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Music Jams

Assembling an ensemble

The music program at The Oaks provides students endless opportunities to work together making music in an "ensemble", a word that comes down to us in English from the Latin root insimul ( "at the same time".)

Beginning in Kindergarten, students learn to make different musical phrases and patterns "fit" together insimul.

They play instruments, keep body rhythms and sing together in groups, large and small. When these complementary pieces finally come together, the sound is heaven-like.

(Photos: 5th grade woodshedding an ensemble piece for the Winter Sing.)

Posted by Music on Friday November 21 at 04:08PM
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It's the week after Halloween. In the Music Room, this means it's time to put our noses to the grindstone and start digging our hearts, voices, and hands into learning songs for the Winter Sing.

Students have begun memorizing an often-daunting amount of lyrics and tunes, working on instrumental parts, learning when and where to stand for each of their pieces, and just generally "woodshedding" (archaic: going out to the woodshed to practice, practice, practice, and practice). It is in this type of work that our future musicians begin racking up those magical "10,000 hours" that lead to mastery of a subject.

Photo: Mighty K woodshedding.

Posted by Music on Wednesday November 5
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Rattling Bones and Creaky Floors

This week in the Music Room we have begun celebrating all things spooky in honor of Halloween.  Songs, dances, games and singing stories have focused on ghosts, witches, bats, cats and more.   Students have been enjoying accompanying the songs on Orff instruments, creating sound effects with the myriad of un-pitched percussion instruments (e.g.  what sounds most like rattling bones -  wood or metal?) and generally preparing ourselves for this wonderful night in every musical way we can think of.  Ask your student to sing you the song "Witch, witch, please come to my party!"  
Posted by Carole Beren on Friday October 24
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Music Share Day

Music Share Days offer students an opportunity to play or sing a song,  play an instrument , tell about a musical experience or  "musically" share  anything else they may wish.  It is always a highly anticipated day, so much so that I am often asked, "When is our next Music Share Day?"   We usually have one music share day per semester per class.  In the Music Room this week, third and sixth grades had their first Music Share Days of the year.   It is always so much fun and very, very inspiring.  Below, please enjoy Roman Broaddus, 6th grade.  (Thanks, Roman):

Posted by Music on Friday October 10 at 02:59PM
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September 15 - October 15 has been designated Hispanic Heritage Month in our United States.  In the Music Room we have not wasted any time.  We are singing, dancing and playing musical games from Spanish-speaking countries near and far.  The children are naturals at the language, particularly because it is being sung.  Ask your students to sing in Spanish to you, especially the beautiful Cuban folk song we are learning together as a community, "Guantanamera".  The video above is a video of the 4th grade class learning to play "Ambos a Dos" on the Orff instruments.

Posted by Carole Beren on Friday September 26 at 12:52PM
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Singing a New Song

How to put into mere words the immense joy, intense engagement and sheer fun we've all been having in our new music space?  Almost impossible.  The first two weeks of school have been spent exploring, creating, singing, playing instruments, dancing, working alone, in small groups, pairs and in unison.  I have pulled teachers, parents faculty, staff and students aside every day to share one of the millions of music stories that unfolded during the day.  Please stop by and visit any time.  Ask your student about:  our new Flipforms!! 

Posted by Carole Beren on Thursday September 11
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The Oaks School
6817 Franklin Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028
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