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Bernards Heath Junior School

'Knowing Every Child'



Hello everyone in Year 4!  We have now almost come to the end of this school year, a very strange year, as it feels as if we have barely seen you all.  For me, it has also come to the end of my time at Bernards Heath Junior School.  I have been the Music Teacher here for exactly ten years now and it has been a really fantastic decade for me.  I have enjoyed my time here immensely and teaching you all has been an absolute pleasure.  However, I live several miles from St. Albans and over the last few years the traffic to and from work has become  increasingly frustrating for me.  Some days it has taken me almost two hours to get to work which has now become intolerable.  I have therefore decided that I will continue teaching music from home, giving piano lessons.  So it is with a very heavy heart that I must say 'Goodbye to you all'.    I have loved teaching music here and felt so proud watching you all grow in confidence and performing in a variety of concerts. I will miss you all very much and will think of you often.  I wish each and every one of you - children, parents and staff - every happiness for the future.  My leaving song to you all is in the link below and I think it is really appropriate for me as the words are exactly my thoughts about you all. Keep playing, singing, dancing, listening to and enjoying music.  It is one of the greatest ways of relaxing and having fun.  Stay healthy, happy and never say 'I can't' - because you can if you just keep trying!



Hello Year 4!  We have been learning about Dynamics, Tempo and the Structure of music in our recent lessons, so today for a change I thought you should have some drumming fun!  Can you remember in our Djembe drumming lessons we learnt the Bass stroke (where you use the flat of your hand to strike the middle of the drumhead) and the Tone stroke (where you use the middle of your fingers to strike the edge of the drum)?  Below is a short video creating a drumming rhythm called 'Peanut Butter Sandwich'.  See if you can learn this rhythm - you can beat it out on a table top, on a sealed paint pot, or an upside down bucket or similar.  Be creative and find your own instrument, but make sure it can't break, so check with your parents first!  Keep practising this rhythm until you are really good at it, then you can ask your parents to video it and you can send it to me, Mrs. Erlandsen, via your class teacher.  If it's really good I can post it on this page next week so everyone in Year 4 can hear you!  Have fun!

Here is the link to the video:


Hello Year 4!  I hope you enjoyed learning the song 'Brighter Day Tomorrow'.  Did you manage to work out the STRUCTURE of the song?  The best way to work it out is to listen to the piece of music a couple of times and notice which melodies repeat and which are different and then write down the layout.  This is how the song was structured:

THEME A - this was Verse 1 but then the melody was repeated again, but with different words, so we had a repeat of Theme A in Verse 2

THEME A - Verse 2

Following these two verses came the Chorus with a different melody and different words, so we call that Theme B:

THEME B but this Theme was not repeated.  Instead we returned to Theme A again

THEME A - Verse 3. The melody and words were the same as the first verse.  Theme A then repeated again for Verse 4 and the melody and words were the same as verse 2.

THEME A  - Verse 4.  Finally we had an exact repeat of the words and melody of the Chorus twice and this was of course Theme B:

THEME B - Chorus

THEME B - Chorus


So the final structure was:

A1, A2, B, A3, A4, B, B - the numbers after each A represent verses 1, 2, 3 and 4.  Do you think this song was in Binary or Ternary Form? It is in Binary Form because it has two sections AAB that then repeats with AAB again and then to finish off the song nicely it has a repeat of B once more. Theme B is repeated once at the end to make a strong ending.


Here is a video reminding you of both BINARY and TERNARY forms.


Now watch and listen to 'Somewhere over the Rainbow' in the link below.  You will see that this song is in TERNARY FORM.  It has Theme A followed by Theme B and then Theme A is repeated.  The term Coda at the end of the song is an ending.  In many songs and pieces of music we have a Coda to finish off the piece.


So the STRUCTURE of a piece of music is like a plan, or a recipe - it is the way that the music has been put together so that it feels right.  I hope you are beginning to understand Binary and Ternary Form now.  Can you think of any songs or pieces of music in either of these Forms?





Hello to everyone in Year 4.  


This week I'm going to give you a song to learn called 'Brighter Day Tomorrow' which has been made up of two different themes - 1. verse and 2. chorus.  Both these themes repeat but these are the only two themes in the tune.  Let's call the verse Theme A and the chorus Theme B. Before you sing the song, listen to it all the way through and then write down the pattern of the song just like we did with the Binary and Ternary Forms in the previous two lessons. I will give you the answer to the structure of 'Brighter Day Tomorrow' next week so you will see if you gave the right answer.


