Week of 9/28

6th, 7th (now, all of Boldt’s class), and 8th grade e-learners:

Please check your music Google Classroom , weekly, for assignments. If you don’t understand something, please feel free to contact me at my email (mmroz@stjuliana.org) or directly through Google Classroom. I usually respond quickly!

5th grade e-learners:

5th graders do not have a Google Classroom for music, so please check this blog for directions on assignments.

There’s no work at the moment, but there will be an assignment next week. 🙂

Week of 9/13

E-learners for 6th-8th: Always check Google Classroom for updates. There are a few e-learners who haven’t accepted the invite.

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E-learners for 5th grade: In class, we have been talking about the fundamental parts of music, one of which is rhythm.

We have also been talking about the relationship between rhythm and language (the different syllables of words).

If quarter notes each have one beat, and we’re trying to make a 4 word sentence that goes with 4 quarter notes, we’d have each quarter note equal one syllable. For example:

“I like good food”

It goes with the rhythm because each word has one “sound” or syllable.

If two 8th notes go with a two syllable word (for example: “bet-ter,” or “ve-ry”), please come up with a grammatically correct sentence (something that makes sense), that goes with one quarter note, one quarter note, two 8th notes, and one quarter note. Please send this to my email. Please let me know if you have any questions.

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Other e-learners: Please spend some time playing the musical training games at Theta Music Trainer.

Welcome to Another Year of Music Class!

I’m very excited to be back teaching another year of music, despite the less-than-ideal circumstances!

6th-8th Grade: Whether you’re an e-learner or coming to school in-person, you should have received an email invite to my Google Classroom (that is, if you’re currently enrolled in music). Going forward, everything you need to know about class will be posted in there.

E-learners of all other grades: please regularly check this blog for all music-related activities. I will make a blog post explaining what we did in class that particular week and offer instructions as to how to do it. Simply send an email to mmroz@stjuliana.org showing that you tried the activity. I will have something posted here by Monday.

Parents and students alike – please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions. Thank you!

Mr. Mroz

Final Assignment of the Year (8th Grade does not have to do this)!

(This pertains particularly to 6th and 7th grade, but other grades are welcome to do it as well):

Please listen to 45 minutes of music – at least 4 different singers, bands, or composers, etc. Email me a list of the 4 artists (although more than 4 would be ideal. If you listen to 10, great!). There’s no need to write anything other than the names of the artists – I will trust that you truly did the listening. Again, all music must be school-appropriate (you know what this means.)

Enjoy the week everyone, and I’ll look forward to checking my email!

Mr. Mroz

Week of 5/18!

6th, 7th, 8th: Please write a paragraph convincing me why I should like your favorite song! If you can’t choose just one song, choose to write about a musical artist or band, and tell me why you like them, and why I should like them, too. If you don’t have a favorite musical artist or band, do some research and explore your options.

It’s true that music is about opinion. For instance, I might like chocolate and you might like vanilla, and neither one necessarily has to be better or worse. However, many people think that music (and the arts in general) is about more than just opinion or taste – it’s about things like skill, emotion, energy, and creativity – things that can be measured.

Please tell me specifically why I should consider your favorite song, band, or artist, “good music.” Are the lyrics creative? Do you think the guitarist in the song is talented? Do you like the quality of the singer’s voice?

Persuade me why I should listen to what you listen to! Maybe I will 🙂

The lyrics of your song music be school-appropriate! If you have to find a “clean version” of an original song whose lyrics are not appropriate, then you must find another song whose original lyrics are appropriate for school! If you have any questions about this, please email me and ask.

8TH GRADERS: this will be your last assignment of the year, and of your St. Juliana musical career, please make it a good one!

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Below 6th Grade: Listen to 30 minutes of music and send me a quick email telling me what you listened to (school-appropriate of course).

It can be the same song, over and over again; it can be 15 different musical artists. It doesn’t matter. You can listen to video game music, if you’d like, but not while playing video games (as you know, you can look anything up on YouTube). If you can concentrate, you’re welcome to have music on while doing other school work, household chores, etc. So, this week, just devote a half an hour to close music listening. Have a great week!

Attention: 8th Grade

As your long education at St. Juliana comes to a close, I wouldn’t want you to receive a final grade of “incomplete” for music class!

I’m allowing any/all work that was assigned after spring break, to be turned in for full credit by 5/22.

Your last assignment will be given next week. If you’re behind on anything, now is your chance to catch up. With this in mind, there should be no reason why you shouldn’t receive a passing grade in music. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to send me an email.

Let’s finish strong 8th graders!

Mr. Mroz

Week of 5/11

Jr. High: I’m noticing that many more students have been doing the assigned work. I definitely appreciate it – let’s keep it up! 🙂

For this week’s assignment, I’d like you to listen to these 5 different pieces of music. Even though the styles are all very different, the one thing they all have in common is that they’re made with just the piano.

