WEEK BEGINNING 13TH JULY - A FAREWELL MESSAGE
Hello everyone in Year 6! 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!
WEEK BEGINNING 6TH JULY
As it is coming to the end of your time at Bernards Heath Junior School and unfortunately we are unable to have our annual summer leavers concert, if you would like to make a video of a musical performance of you either singing, dancing or playing an instrument then I would be very happy to put it up here for the rest of the year group to see. Send your performances via your class teacher in the usual way and ask them to forward it to me and I will then load it onto this page for you. To begin with, I am now sending you some brilliant videos of two Year 6 children playing the piano, which I really hope you'll enjoy.
WEEK BEGINNING 29TH JUNE
Hello again to everyone in Year 6! I know that most of you are back in school again and working hard so you may not find the time to write a song now. However, for those of you still at home it would be very special if you could work on the lyrics to a song using the backing accompaniment I gave you a couple of weeks ago. To help you write the lyrics I am attaching a short video which gives you some guidelines on song writing. Please do send me your lyrics via your class teacher or you can post them to me at school if you prefer. If you have forgotten what you are supposed to be doing or haven't been working on these music class pages recently, look back over the last two lessons here dated the 15th and 22nd June. They will give you all the information you need for writing your song and if you need any further help, the link below should be useful:
Remember that the theme to your song is either about leaving Bernards Heath Junior School or your experiences of being at home during the coronavirus lockdown. Your lyrics should fit in with one of the famous music accompaniments I gave you below on this class page, on the 15th June. Please do work on creating some lovely song lyrics for us. It would be wonderful to have a recording which I could post on these pages, so when you have finished it sing along and record your lyrics with the chosen accompaniment (either solo or with other members of your family) and forward it to me via your class teacher. I will really look forward to hearing from you.
Have a good week!
WEEK BEGINNING 22ND JUNE
Hello Year 6. I hope you have been enjoying writing your song for me. I don't expect you to have finished it yet, but I hope that by now you have chosen the music you would like to write your lyrics to from the links I gave you last week. Hopefully you have now given your song a title and have chosen the subject you are going to write your lyrics on. After doing all that, jot down a few words that will fit in well with your theme and then start putting together phrases that will fit in well with the music. If the words don't match well with the music, try other words until your lyrics fit in perfectly with the music.
Below is a link to a BBC video song about Shakespeare. It's called 'All Over the Place'. The music accompaniment and melody they are singing to was originally written by the BeeGees pop group for their song called 'Tragedy', but here the words have been changed to tell the story of William Shakespeare. Listen to this song and the words and then listen to the original song. Can you hear how the words to the Shakespeare song have been made to fit in with the melody to Tragedy?
Now continue writing your song, making sure that your lyrics fit in to one of the melodies I gave you last week. See if you can finish your song by next week and then send it to me via your class teacher. Have a great week! Hopefully I will see some of you at school.
Here is the link to the Shakespeare song:
Here is the link to the original song called 'Tragedy' by the BeeGees:
WEEK BEGINNING 15TH JUNE
Hello Year 6!
This week I would like you to create a song for me! Don't worry, the backing music is linked for you below. What I would like you to do is to choose one of the famous backing tracks from the links below and then work out your own lyrics to fit in with the music. You can either use the same melody to your song as the original song, or you can experiment and create your own melody above the backing music.
Here are a few things to help you write your song:
1. You should first give your song a title. This is very important as it helps you to get a clear plan in your head of your choice of subject. The song should be about one of the following topics:
a) Your feelings about leaving Bernards Heath Junior and moving on to a new school,
b) Your experiences of being at home during the lockdown, or of being back in school with social distancing.
Make your song title appropriate, one that will fit well with your subject choice. An example of a song title could be something like 'Moving On' if you were writing about leaving BHJS, or 'Social Distancing' if you're writing about the lockdown. Find something original, short and clear.
I am attaching a choice of famous backing tracks at the end so that you can choose to create a happy and lively song or a softer, more reflective one.
2. Listen carefully to the backing tracks and decide which one you like best for your choice of subject. Once you have made your choice, listen to the track a few times and sing the original song until you are really familiar with it and know where the vocal melody fits in.
3. Hum the original melody, or your own creation above the backing track and begin to think of a few words.
4. Once you really know the backing well, get a few ideas about lyrics and write down some words that you would like to use. Examples taken from the titles above might be as follows:
'Moving On' words - leaving, goodbye, fun, change.
'Social Distancing' words - stand back, don't touch, wash your hands
These are just ideas, and you don't need to use them in your song!
Now find some words that rhyme such as leaving rhymes with heaving, grieving and put them into the ends of lines.
