth birthday of Woody Guthrie. Woody Guthrie was an American singer and song writer who was also known for the song This Land is Your Land. All the students in grades K-3 learned about Woody Guthrie and The Car Song in the past few music classes.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Another Recorder Karate Option

The other night I woke up in the middle of the night and suddenly realized there may be another way students can record their Recorder Karate songs at home. I'm not sure why these things occur to me in the dead of night. Anyway, there are quite a few students that have (or have access to) an iPod Touch. I don't have one, so I haven't been able to test this out, but perhaps a student will try it and let me know if it works.

The newer generation iPod Touches have a built-in microphone. There is a free recording app called Blue FiRe.  If students enable Wi-Fi on the iPod, there is a little globe icon on the main screen (lower left). This will take you to a Browser Access screen. Be sure the switch is turned on to enable this feature. Then, down at the bottom of the screen there is a URL. If you type that URL into your computer's browser, you can choose the format (please choose WAV) and download the recording to your computer. The recording can then be emailed to me at bjahn@ymesting.net as an attachment.

I'll be very interested to see if this works. I may have to try to borrow an iPod Touch from someone to try it out. I do know that this does work on an iPad and I imagine it would also work on the iPhone.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Yankee Doodle

K/1 students have been learning Yankee Doodle. We learned to sing it and have played instruments with it. We also learned that "called it macaroni" has nothing to do with the food you might eat for lunch. It means "dressed in fancy clothes." Ask your K/1 student to tell you about it and sing the song for you.

K/1 Students

Here's a picture of some K/1 students from class today. They were playing the beat while we worked on the song "Chase the Squirrel."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Catching Up

Oh man! I had such high hopes of making several blog postings each week. I'm so far behind! I have quite a few things that I've been meaning to post that haven't been because life got in the way. You know how things go. Anyway, here are a couple of videos of 4th graders singing Rockin' Frere Jacques way back in September.

A note about You Tube videos: You will notice that I uploaded these videos to You Tube. You should be aware that I have set the security of the videos to 'private' and that a person can't just go to YouTube and search for any of the videos of students that are posted on this blog. The only way to view these videos is to come to this blog to access them. I will always comply with the YME policy about posting student work, pictures, and/or videos on the Internet. Please contact me if you have any questions about this.

“Rockin’ Frère Jacques” arr. by John Riggio (ASCAP) © 2001 Plank Road Publishing, Inc. • All Rights Reserved • Used by permission.

Mr. Scheffler's Class

Mrs. Schaffran's Class

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Microphones for Recorder Karate

Several fifth grade students have been interested in recording Recorder Karate pieces from home. The problem is that many people do not have a microphone for their computer if they are running Windows (Mac computers have a built-in computer). I have one extra microphone that I've been checking out to students. I went searching on the Internet for cheap mics because I would like to have more on hand to check out to students. Guess what? I found one for a great price ($2.29 with free shipping...they did charge me tax, however). I can't fully endorse it yet because I haven't tried it out yet, but I thought I would post a link to the microphone in case someone wants to order their own microphone and not have to worry about taking turns checking one out.

The directions for recording Recorder Karate pieces using Vocaroo.com can be found here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vote for the YME Band in the GLEE Give a Note Contest

Please see the information below for directions on how to vote for our YME band program in a contest sponsored by the Glee television show. Thanks for supporting YME!
FOX, Ryan Murphy and NAfME
Great music is all about teamwork. That’s why these three champions - Fox, Ryan Murphy (the creator of GLEE), and the National Association for Music Education- have joined together through GLEE Give A Note to fight for struggling programs all across the country.

GLEE Give A Note will support music education by awarding $1 million dollars in prize money to music programs in jeopardy throughout the United States.

In this difficult economy, state legislators and school districts are trying to cope with serious budget woes by slashing education funding— music programs are often the first to go.

Yellow Medicine East had six students make a video to win support for this contest.  You can vote once a day and we NEED your vote!  I believe it is one vote per day, per IP address.  The girls were proud of their video and we would love your support.

Click here or add the address below to your browser.  You can vote once a day, we would LOVE the help and spread the word!!!