#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

Once you’ve decided which piece you like the best, I’d like you to write about a half a page on why you picked the piece you picked. What about the music appealed to you? Pretend like you’re describing the music to someone who hasn’t heard it before. Use vivid adjectives (yes, please use a thesaurus if you’d like!) when you discuss the music. What does it remind you of? Is it Peaceful? Jarring? Complex and busy? Sorrowful? Energetic? Does it start quiet and then get loud? Does it stay at the same volume dynamic throughout the piece? Unlike most things in life, music can sometimes be very hard to define in. That’s what can make this assignment a bit of a challenge, but the more descriptive you are, the better! Please send it to my email when finished, and if you have any questions about the assignment, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Mr. Mroz

Week of 5/4!

Jr. high students: I’d like to remind you that every music assignment after spring break is being graded as complete or incomplete. Now that “assignments” (see grading guidelines several posts below) are worth 100 percent of your grade (I can’t grade you on behavior, for example, when you’re not in class), I do expect evidence of a completed assignment. This can be a video, a photo, or writing a paragraph of your experience of doing it – emailed to me. So please, if you haven’t attempted any of the assignments yet, please get those in. Obviously, if you’re not currently taking music, none of this applies to you.

Jr. high (younger grades may attempt this too, if they’d like): Computers do a lot of smart things these days — we know they can easily calculate huge numbers, recognize pictures of faces, and they can even sometimes understand your voice commands, but can they make music? Can a computer make music that’s just as good as human-made music? Do you think you would be able to tell the difference? Making music is a creative act, but what does it mean to be creative? In this next activity, I’d like you to think about all of these important questions.

Please go to this website and begin by listening to all of the different musical styles listed – just click on the different boxes like “classical” and “country” and press the arrow to listen.

Next, I’d like you to give the computer program some rules so that it can make up some original music. Go down to “instrumentation” and choose your own “instruments” and the “roles” you’d like each instrument to play in the song.

“Lead” means that that instrument will be out in front; “chords” as you know, means that that instrument will be playing more than one note at a time; and “bass” means that that instrument will be making the lower, deeper sounds. “Percussion” is how you want the beat or rhythm to sound. Next, choose a “musical scale”. We know from music class that a scale is just a family of notes that sound good together – you already know about major and minor scales, but there are tons of different scales from around the world. Experiment a bit and see what you like to hear. Also, how fast or slow do you want the song to be (tempo), and how long do you want it to last (duration)?

Once you’ve given the program all of these different rules, it’ll create a brand new piece of music for you. Then ask yourself, “if it’s a brand new piece of music, did the computer just do something creative?” I’d like to hear your thoughts.

When you’re done, press the “download” button and send the file as an attachment to my email. Please send 2 or 3 songs, and tell me which one is your favorite.

Have fun!

Mr. Mroz

Week of 4/19!

If you haven’t yet done one of the assignments assigned to your grade level, I would encourage you to engage in one of those, first. If you’re all caught up, though, please try the following activities:

PreK-2nd: Please try making different musical pitches by drawing your finger around the top of a glass (crystal usually works best), like this! The tone that is produced by this simple act is incredible!

3rd-8th: Please fill three glasses with water of different volumes. How do you know how much to fill each glass? This online instrument tuner will tell you (make sure the microphone is on). The more water in the glass, the higher the pitch. The glass that will eventually be on your left, should be tuned to “C”; so fill the glass a little, hold it up to the microphone and see what the pitch is (play gently with a fork or spoon) – if it’s saying “D,” for instance, you know you’ve fill it too much. The middle glass should be tuned to “D”, and the glass on your right should be tuned “E”. After your glasses are tuned to the right pitches (C D E from left to right), you’re all set to play the simple tune “Three Blind Mice.” C, D, E – C, D, E – CCCC, DDDD, C, D, E.

If you found this task extremely easy, get creative! Look up the notes to some familiar melodies, and fill your glasses to the correct pitches. You may need more than three, though. And, if you’re feeling super adventurous, you might try learning to play your desired tunes using the finger-method I showed in the video above for the PreK-2nd graders. It’s one thing to produce a single pitch in this way; it’s another thing entirely to be able to produce all the pitches while switch glasses according to the rhythm of a song.

Lastly, if you’re feeling cooped-up inside and really want to do something hands-on, you might want to head on out to the garage and make your own instrument, from scratch, like some of the ones featured here.

Don’t hesitate to email me all of your creations!

Seeing Sound Take Shape!

The following phenomena may seem magical to you (it seemed magical to those who first discovered it), but it’s really nothing more than visual patterns of vibrations! It’s called cymatics, and science can easily explain how it works.

Here’s what you could do if you had all the hi-tech equipment.

Here’s a device you can create at home, to try it out yourself. Remember, music is simply made of vibrating air, so it’s not surprising that you can create these patterns by singing, too!

Please try to make this simple device in the YouTube video above (a stretched balloon works great for the top portion), and if you’re so inclined, email me a photo/video with you trying it out!

Have an awesome week, everyone!

-Mr. Mroz