Music Newsletter

Lowell Elementary

Welcome to the Lowell Music Program!

Hello Lowell Community. If we haven't met, I'm Anthony Spano and I've taught music here at Lowell for over 16 years. I hope to be preparing these newsletters on a regular basis to update you on what we've done, are doing, and will be doing in your child's music classes. Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments:

Photos from MusicFest!

MusicFest, an annual fundraiser whose proceeds go to support the Fine and Performing Arts programs in our schools, was a huge success. We saw and heard wonderful performances by many members of our community. We look forward to continuing the tradition next year.

View photo album

Lowell Spring Concert

Tuesday, June 6th, 8:45am

175 Main Street

Waltham, MA

Musician of the Month

This month, our musician of the month is the Jamaican-American musician, actor, and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte. Harry died several weeks ago at the age of 96. In addition to being a legendary and award winning actor and musician, Harry was a close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King's and played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's.

Click below for information and music from this musician.

Basic Guitar

This month, students in grades 3, 4, and 5 resumed learning or reviewing basic guitar techniques and simple songs. Students are learning appropriate posture, guitar mechanics, basic picking techniques, depressing the frets to change notes, and reading tablature notation to figure out simple melodies.

View or download our guitar song packet we use in class.


Students grades 1-5 have been studying the piano in class. The piano makes a great vehicle to teach basic musicianship, theory, and note reading.

In grade 2, we've been using a simpler finger-number notation system to play familiar melodies. Similarly, grade 1 will start playing next week using the same finger-number notation system.

In our older grades (3-5), we've spent several weeks last autumn learning to play the C-major scale using the traditional "thumb-under" technique. From there, we extended the lesson to include more difficult scales that include sharps and flats. This month, we're starting to read and play simple melodies and exercises in both the treble clef (right hand) and bass clef (left hand). Click below for printouts of some of the resources we use in this unit.

Grade 3-5 Piano Packet

Grade 2 Piano Packet

White Key melodies - finger notation

White Key melodies - standard notation

Scales and Triads

Songs we're Singing

Singing is central to our music curriculum at all age levels. As I tell the students, your voice is the "oldest instrument in the world" and we carry it around with us everywhere we go. Below are just a few of the songs we've been singing in class this school year:

Banana Boat Song (Day-O) - Harry Belafonte

A Canoa Virou - traditional Brazilian-Portuguese children's song

Here Comes the Sun - The Beatles

Los Pollitos Dicen - traditional Latin American

A Tisket, A Tasket - Ella Fitzgerald

Rubber Blubber Whale - Si Kahn

Green Sally - Ranky Tanky

Mr. Sun - Raffi

While My Guitar Gently Weeps - The Beatles

Canoe Song - traditional round

Frere Jacques - traditional round

If I Were a Tree - traditional

I Had a Little Rooster - traditional

Skin and Bones - traditional

Blackbird - The Beatles

Yellow Submarine - The Beatles

Instrument Families

In Kindergarten and Grade 1, we've been studying instruments and instrument families. Over the last several weeks, our students have been seeing demonstrations from many of the instruments we have here at school and in some cases, are even getting to try and explore the instruments themselves.

Rhythm Reading

In music class, we begin, as early as Kindergarten, learning rhythm both aurally and visually through musical notation. In class, we often practice our rhythms in their most basic forms through body percussion or playing on rhythm sticks. Try some of the Rhythm Play Alongs below for review.

4th and 5th Grade Instruments

Our instrument program has been very successful thus far this year. We have excellent participation from many of our 4th and 5th grade students and we're hoping to have some creative performance opportunities later in the school year. If you have any questions regarding your child's instrument lessons, feel free to email their instrument teacher at any time:

Macullen Byham (strings)

Michael Frontz (strings)

Maxwell Thew (winds, percussion)

Anthony Spano (winds, percussion)