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Exciting News: Donors Choose Project Funded!

I recently got some exciting news from DonorsChoose.org. A project I posted called The Magic of Movement and Music was funded! Thanks to a generous local donor and a donor from Texas, the project was funded half way. CenturyLink (formerly Quest) matched those donations and completed funding. This means our music classroom will be receiving a bucket of tennis balls, some small parachutes, and a bunch of colorful lummi sticks. We'll use these movement props to activate our music learning. I have some exciting things planned. Last spring, I purchased a book that was written by a music teacher friend from Wisconsin. It is full of music listening activities which incorporate tennis balls. As soon as the tennis balls arrive, we'll be diving into a few of those activities. The materials have been ordered and should make their appearance in our classroom very soon.

An overview of the past couple of weeks

Wow. Where does the time go? I was really hoping to make at least one post a week, but school is always so busy. I guess I'll just have to post when I can. Here's a few of the activities we did in our classroom over the past couple of weeks.

K/1 students have just a long unit on farm songs. We explored many different songs about animals and learned about some classroom instruments along the way. Two of their favorite activities from this past week is a game called We're Goin' to Kentucky and Going on a Bear Hunt. They also enjoyed learning a silly song called Apples and Bananas.

2nd graders learned a really fun folk dance called Alabama Gal. We also used the song Tony Chestnut (with it's silly actions) to talk about tempo. I've Been Workin' on the Railroad is another song they enjoyed this week.

3rd graders learned a Mexican Folk Dance called La Raspa. They get quite a workout when doing this dance! If you aren't out of breath when the dance is over, you aren't doing it correctly! We created and notated body percussion (snapping, clapping, patting, stamping) ostinati (short repeated patterns in music) to perform with a poem called Mary Lost Her Coat.

4th graders are learning a fairly complicated folk dance called 't Smidje. I hope to post a video of it at some point. We started work on a song called Grandfather's Clock. We are making lots of preparations for starting to play the recorder. Ask your child to demonstrate Hot Cross Buns on their arm recorder. If you have not sent a recorder to school with your child or $5 to purchase a recorder, please do so as soon as possible.

Nearly all 5th graders have completed their first Recorder Karate test by playing/recording Hot Cross Buns for me. This can be done at home (see this previous post for directions) or during class. I am hopeful that all 5th graders will have completed this task by the end of next week. We also used the iPads again and had fun with a chant called Boom Chicka Boom.

All the students in Grades 2-5 have enjoyed a seasonal song we learned called Hey Jack!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

4th graders used iPads in music today

The fourth graders used iPads in class today. We had a blast! We used FlashNote Derby to practice note names. We figured out how to play Hot Cross Buns using Monster Chorus and we spent the last few minutes playing around with Finger Stomp. Here are a few pictures.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Recorder Karate testing from home

Students: You may need your parents' help the first time you do this.

There are students who are interested in taking Recorder Karate tests at home. Here are directions for recording and sending me your Recorder Karate songs. If you have a Mac computer, you have a microphone built into the computer that will work. If you are using Windows, you probably need to connect a microphone to your computer. They can be purchased fairly inexpensively at an electronics store. Be sure your microphone is connected to the computer before you start. Additionally, I have a few microphones that can be checked out from the music room.

1. Get your recorder and Recorder Karate music ready. You can print copies of the Recorder Karate music from the Bert Raney Music website.

2. Go to Vocaroo.com.

3. Click "Click to Record." 

4. Click "Allow" when you get this message:

4. Say your name, your classroom teacher's name, and the title of your song.

5. Play your song.

6. Click "Click to Stop."
7.  Click "Listen" and see if you are happy with your recording. If you aren't, click "Record Again."
8. When you are happy with your recording, click "Send to a Friend" at the bottom.
9.  Enter your email address (or your parents' email address) where it says "Your email." Put my email address (bjahn@ymesting.net) where it says "Friend's email(s)." You can also put your own email address next to mine if you want to keep a copy for yourself.

8. Click "Send."

I will listen to your song and either email you back or talk with you in class to let you know if you earned your belt or what you need to practice. Please wait to do more testing until you have heard from me and do not send me more than one song a day.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Highlights of Week 2

I struggled through the week with no voice, but the kids were great and we still got a lot accomplished.

