Amanda's Music Class

Welcome to the Music Classroom!

I am so excited to welcome all of you back to music class this year! I hope you had a wonderful summer, and I can’t wait to hear all about it. I am looking forward to a fun year of signing, dancing, playing games and playing instruments!

Amanda Igra
B.S. Environmental Science, University of Michigan

The Children’s House experience 
(2014-present) Music  

Amanda Igra

March 7, 2019

Lots of fun things have been happening in music class lately! We learned an Israeli folk dance called Zemer Atik. We have learned a few new songs to sing, "Button You Must Wander," "There's a Spider on the Floor," "Old Brass Wagon," and "Boom Boom Ain't It Great to Be Crazy." Each of these songs has a fun game to go with the song. Pairing a game with a song is a great way to get the students to practice, because they are motivated to sing the song over and over because they want a turn.

We have been working on our solfege (do re mi, etc) and connecting those notes to chords - the chords we play on the ukulele. We are back to playing the ukulele each week. All students should bring their ukuleles to school with them.

Across the street, the students at West Senior High School will be performing the musical Newsies this and next weekend. Newsies is a great family friendly musical, I highly recommend you take your children to see this if you are available! It is a great way to inspire our students to perform onstage, as we will be starting Theater in a few short weeks

February 7, 2018

I would like to share with all of you a bit about how I plan my music classes! We do a lot of things in music class, and it is probably difficult for your child to remember every activity of the day. I like to plan about 5-10 activities each day so that the students are moving and do not get bored! 

I usually like to begin my music classes with a vocal warm up. These usually take the form of a game, and lately we have been using a "singing scarf" to glide our voices all the way up and then all the way down in a fun way. Sometimes we mimic letter shapes with our voices, or make animal sounds. I have an entire book of these vocal warm-ups! It is important to warm up your voice before singing, and this reinforces proper vocal technique.

I almost always choose a lesson from my music curriculum which is called "Conversational Solfege." This curriculum is designed to help students sing and read music notation. This week we have been playing a fun game that is a mix of rhythm reading and musical chairs. The music I selected for this game was "You Never Can Tell," by Chuck Berry. 

I like to disperse folk songs throughout the music class, and we will typically sing about 3-5, and I like to mix new ones and old ones. Right now, I am singing "Shady Grove" and "Sandy Land" to the children, both are songs they have not heard before. 

I often choose a circle game to play in class. I also have a big book of fun circle games. Circle games are helpful for learning new songs because the children think it is a game, and they have a tolerance for singing the same song over and over, which is the basis of practicing! 

Once we have some songs and games under our belt, I will try to bring out an instrument or do a folk dance. We are bringing our ukuleles back out for the next couple of months, after a short break. We will learn a variety of songs, and I try to provide students with actual sheet music that they can take home if they wish. If you would like electronic copies of ukulele music, please e-mail me and let me know! 

This week, we have been playing a fun passing game with egg shakers to the Yiddish song "Bim Bam." Yiddish is a language that my family spoke at home when I was growing up and is near and dear to me. It is always fun to share my culture with the children. 

At the end of class I almost always sing an illustrated song tale. This week I have been singing my illustrated version of "One Love," by Bob and Cedella Marley. I have also been singing "Ain't Gonna Paint No More," which is a hilarious song and book. 

If you have any questions about music class, please let me know! 

November 13, 2018

We have been very busy preparing for the Holiday Singalong. The children put so much of themselves and so much work into this each year. The children choose their class song and then work together to create choreography or other performance elements. They have also been hard at work on the backdrop, the music, and will take over hosting responsibilities! I am really looking forward to seeing everyone at the Singalong and I am so excited for you to see the end result of all of their hard work.

November 13, 2018

We have put our ukuleles away for now in order to focus on other musical topics. We have been drumming using a variety of hand drums in music class lately. This was enhanced by the performance of the West Senior High School drum line a few weeks ago. Students heard drum cadences performed by the students, and then were invited to try out of the drums afterward!

We have also been doing quite a bit of folk dancing in music class. I hope you have been hearing about this at home. We have learned the two-hand-turn and the do-si-do, among other moves in our partner dances.

We have also been singing many holiday songs in our effort to prepare for the Harvest Feast and the Holiday Sing. As always, please let me know if you have any questions!

September 13, 2018

It has been so exciting to welcome our students in the new music room! I have been getting to know some new faces, and am enjoying all of the summer stories from the returning children. We will be using our ukuleles for the first couple of months in each music class. In the extended day, we are working on strumming. Lower elementary is practicing the C and F chords, and reviewing the song “Best Day of My Life.” Upper Elementary has some challenging new chords to learn and the song “Take Me Home Country Roads.” Please do not hesitate to email or call me if you have any ukulele questions.