Once you have done this, start to write the lyrics to one line of either a verse or chorus. Once you are happy with that line and it fits in well with the backing, begin to write another line, and so on, until you have completed a whole verse or chorus. Think about making lines rhyme rather like in a poem. Listen to the words to the original songs and get ideas from them. Also remember that verses tell the story. The words to each verse should be different from the other verses (although a line or two could be repeated) and should either cover different aspects of your choice, experiences or feelings about your choice of subject or should be telling a story relating to your subject. Verses have a similar melody, but the words change. When you write your chorus remember that this is the catchy part of your song - it is the part people remember best and tend to sing along to. The words in your chorus should be easy to remember and summarise your subject. The melody and lyrics in every chorus are exactly the same to make it memorable.
5. Finally remember DON'T make your song complicated. Keep the lyrics simple!
As an example - if you choose the backing to the song 'Mamma Mia' by ABBA you must use your own words, but you can either use the tune to the original song or make up your own melody to fit in with the backing music.
Once you have written your song, send the lyrics to me via your class teacher stating which backing you have chosen. If you compose your own melody for the vocals you will need to send me a recording of the tune. Ask your teacher to pass your song on to me, Mrs. Erlandsen, and I will look through all the songs and any that are particularly good and fit in well with your backing choice, will be mentioned in one of my next lessons so that we can all try and sing along to them.
GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN! Who knows you may discover that you are an amazing songwriter!
Here are the links to the backing tracks:
1. Mamma Mia:
2. I Wanna Be Like You:
WEEK BEGINNING 8TH JUNE
Hello Year 6! It was fantastic seeing so many of you at school last week and I hope that we may be able to see many more of you over the next few weeks. It was lovely being together again, even though we had to be very careful with social distancing all the time, but it made life feel as if it is slowly returning back to normal again, which is a wonderful feeling!
I know that you have all been working very hard for me over the last few weeks studying the History of Music, so this week I thought that you should all have a little fun and try this Disney Movie Quiz. See how many of these songs you recognise, and name the films. The link is detailed below. Remember that film music is a major part of music in this MODERN PERIOD. Films often have iconic songs that help to make money for film companies through streaming, CD's and selling the music itself. Films as well as Musical Theatre productions such as Matilda, Aladdin, and the Lion King make money not only through ticket sales but through the selling of merchandise and soundtracks. As costs rise to produce spectacular productions, money has to be recuperated through the sales of music. So how many of the songs from these film soundtracks do you know. Add up your score at the end and see how well you did! Have a good week.
WEEK BEGINNING 1ST JUNE
Hello Year 6! I know that I will be seeing some of you at school this week and I am really looking forward to that. We have almost completed studying the History of Music from Medieval Times up to today and so to finish with, this week, we are going to study the MODERN PERIOD which covers music from approximately 1900 until today. Those of you who are not returning to school this week should read the notes below and then listen to the music links attached at the end of this week's work.
So many changes happened in music in the 20th century. After the First World War people were depressed and wanted change in every area of their lives and so composers began to explore different ways of making music. Because of this there was a huge explosion in experimenting with different sounds and styles. At the very beginning of the 20th century, French impressionist painters were trying new ways of creating the effects of changing light, movement and colours of nature in their work. Composers of music began to do the same. They used new and different sounds to create an 'impression' of what clouds, rain, snow, sea and other aspects of nature were like, and instead of giving great detail to their music, it now became more vague, rather like looking at a scene through mist or fog. If you look at some of the impressionist paintings by the French artist Claude Monet, you will see that the images are not shown in clearly defined detail, but instead give a beautiful impression of the scene. Listen to the link below of a piece of music called 'Prelude a l'apres midi d'un faune' (Prelude to the afternoon of a Faun) by the French composer Claude Debussy (1862-1918). The melodies are not as clear as in the Romantic Period and seem to peacefully drift along so that you can imagine using the sounds rather like the strokes of a paintbrush.
After the First World War American composers developed their own distinctive music too, especially blues and jazz. The New York composer George Gershwin (1898-1937) cleverly blended classical music with elements of popular song and jazz. Listen to the music 'Rhapsody in Blue' by Gershwin in the link below to hear this combination of music and how the rhythms became very complex and difficult to count compared to the music of the Romantic Period. Music became more discordant, using clashing sounds, rhythms constantly changed and melody lines were difficult to follow and remember. Later, as technology improved in the 1950's, electronic music grew in popularity and its use was explored by many composers.
By the end of the 20th century music was composed for many different uses - 1. CONCERTS, where electronic music was becoming increasingly popular due to the rise in music computer technology, 2. FILMS AND TELEVISION, 3. NIGHT CLUB DANCE MUSIC as well as 4. THEATRE AND MODERN OPERA and later on 5. COMPUTER GAMES also. Famous composers, such as John Williams, (Star Wars, E.T. Harry Potter) and Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings) created powerful theme tunes that inspired people to play their music at home and in concerts all over the world. Music in films is an extremely popular genre and continues to add atmosphere and suspense to all the movies we watch today. Listen to the link below of the theme music to 'Superman' by John Williams and notice how the music is strong and powerful (like the hero) and exciting and tense to listen to.
