Thursday, November 24, 2011

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

I'm sure there was music performed somewhere along the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route in New York City today, but I thought it quite fitting that my sister took a picture of Spiderman and e-mailed it to me from the bleachers.  How thematic of her!!

Happy Thanksgiving, Superheroes!!

Until next time...

Monday, November 21, 2011

McKenzie's Run 2011

Let's see....this year, I've done the Wolfson Children's Hospital 5-miler, the Winter Beach Run (4-miler), I was a Running Buddy in the "Girls on the Run 5K" last spring, I ran to support the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra in April, I did the GREEN (Eco-Friendly Builders) Run in June at the request of my cousin, the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Cancer Care run over Labor Day weekend, the Komen Race for the Cure in October and this past weekend, McKenzie's Run 2011.  As I was flipping through my calendar to chronicle the above, I realized that I had invested time, money and energy to support a cause at least ten times this year.  That's almost once a month! I had no idea!!

The McKenzie Noelle Wilson Foundation raises money to help children succeed in life, whether it is the orphanage they built in Africa or the McKenzie Academic Resource Center (MARC) at Portside in Jacksonville, Florida.  It is such a blessing to take part in something that ultimately blesses others. 

Chets Creek had a team of walkers and runners who participated in the event on Saturday.  My sister and I were proud to be a part of it.  If you would like to contribute to the ongoing work of this young lady's foundation, visit  Her life was cut short, but her family turned tragedy into triumph and their efforts are making a difference.

Paulette and Dee Dee
Everbank Field
November 19, 2011

Until next time...

Friday, November 18, 2011

WVU Armed Forces Salute 2011

The West Virginia University's Marching Band out-did themselves with their tribute to Veterans past and present.  Check out their half-time show honoring each branch of the Armed Forces.  If you can figure out what the formation is for the US Coast Guard, please leave me a comment at the end of the post.  It looks like an upside down ship to me.  I assume they were playing to the other side of the stands.

This is what I saw as I watched the program:

Army (a moving tank)
Coast Guard (an upside down ship)
Marines (an eagle)
Air Force (a fighter jet)
Navy (a submarine)
USA (Great Seal of the United States with flag)

What a great show!! I cannot begin to comprehend how many hours of rehearsal went into that program.  It was phenomenal!!

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Syncopation Lesson

Teaching the concept of syncopation is not an easy task.  One must start with the basics of steady beat and progress through the process with the students.  If you can help them understand that syncopation is nothing more than shifting the beat from the strong beat to a weak beat, they'll get it.  They may feel it in their bodies long before their brain figures out what's going on with the beat.

Today, I used a rhythmic piece by Bob DeFrece called, "Mouth Sound Piece."  I taught it by rote (on the syllable "choo") and we determined that lines 1, 2 and 4 were exactly the same.  Line 3 was complimentary, but was unlike the other three lines.  After labeling the syncopated portion with the syllables "syn-co-pa," I asked the students to work in groups to try to lay out the rhythmic pattern of the piece.  They never saw it written down.  They had to use their memory, auditory skills and rhythmic reading abilities to accomplish the task.

working in groups

tah, tah, ti-ti tah, syn-co-pa-tah (rest)
tah, tah, ti-ti tah, syn-co-pa-tah (rest)
syn-co-pa, syn-co-pa, syn-co-pa tah tah
tah, tah, ti-ti tah, syn-co-pa-tah (rest)

So proud of their finished product!!

Until next time...

Duct Tape Diva

This post has absolutely nothing to do with music and everything to do with my principal who will go to great lengths to get her students to read.  Last year, during our 25 Million Word Campaign, Mrs. Phillips agreed to be duct-taped to the wall while reading books.  She was unable to fulfill her obligation due to her being "in the family way."  Today, she made good on her promise.

For two hours, Mrs. Phillips was duct-taped to the wall in the lobby.  Scores of children paraded by her while she read books.  It was quite the sight.  Matter of fact, I've never seen anything like it.  I admire this woman greatly.  Her two hours on the wall had to be squeezed in between three different awards ceremonies celebrating our honor students and outstanding citizens from the first quarter.  I'm still not sure when she ate lunch (or if she even got to eat lunch today). 

