I spent the week having the 4th and 5th graders sign up for chorus. Because chorus meets during recess, and because the 4th and 5th graders don’t have recess at the same time, I have to alternate weeks. Today, (Friday), the 5th graders began their rehearsals. Next week 4th grade will take their turn, and we’ll continue to alternate until it gets close to concert time. At that point we’ll have to finagle a way to get some 4th and 5th grade time together on the stage…but that’s several months off yet. For now, we began our first song today.
Once again, Music Express Magazine has come to the rescue. Like most other districts around the country, ours is in the midst of a budget crunch. There is no money for new music. Although I am no longer able to budget for or purchase Music Express, I have quite a backlog of issues at my disposal. Last year I used them to give the kids some exposure to the music of Broadway. This year I’ll use them again, for a program of Jazz pieces. Each issue comes with 30 student magazines, one teacher magazine and a cd with all of the music. In the case of performance pieces, there is a performance track and an accompaniment track. There’s lots of other stuff too…listening maps, meet the composer interviews and articles about various musical styles and cultures. It’s a great value; especially in an economy where so little is budget money is available . I played some excerpts for the kids during class before I had them sign up, and wound up with a good representation from each grade…about 85 students, total. Here’s what we’ll be doing:
From Volume 7, #1, August /September 2006, “Gotta Be Jazz”, by John Jacobson and John Higgins.
From Volume 7, # 4, January/February 2007, “Route 66” by Bobby Troup, arranged by Tom Anderson. (This goes great with my “Cars 2” room theme!) From the same issue, we’ll also be doing “It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got that Swing” by Duke Ellington and Irving Mills, arranged by Tom Anderson. Great Big Band Accompaniment. This is the one we worked on today. The kids loved it.
From volume 7, #5, March/April 2007, “Birdland” by Josef Zawinul and John Hendricks, arranged by Tom Anderson.
They’re all asking for “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder, but I told them it will depend on whether I can find an accompaniment track in a child friendly key. Share the Music, Grade 4, has a nice arrangement, but it’s a sing along track, not an accompaniment track.
The only problem with these arrangements is that there isn’t much 2 part singing in them. Some, but not a lot. That will work out well at my smaller school, though, where I only had 36 kids sign up.
So here we go…..my final season of spring chorus rehearsals. How very strange.