Here is the song.  Please try and learn the words from memory.  It is so good to exercise your brain by memorising the melodies and words to songs.  Try memorising the words to lots of your favourite songs so you can sing along to them when you hear them wherever you are.


Here is the link to 'Brighter Day Tomorrow'.  Have a good week!



Hello Year 4,


This term is flying by and I hope you are all managing to do your online work at home and also having some fun every day too.  The staff are now back in school with Year 6, and it seems very quiet to us without you all there!


Last week we learnt about Ternary Form in music, which is where a piece of music is divided into three sections -


1. Main theme 'A',

2. a middle different (contrasting) Theme 'B', and then

3. a repeat of Theme 'A' again.

The song 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star' is an example of Ternary Form.


This week we are going to learn about BINARY FORM, which is where a piece of music is divided into just two sections: 


1. Theme A which is then followed by 

2. Theme B


An example of a piece of music in Binary Form is the song 'Greensleeves'.  The two themes in this song are:


1) the Verse (Theme A) followed by

2) the Chorus (Theme B).


In many pieces written in Binary Form both themes are repeated.  For example you may play through the first Theme A and then it is repeated again.  The piece then moves into Theme B which is then also repeated.  So the structure looks like this:-


A  A  B  B


Now listen to Greensleeves on the link below.  In this piece there is a repeat of both of the Themes and then the whole piece is played once again.  So in Greensleeves you will hear Theme A played twice, followed by Theme B which is also played twice and then the whole song is repeated again like this:


A A B B / A A B B


Can you hear where the music changes from Theme A to Theme B?  Can you think of any other songs that are written in BINARY FORM?




Hello Year 4.

I hope you all had a lovely week off from school work during half term. This week we are going to begin talking about the Structure of Music.  Structure (also known as the Form of Music) is the way that a piece of music is built up, rather like the way some trains have two carriages and others have 4 or even 8 carriages.


The first structure we are going to learn about this week is called TERNARY FORM or ABA form. TERNARY FORM  is where a piece of music is made up of three sections :- 


1.  The first section is the main melody and we call that theme A

2.  The second section has a different tune from the main melody and is therefore called theme B

3.  The third section returns to the main melody and is called theme A again.


If you sing the tune Twinkle Twinkle Little Star you will notice that the first two lines of the song are the same as the last two lines of the song so they are both called Theme A.  However, the middle two lines have a different tune from the first and last two lines and so they are called Theme B.

So Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is a piece of music written in TERNARY FORM because it is made up of tune A, followed by tune B and then it repeats tune A again.


Twinkle, Twinkle, little star,

How I wonder what you are.

Up above the world so high,

Like a diamond in the sky.

Twinkle, Twinkle, little star,

How I wonder what you are.


Now I would like you to follow the link below and watch the short video about TERNARY FORM. Can you think of any other songs that are made up of Tune A, then Tune B and then Tune A again?




Hello again Year 4.  I hope you are all keeping yourselves busy, happy and healthy.  I have been doing some of the Joe Wicks P.E. videos on YouTube to help to keep me fit and I particularly enjoy the sessions where he has music playing in the background.  Have you tried doing some of his workouts? Music is important to us in so many ways.  It is enjoyable to listen to and to play on an instrument.  It's also great fun to sing along with.  Music cheers us all up when our favourite music is playing and makes films and computer games more atmospheric and exciting.  Sometimes you will even hear music playing in the shops as you walk around. This is to help encourage shoppers to stay in their shop (and spend more money!) encouraged by the soothing and pleasant background music.


This week I would like you to try and answer the questions below without looking back at last week's lesson whilst you do it. If you remember we were learning some of the Italian words used for 'Tempo' and 'Dynamics' in music.  These are symbols that are written on the music to tell us how fast or slow to play a piece (tempo) and how loudly or softly to perform it (dynamics). Read through the work from last week first and then work through the 15 questions below. Write down your answers on a piece of paper and then check them with last week's work and see how many you got right.


1.   What does Andante mean?

2.   What are the two letters we write on the music for it to be played medium loudly?

3.   What does fortissimo mean?

4.   If we want a piece to be played very fast, what is the Italian word we use? It begins with 'V'.

5.   What does 'mp' mean?

6.   What does the Italian word 'forte' mean?

7.   If we want a piece to be played slowly, what Italian word do we use beginning with 'L'?

8.   If we add 'issimo' to the end of an Italian word what does it mean?

9.   What is the full meaning of 'pp' in English?

10. What is the meaning of the words mezzo forte (written 'mf' on the music)?

11. What does mezzo mean?

12. What is the meaning of the Italian word 'Allegro'?

13. What Italian word do we use for 'at a walking tempo'?

14. What does Moderato mean in English?

15. What is the Italian word for 'softly'?


Below is a link to a piece of music called 'Rondo Alla Turca' by Mozart.  Alla Turca means in the style of a Turkish military band.  Listen to the music and give your suggestions for an Italian word for the Tempo (speed) of the music and another word for the Dynamics (how loud or soft). Did the dynamics change during the piece or did they stay the same. If they did change where did they change? How loudly did the piece finish?