K-2 students attended a Lyceum with local musician, Ross Sutter. Mr. Sutter performed several Scandinavian songs and played a variety of instruments like the accordion, dulcimer, and guitar. The kids sang and clapped along and enjoyed the show. I took a couple of pictures and they are ALL blurry. So sad. Here's one:

In music class, the K/1 students learned some farm songs and used rhythm sticks and tambourines for the first time this year. They also learned a dance called Old Brass Wagon.

2nd grade students used the Orff instruments (xylophones, glockenspiels, and metallophones) for the first time this year. They also did Old Brass Wagon and learned a fun version of I've Been Workin' on the Railroad.

3rd graders used the Orff instruments. They've also been having fun with kazoos with a song called I Like Singin'. We started a new song called The Cat Came Back.

4th grade is gearing up to start recorders. We reviewed the lines and spaces of the treble clef and played Staff Wars. Staff Wars is a free game you can install on your own computer. Kids, please talk to your parents before downloading anything from the internet.

5th grade started Recorder Karate. Students will be earning "belts" (beads) for each song they learn to play correctly. We've been using a program called Smart Music in class to practice some recorder pieces and to record and assess. Students with older brothers or sisters in band may already have access to the program at home. There is a $36 subscription fee, so it is likely that most students won't have access to the program. I will be discussing other practice and recording options in class. If you are interested in having Smart Music at home, please contact me and I can get you more information.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The first week of school

It's the end of the first week of school and I think things went really well. I'm excited about the year and I hope my students are too. Here's are just a few of the highlights of the activities in the music room from this week.

All the classes discussed our classroom rules. We remember them by remembering the letters CPR.

Keep the music fun alive with CPR!


The students in grades 2-5 learned a chant we adapted for YME that is based on this clip from the movie Remember the Titans. Thanks to my music teacher friend, Kristin from Nebraska, for sharing this clip with me.

K-2 students learned the Danish Dance of Greeting.

Grades 2-3 learned the song Ready to Learn.

Grades 4-5 learned the song Welcome Back.

Both Ready to Learn and Welcome Back are songs from a magazine to which I subscribe called Music K-8. Plank Road Publishing, which publishes the magazine, hosts a site called K8 Kid Tunes. Many of the songs we sing in class can be found on this site and downloaded legally for 99 cents each. You can set up an account for your child if you are interested.

Pictures of the Classroom

I finally got around to taking a few pictures of the classroom now that everything is moved back in. I still have a few things to "find homes" for, but things are pretty much in their place.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Go Animate!

I learned about Go Animate! from another music teacher. I've just created my own animated movie. It was fun. Here it is:

GoAnimate.com: Welcome to Music by bjahn

Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate.com. It's free and fun!

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Blank Slate

I was able to get back into the music room yesterday. We have a brand-new floor that is freshly waxed. Here are a couple of pictures:

With the help of a couple of fabulous custodians, I got everything moved back into the room. Now I just need to unpack all the boxes and put everything away which is quite a project. I hope to have it done soon so I can start planning some fun lessons for the first weeks of school. I will post more pictures when the room is back together.

Monday, July 25, 2011

New: Follow by Email

I've just added a "Follow by Email" option on the right hand side of this blog. Please subscribe if you would like to get new blog posts by email. Go on...subscribe...you know you want to. :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Our new classroom blog

For the 2011-12 school year, I will attempt to keep a blog of activities in the music room at Bert Raney. Postings may include updates about what each grade level is learning, links to websites or videos I find interesting, reminders about music events at YME, etc.

Since school is not in session right now, there isn't a lot of news. The tile floor was just replaced and I hope to be back in the music room putting things back in order at some point in the next couple of weeks. I'll post some pictures when I'm able to get back into the classroom to take some.

One of my music teacher friends pointed me to a really cool website last week. It's called Isle of Tune. Beware. It's addicting. You may get sucked into the site and suddenly realize it's an hour later than you thought. :) I hear they are close to having an iPad app as well. We will be exploring this site as a composition activity on the SMARTboard next fall.