Online music teaching and exam success
Congratulations to all pupils who are continuing to enjoy playing their instruments, either independently or through online lessons. I have really enjoyed teaching so many of you online and hearing your progress each week.
Many pupils were planning to take exams this term. In place of these I have offered to hold unofficial exams during our online lessons, with myself as examiner. Hattie has been the first pupil to complete an exam: she has passed (the equivalent of) ABRSM flute copper music medal award. She has a rich, beautiful tone and showed amazing musicianship playing in time with recorded accompaniments (this is much harder than playing in the same room as a teacher who can respond to you). Congratulations Hattie!
Music links that can be explored at home
Disclaimer: We can take no responsibility for the content of external websites.
Musical Prodigies has a compilation of music lessons to watch free on youtube:
"Yolanda’s Band Jam" is brilliant at introducing musical vocabulary, instruments and styles: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06vc6tb/episodes/player
Cbeebies proms offer a good introduction to the orchestra: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/p07mdm2d/cbeebies-proms
Nick Cope, children’s songwriter, has been uploading free afternoon ‘concerts’: https://www.youtube.com/user/nickcopesongs
Folk duo 'Megson' recorded a free family folk show on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/megsonmusic/ (you don't need a facebook account to view)
BBC ‘10 pieces’ series features classical music videos introduced by famous television presenters. My favourites are the original 10 pieces at the bottom of the list:
BBC bitesize KS2 music offer videos explaining different musical vocabulary:
Mylene Klass is offering an online music class via youtube videos:
To recap how to read treble clef:
Practise walk (1 beat crotchets), running (1/2 beat quavers) and skate (2 beat minims) rhythms:
Musiclab has lots of online music programmes. Song maker is great for experimenting with varying levels of texture within a simple repeating (ostinato) pattern:
You can download music standard notation software musescore free of charge to create your own compositions: https://musescore.org/en For children who’ve not used it with me in lessons yet it’s fairly intuitive to use. To enter new notes make sure the N button is pressed in top left corner, choose note length (default is crochet/walk/1 beat note) then hover over the stave (musical ladder) and click where you’d like the note to go. Then move right in the stave to enter your next note. If you make a mistake you can click file then undo (or Ctrl Z).
ALL AGES SINGING:
‘Out of the Ark’ and ‘SingUp’ have a few online songs to access:
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any help.
Thanks, Mrs Wilson
Online Instrumental Lessons during School Closures
Summer term online lessons will be available at the usual price of £40 for violin/flute/clarinet and £50 for piano per term. This guarantees you a minimum of 10 weekly 10min 1:1 online lessons. Pupils who receive pupil premium are still free of charge. Lessons will be held using google hangouts (all pupils already have an educationleeds.org email address to be able to access this).
Please email email@example.com to book lessons.
Alternatively, please email for written support such as suggestions of new music to learn, youtube videos that might help, or to send me videos of you performing so I can offer advice and next steps.
I'm looking forward to when I can teach you all again! Thanks, Mrs Wilson
ABRSM Music Medal Exams
Congratulations to Sophie, Charlotte and Callum for passing their ABRSM music medal exams. They have achieved copper level flute (Sophie) and bronze level violin (Charlotte and Callum). To take these exams pupils are video recorded performing 2 pieces and taking a musicianship test. ABRSM then moderate the results and send a certificate, feedback sheet and a 'music medal' pin badge.
Spring Term Curriculum Music - 1st half term
In Reception this term we’ve been exploring wintery music. We’ve enjoyed singing, joining in with actions, using rhyming words to continue songs and using percussion instruments to create accompaniments and wintry compositions. The songs we explored included:
“Jack Frost is very small, I think he’s here today. He nips at our nose and nips at our toes, when we go out to play”
“The cold wind doth blow and we shall have snow and what will the robin do then, poor thing? He’ll sit in a barn and keep himself warm and hide his head under his wing, poor thing.”
“This winter we’re gonna have snow. This winter we’re gonna have snow. And it will fall. And it will fall. All over this land.”
In our final lesson we all tried playing C chords on the ukulele for the song: “Snow is falling, snow is falling. On the ground. On the ground. A cold wind is blowing. A cold wind is blowing. All around. All around.” (to the melody of Frere Jacques)
In Year One we listened to Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals. We danced and moved in ways that reflected the music, identified which piece is for which animal and composed our own ostinato patterns for each animal. We notated individual compositions for a lion hunt and performed them using percussion instruments. We’ve also enjoyed singing “a cat sat on a mat” and “I have a dog and his name is Rover”.