This is a very famous piece of music for the piano.  I hope you enjoy listening to it.








Hello Year 4!  During the last few weeks we have been learning new pieces on the recorder, which I hope you have enjoyed doing.  Whenever we learn an instrument or sing a song there are some important things that we need to think about apart from just playing the tune.  Two things that we must always consider are:-


1. TEMPO - How fast the piece needs to be played or sung.

2. DYNAMICS - How loudly or quietly sections of the piece need to be performed.


The person who writes the music (the composer) decides how fast or slow and how loudly or softly the piece should be played.  And therefore the composer needs to write down clear instructions on the music in order that the piece of music will be played or sung as he or she wants.  Many of these instructions are written on the music itself at the appropriate moment and usually these instructions are written in Italian. But why Italian?  That is a very good question, and the reason is that when the rules for writing music were made, the Italians were the first at doing it. They wrote down these instructions in their own language - Italian - and this tradition continues today all over the world. Many important composers at the time that these rules were made were also Italian.  So, because of this we still use Italian terms as the written language of music.  Although some modern composers today choose to write directions for tempo, dynamics and expression in their own language it is still very common to write them down in the traditional way - Italian.


This week I would like you to try and learn a few Italian words that are often found in written music.

Firstly, here are some Italian words for different TEMPOS:

VIVACE - Very lively


MODERATO - At a medium speed

ANDANTE - At a steady walking speed

LENTO - Slowly


Now here are some Italian words for different DYNAMICS:

FORTISSIMO - To be played or sung very loudly (written 'ff' in the music for short)

FORTE - Loudly (written 'f' in the music)

MEZZO FORTE - Moderately loudly (written 'mf' in the music)

MEZZO PIANO - Moderately softly (written 'mp' in the music) NOTE: mezzo means moderately or medium

PIANO - Softly (written 'p' in the music)

PIANISSIMO - very softly (written 'pp' in the music)


See if you can learn a few of these Italian words this week. 

A little extra thing to notice - If 'issimo' is added to a word it means VERY, which is why Fortissimo means Very Loudly and Pianissimo means Very Softly.






Hello Year 4!  I hope you have been able to spend a little of your time practising the recorder and getting to know the two tunes I gave you last week.  This week I am going to give you one more tune to learn and I am attaching just below here the recorder chart for you so that it's quick and easy for you to find the notes if you forget any of them.  If you find this too hard, look back at last week's pieces and make sure you know them well first.


The piece we are going to learn this week is 'AMAZING GRACE' which is a song that we often sing in assemblies.  It was written in 1772 by the English poet and clergyman John Newton, who had worked on the Atlantic slave ships taking slaves to America.  The song is about forgiveness, saying that it is never too late to be forgiven for sinning, whatever the crime. This song is harder than the ones you learnt last week because the rhythm is more difficult.  Be careful to follow the colour coding carefully and just learn a few notes of the song at a time.  Don't begin to learn the next line until you have learnt the one before it.


Remember that the colour coding of the notes is as follows:

An orange note name means the note should hold for just half a count (a quaver beat)

A blue note needs to be held for one count (a crotchet beat)

A green note should be held for two counts (a minim beat)

A purple note should be held for three counts (a dotted minim beat)

A red note should be held for four counts (a semibreve beat)


There is one more thing for you to learn before you practice the piece and that is that sometimes we tie notes together like this:







Tied notes are where two or more notes with the same letter name are joined together by a curved line as shown in the drawing above.  When this happens, the first note is played as usual and then held on for the value of the first and second note added together, so in this example 3 +2 = 5 counts.  In Amazing Grace there are two places where there are tied notes which you will need to hold on to for five counts.  I have written next to them to help you.  In this piece we have a dotted minim (3 counts) and a minim (2 counts) tied together just like the ones shown in the drawing above.


Here is the tune for you to learn:


D  G  B  G  B

A  E  D

B  G  B  A  (these two notes are tied. Play the first note only and count for 5)

  D  B  G

 G  E  D

D  G  B  G  B

G  (these two notes are also tied together for 5 counts, a dotted minim 3 + a minim 2)


The lyrics to the first verse of Amazing Grace are:

'Amazing Grace how sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost, but now I'm found,

Was blind but now I see'.


