NYCSD Elementary Band Notes
I wanted to start this month's newsletter with a thank you to all of the families for supporting your Band kids so well! I know this year has thrown a lot of curve balls at everyone, and joining Band can be a wild time for the entire family, even during "normal" years. I appreciate all of the emails and messages on SeeSaw that I receive asking questions and filling me in on different things! Parents, guardians, and families are so important to a young musician's education, and I truly value all of the time and encouragement that you give to your children during our beginning Band adventures!
What should my child be practicing?
You might be wondering what your child should be practicing when they are at home! At the beginning of the school year, I gave each student a small laminated card that we use to keep track of their practicing assignments each week. On that card, we write down the specific songs and skills that the student should practice before their next lesson. They are more than welcome to practice other songs as well, as long as they also practice what is written on the card!
Generally, our practicing will include...
- warm ups (buzzing for brass instruments, rudiments for percussion students, and half scales for all instruments);
- specific songs out of our Sound Innovations book (or on SmartMusic)
- songs or skills from our SeeSaw folders (usually just Level 1)
Please note that I will always write down something for students to practice - if they do not have their laminated card, I will write it on a sticky note. There will never be a week where I don't assign anything to practice! :) And again, if a student is finished practicing what is on the card but would like to continue playing, they are welcome to practice other songs and music. Any practice is good practice!
After they are finished practicing, students should fill out a Practice Log (there is a link on SeeSaw and on my website as well). Students are only required to fill out one per cycle, but I know many students prefer to fill it out every time they practice so that they don't forget.
If students have questions about what they should practice, please feel free to reach out to me on SeeSaw or via email!
Erie Zoo Pen Pals
On SeeSaw, you might have seen that I have uploaded letters to and from the Erie Zoo. This year, I decided to sign up for the Erie Zoo's pen pal program, just as a fun activity for the kids to participate in!
Our pen pals are a family of siamang gibbons, which are in the ape family. Each month, the gibbons send us a letter, which the students read in their lesson. I don't ask the students to write their own letters back, as that would take a lot of time away from our lessons, and it would be almost 100 letters that I would be sending to the Erie Zoo each month. Instead, I gather the students' thoughts and questions, and I compile them all in one letter as best as I can.
If you are interested in reading the letters to and from our family of gibbons, or if you'd like to see more pictures of them, you can check out the "*Pen Pals" folder in our Instrumental Music class on SeeSaw!
A HUGE thank you to all of the families who have helped their children set up a SmartMusic account so far this year! It really helps our lessons go smoothly when the student is able to login to their own SmartMusic account.
I do still have students who do not have SmartMusic accounts, so I wanted to include this in our Newsletter again this month: Every Band student needs a SmartMusic account if they do not already have one! Students must sign up for this account at home!! We will use SmartMusic in lessons as a replacement for our book (students can still use their book at home). If you have not already, please visit https://www.smartmusic.com/ and sign up for a FREE account as soon as possible. I recommend writing down the login info and putting it in your child's case.
Do not use the student's northernpolarbears email to sign up. SmartMusic will ask you to verify the email, and we cannot receive emails on the students' northernpolarbears account. Please use a personal email.
You can find tutorials about SmartMusic on my website here (including how to sign up). The tutorials are a little old, so things might look a little bit different, but most of the information is still correct! And of course, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me.
We partner with Menchey Music to provide our students with top-quality instruments as well as supplies!