In Year 3 we watched Fantasia’s animation of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” by Dukas and thought about how the music created different moods. We tried to describe it using musical vocabulary such as ‘pitch’, ‘dynamics’, ‘texture’, ‘timbre’ and ‘tempo’. We explored composing and performing music using graphic notation and tried to graphically notate The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and then recreate it using ukuleles and percussion instruments. We then moved on to listen to ‘No Place Like Home’, one of the BBC’s 10 pieces series. We thought about the sound of Otley and worked in small groups to create our own compositions. The pupils individually evaluated these and decided the overall winners were Patrick and Stanley.
In Year 5 we have explored music linked to World War 2. We enjoyed listening to Glenn Miller and creating our own jazz improvisations on glockenspiels. We also sang the Glenn Miller inspired song “Hey Mr Miller” as a three part round. We used our ukuleles to play chords whilst singing “Daisy Daisy”, “Run Rabbit” and “You are my Sunshine”. We looked at how Morse Code could be used to create rhythmic compositions. Finally, we thought about sounds that might have been heard during WW2 and used these to inspire individual/ small group compositions. These were evaluated to see how much interest had been provided by changes in pitch, dynamics, texture, timbre and articulation. The overall winner was James.
At Ashfield we offer small group instrumental lessons for guitar, ukulele, piano, flute, clarinet and violin. These are charged at £40 per term for all instruments except piano, which is charged at £50 per term due to being taught in smaller groups of 2. All pupils are invited to perform in a school music concert or performance opportunity each term.
All pupils also have the chance to play ukulele, glockenspiel and recorder in our whole class music lessons, taught by a music specialist.
Our school has an active choir, which rehearses Tuesdays after school (this year starting in October 2019). We have sang at the Otley Victorian Fayre, Otley Christmas light switching on, Otley Christmas Tree Festival and our Family of Schools Yeadon Town Hall music concert. For the past two years we have created a music video for a Leeds choir competition.
Our school orchestra rehearses Friday lunchtimes 12:45 to 1.10. This is open to any pupils receiving lessons (within or outside of school) who are capable of reading standard notation and playing their instrument independently. Piano pupils are welcome to join us on glockenspiel.
We have a break time practice club on Tuesdays open to any children receiving lessons. This gives them an extra opportunity to prepare for their next music lesson or to share their pieces with friends as they practise.
Autumn Term Curriculum Music - 2nd half term
In Year 2 we listened to excerpts from ‘The Nutcracker’, scored by Tchaikovsky. We watched videos of the ballet and listened to a special story book being read, which played relevant clips of music for each page. We thought about the different instruments we could hear and investigated the brass, woodwind and string families. We also revised how to notate quaver, crotchet and minim rhythms using our ‘running, walk and skate’ story. We the moved on to practising our songs ready for Christingle, thinking about how to warm up our voices and improving accuracy of pitching and appropriate timbre/dynamics for each song.
In Year 4 we continued learning how to play the recorder, using the notes G (for grip), A (for another finger) B (for both), C (for centre) and D (for drop) with some pupils perfecting the start of ‘Jingle Bells’. We also worked at a fantastic arrangement of ‘The Wassailing Song’ for our KS2 Carol concert. We worked at how to keep a steady pulse, with no rushing, listening to the backing track as we sang and performed. We all tried playing a recorder drone in time with the backing track and pupils who have instrument lessons joined in on cello, violin and guitar. Piano pupils joined in using chime bars.
Year 6 created an arrangement of ‘Oh Little Town of Bethlehem’ for the KS2 Carol concert. All children were offered the chance to sing a solo line and we were thrilled to find 6 pupils take on this opportunity, with a further 4 pupils forming a quartet. The class then continued singing in unison whilst playing ukulele (using chords C, F and G). It is wonderful to experience their performance skills growing to a point where a fluent performance was accomplished in just 3 practices. We then evaluated 6 different arrangements of ‘Carol of the Bells’ discussing differences in timbre, texture, dynamics, articulation, tempo, pitch, rhythm, style and structure. We decoded standard notation (writing letter names under each note) so we could play 'Carol of the Bells' on glockenspiel, with some children challenging themselves further by learning harmony parts.
Christmas Music Performances
Thank you to all children who participated in our following music performances:
KS2 Carol Concert, in which Year 3 performed 'The First Noel', Year 4 performed 'The Wassailing Song', Year 5 performed 'We Three Kings' and Year 6 performed 'O Little Town of Bethlehem'.
