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Bernards Heath Junior School

'Knowing Every Child'



Hello everyone in Year 5!  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 5.  You have been playing various drumming rhythms for me recently, so today I am attaching a link to a short video which clearly shows you how to play the BASS, TONE, and SLAP strokes correctly on the djembe drum.  I hope you can remember these strokes from your lessons in class but this is anyway a very good reminder!  Whilst you are all at home you can use a table top,  an upside down bucket or something like a very large paint pot to practise on so that when you come back to school in September you will all be expert drummers!


Here is the link for you - have fun!

When you feel confident about playing these beats, try the link below for a tutorial on some fun  djembe rhythms:


Hello Year 5!  I hope you have had great fun playing your drum rhythms to one of your favourite tunes.  Last week a boy in Year 5 sent me a fantastic recording of him playing the rock drumming rhythm I gave you all on some pots.  I have included it below for you all to listen to.  Well done  - you played brilliantly and have learnt the rhythm really well!  I would love to see and hear some more drumming performances. Why don't you all work on them this week - try and use some very original items (only with your parents permission of course!) or perhaps you could be inventive and make your own drums from items in your house or garden.  Ask your parents if they would video your performance and then send it to me, Mrs. Erlandsen, via your class teacher and I can put them up here for you all to see!  Have a wonderful week!


Basic rock rhythm on pots

Still image for this video


Hello Year 5!  I really love hearing you perform, so if you have learnt any interesting pieces or songs please record them and send them to me via your class teacher so that I can hear them!  One pupil sent me a wonderful recording of her playing the piano last week and it was so good it made my day!


I hope you enjoyed playing your rhythms with the piano cover of Dance Monkey last week.  If you found that very difficult, keep trying - the art is to know your rhythms REALLY well before you try playing along with the accompaniment.


This week, to finish our topic on rhythms,  I would like you to be a great inventor.  Put a few things together from your home (with your parents permission of course!) and create an interesting drumming rhythm with them.  Choose items that can't break and that make very different sounds so that your rhythm sounds exciting and unique.  Once you have perfected your rhythm, find a piece of music that fits with it and play along with it.  Alternatively try singing your favourite song at the same time as you play your rhythm - that will take practice as it's difficult to sing and play at the same time until you know both very well.  Performing rhythms is great fun and I hope you enjoy this week's task.  If you are really pleased with the results, ask your parents if you can record it and send it to me, Mrs. Erlandsen, via your class teacher.  I would love to hear them and any that are really good I will play on this page in the next week or two so that we can all hear them.


Wishing you all a wonderful week!





Hello Year 5! Well it's the start of another week and so here is another lesson for you to work on at home.


We have recently been working on performing rhythms and have learnt both the Cup Song and also Basic Rock Drumming skills using various materials from home.  I hope that by now you are fairly competent at playing both these rhythms and if you are here is a link to a wonderful piano cover performance of 'Dance Monkey' by Peter Bence which I would like you to try performing your rhythms to. Both the Cup Song and the Rock Drumming rhythm fit in well with the music, but the piano performance is quite fast, so you will need to be good at playing the rhythms first before you should try to play them with the piano music.   See which of the rhythms you manage to play best with the piano.  Which one do you think fits in best with the piano music?


Here is the link to the music.  Have fun!

Week Beginning 1st June 2020

Still image for this video
Basic Rock Drumming Rhythm - Let's Have Some Fun!



Hello Year 5.  I hope you have all had a good week and enjoyed singing 'Don't Worry Be Happy' last week, as a change from learning about instruments of the orchestra.  Did you manage to make up a rhythm to accompany the song?  At first it's quite difficult to sing and play at the same time, but as you get to know a song really well and are familiar with all the lyrics, playing with the vocals becomes much easier.


This week I'd like to continue thinking about performing a rhythm to a song that doesn't need any other accompaniment.  If you recall, a song with no accompaniment is called 'a capella' which means 'in the manner of the chapel', a place where songs were often sung with no instruments. I am sure you have all heard of the 'Cup Song', and this week I'd like you to learn the rhythm to this song.  Find a PLASTIC cup (this is very important.  It MUST NOT be glass as this could break whilst you are performing and you could hurt yourself).  I am going to show you a link to the song below, but first, here are the moves:


1. Place the cup upside down on a table with the base facing up.

2. Clap your hands twice and then tap the base of the cup three times, tap, tap, tap (first with your right hand, then left, then right again).

3.Clap your hands together once, then grab the cup with your right hand, pick it up and put it down again slightly further to the right.

4. Clap your hands again once, grab the cup with your right hand, twisting your hand so that your thumb and first finger pick it up from the base.

5. Bring the cup up to your left hand, turning the cup the right way up as you do so, tap your left hand with the top of the cup and then place the cup on the table the right way up (rim facing upwards).

6. Immediately bring the cup up again with your right hand then grab and hold the cup with your left hand, then tap the table with your right hand.

7. Finally take your left hand over your right hand and place the cup upside down on the table ready to start the rhythm all over again.


That's it.  Now see if you can learn it from memory and when you can, see if you can play it with the link below, repeating the rhythm again and again throughout the song.  Listen to the rhythm carefully so you can copy it exactly.  Have fun:-


Hello Everyone in Year 5!  Last week I gave you a music instrument quiz which had 15 sounds for you to identify.  Here are the answers - check your own answers and see how well you did.