When you can play this, ask your family to sing along with you.  Have a happy and healthy week!


Hello again Year 4! I hope you are all keeping well and making the most of this lovely sunny weather.  The wonderful thing about playing the recorder is that it is such a small instrument that you can carry it into any room or into your garden and play it anywhere you want to.  I hope that you spent a little time last week learning the notes that were shown on the drawing below.  If you did this, then you are now ready to try playing two more songs.  The first one is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from the film 'Mary Poppins" and for those of you who feel brave and fancy trying something a little harder using quavers and dotted minims then I have also written the tune for the song 'Old Town Road' by Lil Nas.  If you find these songs too difficult for now, go back to last week's lesson and work through the notes and fingering on the chart again.  You need to know the notes quite well before you can learn them.


When you first start learning these pieces, just take a few notes at a time - don't try playing the whole piece through straight away. Learn only the first line of the piece to begin with and when you can play it easily start learning the next line.  When you can play the two lines easily, put them together and then add the third line and so on.  In this way you will find the piece easier to learn. REMEMBER:  if you don't know how to play a note look at the chart I gave you last week to help you.


If a note is to be held for one count (a crotchet) then the letter name will be coloured blue

A note that needs to be held for two counts (a minim) will have the letter coloured in green

A note that should be held for three counts (a dotted minim) will be purple

A note that is held for four counts (a semibreve) will have the letter name coloured in red.

In Old Town Road we also use quavers (half a count) and these are marked in orange.

You should know both these tunes quite well and that will help you to hear how long each note should be held for.  If you recognise the tune and it sounds correct when you play then you are playing the right notes with the correct counts too.  Have fun and remember to learn just a little bit at a time!


SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS! - all the 'C's in this piece are the high C.  Make sure you know the notes D, E, F, G, A, B and high C before you play this (see the chart from last week)

G  G  G  G 

A  G  G  E

G  G  A  G  G  F

G  G  G  G 

A  G  G  D  

G  G  A  G  G  E  

G  G  G  G 

A  G  G  G  

C  C  C  C  C  A  

A  C  B  A 

C  G  G  G  

G  G  A  B  C  C


Now if you fancy something a little more difficult, here is the next tune.  In this song we have the quick notes quavers (worth 1/2 a count) as well as dotted minims that are worth 3 counts. Make sure you know the notes D, E, F, G and A really well before you play this (see the chart below from last week to help you).



D  D  A  G  F  

D  D  A  G  F

D  D  G  (3 counts) 

G  A  F  E  D  

D  D  A  G  F  

D  D  A  G  F 

D  D  G (3 counts)

G  A  F  E  D  D  D  

A  A  A  G 

G  G  G  F  G

G  G  G  F 

G  G  G  F 

G  F  G  A  F  D

A  A  A  G  A

G  G  G  F  G

G  G  G  F 

G  G  G  F  

G  F  G  A  F  D


I hope you enjoy playing these tunes.  Once you have learnt them, ask your brothers, sisters and parents to sing along with you while you play.





Hello everyone!  Whilst we are all having to work from home I thought it would be a good time for you to improve your skills on the recorder. As you will see below I have attached a chart showing you how to play the notes from the low C on the chart up to the next high C. Remember that your left hand always covers the top holes and your right hand covers the lower holes.  The thumbs in both hands are given the number 0 (zero) as the left thumb is used for covering the back hole and the right hand thumb is used for supporting underneath the recorder.  The rest of your fingers are numbered 1 to 3 on your left hand (you do not use your little finger of the left hand) and then 4, 5, 6 and 7 in the right hand (finger 4 is your first finger and 7 is your little finger).  The small red circles on the drawings show which holes are to be covered.  If we start by looking at the high C, you will see that you have to cover the back hole with your left hand thumb (that's shown by the little red circle on the right side of the drawings of the recorder).  The front top hole is not played for this note, so you use your second finger of the left hand to cover the second hole from the top.  If you now look at the note B, you will remember from playing it in class that you cover the back hole with your left hand thumb and your first finger covers the top hole on the front of the recorder. For the note A you add your second finger to the second hole on the top.  Notice that all these notes cover the back hole with your thumb.  See if you can manage to play all these notes without squeaking.  If you do squeak, remember the golden rules:

1. Put your lips gently over the tip of the beak joint.

2. Play the notes quietly - do not blow too loudly into the recorder

3. Make sure you cover the holes completely with flat fingers.

Once you have managed to play all these notes, try and make up your own tune using as many of these notes as you can. HAVE FUN!