The Christmas Tree Festival, at Otley Parish Church. This featured our choir and instrumentalists George (cello), Toby (clarinet), Ben and Isla (piano)
Instrumental concerts for Year 3/4 (Monday), Years 5/6 (Tuesday) and Guitarists/ukuleleists (Thursday). It was amazing to see how many of our pupils play an instrument and brilliant to hear the progress they have all made since our last concert.
Choir sang on a stage at this year's Otley Victorian Fayre. We sang:
'Let it snow', 'Hallelujah', 'Santa's coming', 'Winter Carol', 'Rudolph the red nosed reindeer', 'Let it Snow' and
'When Santa got stuck up the chimney'.
Autumn Term Curriculum Music - 1st half term
Year 1 have been listening to 'Peter and the Wolf'. They learned about different instruments, with live performances of the flute (bird), clarinet (clarinet) and violin (Peter). We responded as a class with our own percussion compositions for each character.
We've also joined in the class 'space' theme. We warmed up our voices, sang our Kodaly 'do, re, mi' scale and sang 'zoom zoom zoom, we're going to the moon'. We used chime bars and tuned bells to play the first three notes of the song. We worked at keeping a steady beat and introduced our special 4/4 Dalcroze time signature dance. The children used graphic notation to write space compositions using long and short sounds.
For Harvest festival the class sang "shake, shake the apple tree" with groups of percussion being added for each repeat of the song. They showed amazing self control to ensure they only played their instrument when required in the song.
Year 3 have been learning how to record pitch using standard notation. We found out different ways of remembering the notes with lines through their heads: 'Every Good Bogey Deserves Flicking' was popular! Working with glockenspiels they composed melodies to go with rhythms derived from Egyptian topic words and then notated these onto a stave. Using the glockenspiels we also played a C major scale (happy sounding) and an A minor scale (sad sounding). We took it in turn to improvise in these keys.
For Harvest festival the class sang "Across the Fields" as a round. Within class we also performed this with our class set of ukuleles. They did well to keep a steady beat and confidently sing whilst hearing the harmony from the second group.
Year 5 have been learning about Samba music. We started learning different syncopated rhythms using vocal sounds, then built up texture by splitting the class into 2, then 4 parts. We did lots of games centred around keeping a steady beat, as it is tempting to speed up the tempo! We then graduated onto our school samba instruments (surdo drums, agogo bells, tambourims and shaky eggs in place of traditional ganzas). We arranged a structured composition with introduction, section A, section B and ending. As conductor I used a samba whistle to communicate when the class needed to change to the next section.
For Harvest festival the class sang "Harvest Samba" confidently splitting into 2 groups for the harmony section.
As the class were learning about the ancient Greeks we also learned the song "Living it up in Greece".
Heather Pollock KS2 Music Assembly
Heather Pollock, a local musician and retired doctor, visited our school this week to talk about the science of music and perform on some of her many instruments. She used pupils to represent the different parts of the ear, with coloured balls passed between them to show how sounds pass from outer ear through to our brains. She then demonstrated her many different instruments, including an African drum, panpipes, whistle, flute, violin, harp and lyre. The children particularly enjoyed it when Heather played the theme from 'Frozen' on her harp. Thank you Heather for giving up your time to play for us.
Year 6 Leavers Assembly
Well done to ukulele and guitarists who performed "Castle on the Hill" during the Year 6 leaving assembly. Great to hear so many pupils performing and singing together, welcoming such a great performance opportunity.
Otley Chamber Orchestra Perform at Ashfield
We were so grateful to members of Otley Chamber Orchestra who volunteered their time to perform at Ashfield today. They brought a string section comprising two violins, a viola and cello and a woodwind section comprising two flutes, an oboe, a clarinet and a bassoon. They also used a pianist who helped to conduct. It was great to hear their instruments individually and as an ensemble playing classical pieces by Beethoven and Handel alongside Disney favourites such as 'the Bear Necessities' and 'supercalifragilisticexpialidocious'!
If you know of any choirs or musical ensembles who would like to perform for our children, please do let us know.
Ashfield Summer BBQ "Festival Stage"
Well done to instrumental pupils who performed at our "Festival Stage" during the Summer BBQ. It was exciting to hear their performances amplified through a PA system.
ABRSM Music Exams
Well done to our five pupils who took ABRSM prep test and grade 1 exams this summer term.
MAIA PERFORM LIVE AT ASHFIELD