1. Flute - Woodwind Family

2.  Piccolo - Woodwind Family

3. Trumpet - Brass Family 

4.  Cello - String Family

5.  Bass Drum - Percussion Family

6.  Timpani - Percussion Family

7.  Clarinet - Woodwind Family

8.  Oboe - Woodwind Family

9.  Glockenspiel - Percussion Family (has metal keys)

10. Violin - String Family

11. Double Bass - String Family

12. Xylophone - Percussion Family (has wooden keys)

13. Trombone - Brass Family

14. Snare Drum - Percussion Family

15. Tuba - Brass Family


This week, I am giving you something totally different to do.  I would like you to learn a reggae song. It's called 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' by the singer Bobby McFerrin.  Try and whistle and sing along with the music and then try and work out your own rhythm, either by clicking your fingers, tapping your fingers on a table or using something to tap with on a table to sound like a drumbeat.  This song can be sung 'a capella', which means with no instruments to accompany it at all, so you can try and sing it with no accompaniment or whilst beating your own rhythm.  You'll find it easier to do if you learn the words from memory.  It's a fun song and I hope you enjoy it.  But don't worry if you find it hard, it's a difficult song, although I know you can manage it if you try!



Hello again everyone.  I hope you have all had a good week and enjoyed listening to the 'Carnival of the Animals' by Saint Saens.  Which was your favourite piece?


This week I am going to attach a link to a listening test which I would like you to do for me. There are 15 questions. Write down the names of the instruments you can hear in each test.  I will give you the answers next week.  All the instruments used are in the picture shown with the music.


To remind you of the instruments, I am going to list them below in their family groups, starting with the smallest and highest playing instrument in each group followed by the next highest and so on.


THE STRING FAMILY: The violin is the smallest and highest sounding instrument in this family followed by the viola, cello and double bass.  The harp is also a member of the string family, and has a wide range of notes from very low to very high.

THE WOODWIND FAMILY:  The piccolo is the smallest and highest sounding woodwind instrument followed by the flute, oboe, clarinet, cor anglais, bassoon and double bassoon.

THE BRASS FAMILY: The trumpet is the smallest and highest sounding instrument in this family followed by the french horn, the trombone and the tuba. The tuba is the largest of the brass instruments with its tubes coiled around to make it easier to play and to carry.  If you uncoiled these tubes then the tuba would be about 18 feet long!

THE PERCUSSION FAMILY:  The instruments of the percussion family are placed in two groups - they are either tuned or untuned percussion.  Percussion instruments are those that are either hit, scraped or shaken. Some of these instruments can change their pitch (tuned percussion) and those that can only play one note that cannot be changed are called untuned percussion.

Untuned percussion:  Examples are castanets, tambourine, gong, woodblock, snare drum, triangle, cymbals - they cannot play different pitches (notes). 

Tuned percussion: glockenspiel, xylophone, marimba, vibraphone, celesta, timpani - they can play different notes and so tunes can be played on them.


Now see if you can recognise the instruments in the music test in the link below.

I will list the answers next week.  Enjoy trying to remember the sounds of all these instruments.  Have a good week everyone - keep smiling and stay well!




Hello to everyone in Year 5.  Are you finding the weeks are going quickly or slowly whilst you are at home?  I am sure that you have had lots of work to do, but I do hope that you have also been able to enjoy the beautiful sunny weather.


Last week, I gave you the link to the story of 'Peter and the Wolf' written by the composer Sergei Prokofiev to watch and listen to, which I hope you found interesting.  I hope that as well as watching the story you also concentrated on listening to the various instruments that represented the different characters in the story.  Another composer, the German Richard Wagner (born in 1813 and died in 1883) was famous for his use of instruments to describe characters, places, ideas and plots also.  We call this use of instruments 'leitmotifs'.  


This week I would like you to listen to three movements from a piece of music called the Carnival of the Animals written by the French composer Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921). In this piece Saint-Saens wrote 14 different movements and each one represented a different animal.  The four movements I would like you to listen to are The Aquarium, The Lion, the Elephant  and the Swan.  Do you think the music describes these animals well? What instruments did the composer use for each animal?


If you were writing a piece of music about a lion, a shark, a horse, a chimpanzee and a turtle, which instruments do you think you would use to represent the animals best and how fast would you want the music to be?  Perhaps you could discuss this with your family and see which instruments they would use and the tempo for each.  Did you all choose the same instrument and tempo?


If you enjoyed listening to these movements, try listening to the whole of Carnival of the Animals and see if you can guess which animals Saint Saens is representing in each of the 14 movements.



Hello Everyone! Over this year in school we have learnt about the four families of instruments in the Orchestra - The String Family, the Woodwind Family, the Brass Family and the Percussion Family.  We have learnt which instruments play high pitch notes and which ones play low pitch notes.  For example the String Family consists of the violin, the viola, the cello and double bass. The violin is the smallest instrument in this family and plays the highest notes and the double bass is the largest instrument in this family and plays the lowest notes. See if you can remember all the instruments in the other three families and make a list of them starting with the highest playing instrument in each group.  (Remember that the larger the instrument, the longer and thicker the string or the tube, the lower the notes that instruments plays).


Once you have done this I would like you to listen to the story of Peter and the Wolf - the link is shown below.  Listen to the story.  Each character is represented by an instrument of the orchestra.  See if you can recognise the instruments as you listen.  I hope you enjoy this very famous piece of music written by the Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev (born in 1891 and died in 1953).