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4th Grade

4th Grade

News flash: All fourth graders will be presenting the Spring Program on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 at 7:00 in the Suffield Elementary gym. We will be singing as well as showcasing our ability to learn to play recorders. We hope to see you there!

Our biggest emphasis in 4th grade music is playing recorders. The first few weeks are spent preparing for this project by reviewing our music theory: the music signs and their meanings, note names on the treble clef staff, and note values for correct rhythm. And, of course, there is always singing - mostly folk songs this year.

Every 4th grade student MUST HAVE A RECORDER for music class this year. They may be used (previously purchased through the school) or new (should be purchased through the school). Students have also been asked not to purchase a "toy" recorder from a discount or dollar store. These usually won't match pitch with the rest of us and can't be used in class.

Please watch for your students to bring home the letter about recorders during the second week of school.

When we start playing recorders, students will begin to put together each staff note with its correct fingering on the recorder. This requires a lot of coordination and fine motor skills, and will be more difficult for some students than for others. Parents, PLEASE encourage your student(s) to play for you. Students will be assigned homework - specific songs to practice - which needs to be done for at least a few minutes each night., so please work with your student(s) to find the most convenient - least disruptive!! - time for them to practice.

Hints for helping your student play well:

     * We are practicing correct posture and hand positions - left hand on top!!
     * If your student isn't getting the connection between the staff note and the fingering, it may help to write the notes' names near the notes, directly on the music. Any copied music is yours to keep.
     * Recorders should have a softer, pleasant tone. If the recorder sound is shrill or squeaky, the two most likely problems are:
             1.  Blowing too hard. We've been stressing to blow with a gentle, steady stream,using the tongue to divide notes as if saying "doo". 
             2.  Not covering the holes completely. Check the fingers to be sure they are covering the needed holes totally, and no other fingers are on the recorder.
      * We will progress through notes slowly, learning approximately one note a class, starting with B, A and G. In the sixth week or so, C and D will be added. All of these use only left hand fingers. Students should know these well (and keep playing occasionally on breaks from music class) because . . . .
The next sequence will include notes which involve adding right hand fingers, starting with F and going down through E, low D, and low C as time (and their ability) allows.

As we add more notes, we are also adding more complicated rhythms, duets and harmony parts, so practicing is a crucial component of recorder playing.

Recorder Attendance - Students know that if their body is in class, their recorder is expected to be there as well. Students are responsible for ensuring that their recorders (and two-pocket folders) are in music class with them. We talk in class about ways to remember to bring their recorders for every music class so they can find one that works for them. If recorders aren't brought, student can't learn by practicing what we are doing in class. Therefore, all students know this policy:
      1. The first time recorders are forgotten, it's marked on the seating chart, and they will use a recorder "piece" (one without the mouthpiece) to do the class work, which means they can't fully participate in the learning. This will impact their participation grade in music.
      2. The second time, it is again marked down, and they are again using the recorder piece.
     3. The third time, the above again happens, and they are required to turn in "the world's longest sentence" written 215times. Students know this is not for handwriting practice, but because the recorder needs to be in class. If a hand gets tired of writing, perhaps it will help the brain figure out a way to remember!!
      4. Subsequent misses mean that sentence is written even more times.

As always, and especially with recorders, if you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me! I'd love to help, and my contact information is on my home page.

While playing recorders, we also sing as much as we have time for. As mentioned above it is mostly folk songs, including a pair that we enjoy singing as partner songs (both at the same time). Most folk songs are American, but we also sing some from other countries (Russia, Mexico . . . ).

Field Local Schools | 2900 Door #5, State Route 43 | Mogadore, OH 44260 | Phone: 330.673.2659 | Fax: 330.673.0270
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Field Local Schools | 2900 St Rt 43, Door #5 | Mogadore, OH 44260 | Phone: 330.673.2659 | Fax: 330.673.0270
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