She is such a good sport - all in the name of literacy.  I tried to capture her in photos, but they just don't do her justice.  I didn't realize duct tape came in so many different colors.  Our PE coach strapped her in with several strands of University of Florida-colored duct tape.  The problem is that she's a Clemson fan and I'm afraid our Coach is going to pay dearly for that decision.  Ah well....

Mrs. Phillips - The Duct Tape Diva

How will she ever top this one?
Until next time...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

All-State Elementary Chorus 2012

The results are in...

Veteran Katie G. was selected to participate in the 2012 All-State Elementary Chorus for the second year in a row!!

Katie represented Chets Creek Elementary last year and will be heading to Tampa, Florida to perform with the top elementary singers from across the state in a joint concert at the Tampa Convention Center on Friday, January 13, 2012.  Two-hundred fourteen students were chosen from six-hundred sixty-eight auditioned entries.  We are so proud of her!!

Katie has matured into quite the young singer over the past year. She is currently performing with the Jacksonville Children's Chorus and loving the experience. You may have seen her concert today with Grammy Award-winning performer, David Holt.  She's a great kid with a great talent.  I can't wait for her music to arrive so I can begin preparing her for the concert in January.  Congratulations, Katie!!

Until next time...

"Chart of Awesomeness"

You may think this is simply a pocket chart with twenty rhythmic reading flash cards hanging on it.  Maybe in another music teacher's classroom it is.  However, in Mrs. Tamburrino's general music classroom, it has affectionately been dubbed "The Chart of Awesomeness."  

Mrs. Tamburrino's "Chart of Awesomeness"

A former fifth grader decided that's what the rhythmic reading chart should be called and the name stuck.  It is nothing more than a pocket chart hanging on a garment rack with wheels, but my students think it is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Maybe it's the way I present the material...

I introduce rhythmic reading in third grade.  I re-introduce it in fifth grade to help review and solidify information that was previously taught because my fifth-graders are given an end-of-course exam by the district in art, music and PE.  The level of difficulty changes from the pre-reading cards (white ones) to the yellow ones.  I teach them to perform the cards in three ways - a) using speech syllables ("tah" for quarter notes and "ti-ti" for two eighth notes) b) "say and play" which is an aural, visual and kinesthetic experience and c) counting on the numbers (which is the way real musicians do it).

I recently had a class successfully perform all twenty cards without error and the enthusiasm in the room was off-the-charts!  They were the first third grade class to successfully complete the task this year.  They were jumping up and down, screaming and hollering with glee, asking me if they could do it again (so we did it in reverse just for the challenge) and I gave each of them a stamp on the back of their hand as a token of my appreciation for their hard work.  It was a day of rejoicing in the music room!  Matter of fact, their excitement over their success brought me to tears.  It's moments like these that make me show up for work every day. 

Congratulations to the third grade class of Mrs. Smith and Ms. Tillis!!
You were truly a bright spot in my day!!

You Rock!!!

Until next time...

All-State Elementary Chorus 2012

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra 2011

Yesterday, we loaded TEN school buses with 440 fourth/fifth graders, teachers and chaperones and headed downtown to the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts where we experienced a "live" orchestral concert by our very own Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.  The concert was underwritten by Target and Duval County Public Schools provided bus transportation for our students.  This concert is a gift; it costs us absolutely nothing.  This "live performance" experience aligns with their curriculum and addresses several of the elementary music standards I am required to teach.

The program was entitled, "American Salute" and included patriotic favorites as well as music written by American composers including Bernstein, Joplin, Sousa, Copland, Gould, Grofe and John Williams.  We celebrated our flag by singing "The Star Spangled Banner," joined the orchestra in a patriotic sing-along and ended the concert by listening to John Williams' "March from Superman."  It was an exciting, engaging and interactive concert for my students and the teachers enjoyed it too!!

To adequately prepare the students for the performance, I taught a lesson which included a guided listening experience, a review of appropriate audience behaviors, a discussion related to the jobs of the concertmaster, the conductor, the performer, etc. and a writing assignment that required each student to fill-in the correct instruments on the orchestra's seating diagram.  I delivered this instruction nineteen times in preparation for our field study.

  Away we go...

On the bus...

Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts

I am very grateful for this opportunity each time it rolls around.  It isn't every day that kids get to dress up, drive downtown and listen to quality music in an acoustic setting performed by outstanding professional musicians.  It is truly a gift.

Until next time...