Friday, June 7, 2013

A Few Fun Slides

I love summer! I must admit that sleeping late is one of my favorite things to do. Another joy of summer is that I now have time for fun projects that sometimes slip by during the school year. I need a creative outlet, so I thought I would work on a few PowerPoint lyric slides to some fun traditional songs that I plan to add to our repertoire at school. I have included a link to the PowerPoint file for each, in case you are interested:

I Bought Me a Cat

Shoo Fly

I Fed My Horse

All Around the Buttercup

That's all for now!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Musical Madness

Wow! The end of the school year is always crazy in the life of a music teacher. We always have two large programs scheduled for the end of our school year: one for 4th grade and one for 6th. Typically, our 6th graders perform a musical in May. It is a tradition that the students look forward to from the time they are in kindergarten.

Memories from last year's musical, "Disney's The Jungle Book Kids":

This year, our state testing was moved to May, which put a kink in the works for our musical. In addition to regular testing, our 6th graders participated in pilot testing for the state. When the testing schedule was set, our principals made the decision for us to change from a traditional musical to a  simpler choral program. The only prerequisites were that it couldn't require a lot of extra rehearsal time, and it had to be "fabulous." 

It took a while to decide on a plan, but we finally decided on a choral production that focused on the sixth graders' time at our school and the fact that they were moving on to the junior high school. The theme of the show was about reaching for dreams. Although the students were disappointed that they weren't doing a musical with drama, they worked hard on challenging choral music and enjoyed learning choreography for several songs. 

One of my favorite choral numbers was Rollo Dilworth's "The Dream Keeper." We did the two-part version, which you can listen to below. Our kindergarten students even loved it and asked to sing it in class the next day. :)

Other choral numbers included Schram and Staggers' "Dreams that Children Dream" and "The Beat of a Drum," arranged by Jay Althouse. Choreographed numbers included "Anything is Possible," arranged by Althouse, "On My Way," by Phil Collins, "Reach," arranged by Roger Emerson, and Natasha Bedingfield's "Unwritten."
The program was called "On My Way," and we used brightly painted doors as stage decorations. At the end of the Phil Collins song, students exited the auditorium, changed from dressy sequin tanks and white dress shirts, and later returned in their "On My Way" t-shirts to complete the program. One student said that changing clothes was her favorite part of the program. You just never know what will be important for each individual!
While the rest of the grade level was changing clothes, a few students performed Philip Phillips' song, "Home." They did a great job!
Every student completed a questionnaire prior to the program. We used their answers to create a script for videos and live spoken parts to bring the show together. Every student had a spoken part, either live, or in a video.

One of the biggest issues we had was finding room for 117 students to have space to dance and be seen on the stage. We set up risers on the stage and two sets on the outer edges of the floor. We assigned each student one choreographed number for which they would leave the risers and perform on platforms in front of the stage. Although it wasn't perfect, it allowed the students on the risers to have enough room to move, and it gave each student a chance to be featured in a dance.
The choral production was a success, but most people missed the traditional musical. Our principals have agreed to let us bring it back next year. I'm looking forward to it, but for now I am going to enjoy my break!

Happy Summer!