Popular music (Pop) still continues to develop today and a wealth of famous pop songs exist that are fun to listen to, sing along to and, of course, dance to. Rhythms in this genre tend to be simpler, with strong beats that are easy to dance to, melodies that are catchy and memorable and lyrics that are easy to relate to in everyday lives. Listen below to Someone You Loved by Lewis Capaldi and This is Me from the film 'The Greatest Showman'. Many songs today also have a combination (fusion) of music from different cultures to add to public demand and interest - listen to the dance music from the film Slumdog Millionaire in the link below. Can you think of any songs or film music that combine pop music with latin american or indian music?
Have a good week and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Here are the music links for you:
1. Debussy - L'apres midi d'un faune - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYyK922PsUw
2. George Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH2PH0auTUU
3. John Williams - Superman theme - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-h5qX8kL7q8
4. Lewis Capaldi - Someone you Loved - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsHWQdriEO8
5. Keala Settle - This is Me - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfGmj_NZ85M
6. Slumdog Millionaire - dance - fusion western and indian music - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SacuV0kEQlA
MUSIC - WEEK BEGINNING 18TH MAY
Hello again everyone! I hope you have had a good week and continue to be happy, healthy and busy. We have only got two more musical periods to cover and this week it is the ROMANTIC PERIOD which dates from 1820 to around 1900.
By the Romantic Period the orchestra had become very large and had a wider range of brass instruments (tuba), woodwind instruments (piccolo and bass clarinet) and percussion instruments than in the earlier periods. This meant that music could be more expressive and reflect human emotions in greater depth as it followed the strong romantic influences of literature and art. Famous writers and poets such as Edgar Alan Poe, Elisabeth Barrett-Browning, Thomas Hardy, Lord Byron and Alfred Tennyson were very influential at this time. By the end of the 18th century writers, painters and philosophers had begun to explore new ways of expressing emotion and these romantic ideals were quickly adopted by composers. Their music began to describe feelings and moods, pictures and stories, mystery and adventure. Writing music became much less structured and more free as it was no longer necessary to follow the strict rules and rigid structures of the Classical period, such as sonata form. Music was now given titles that described the 'picture' or 'story' the composer was trying to create, and programme notes were provided at concerts for audiences, telling them the stories being told in the music - just as we have today.
Public concerts and musical evenings (soirees) in the home became an important part of the social life of the middle classes. Whilst composers before this time had been employed by wealthy patrons, the church or the royal courts, this was no longer necessary. Composers were able to make a good living from performing in concerts, having their music published and distributed, and by teaching. As music making in the home also grew in importance, the need for highly skilled performers also increased, along with the need for expert teaching. Music in the home consisted of songs, piano pieces, other solo instruments and chamber music (music for a small group of instruments). At this time the piano became an extremely important instrument and a lot of 'romantic' music was written for it. With industrialisation also came greater wealth, and so more people were able to afford to have pianos in their homes. Whilst brilliant performers (known as 'virtuoso' performers) would perform in concert halls, amateur musicians enjoyed the large amount of music that became available, performing regularly in soirees at home.
Dancing was also very important at this time and the waltz and polka were new dances that became so popular that composers wrote dance music in these styles not only for the ballroom but also for concert halls.
I am providing a link below to two pieces of music written by composers of the Romantic Period. The first is by the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt (1811-1886) who wrote a lot of music based on the folk music of his native country, Hungary. He was also an outstanding pianist. This piece is called 'Liebestraume' (which means 'Dream of Love') and is performed in this video clip by one of the world's most famous pianists today, Lang Lang. The second piece is by the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), who wrote, amongst other music, a lot of ballet music, which was very popular at the time. This is a theme from his ballet 'Swan Lake'. Notice how the music is given very descriptive titles compared to previous periods in music. Listen to the beautiful melodies, which was such an important part of music in the Romantic period. I hope you enjoy this music.
1. Liebestraume by Franz Liszt
2. Theme from the ballet 'Swan Lake' by Tchaikovsky
MUSIC - WEEK BEGINNING 11TH MAY
Hello Year 6! The weeks are going by so fast that I'm losing track of what day of the week it is. It's amazing how different and strange life seems when we're not going to school, seeing our friends and sitting together in class. Hopefully we'll soon be back together again. In the meantime, it's back to work!
This week we are going to learn about the CLASICAL PERIOD which began around 1750 until 1820. As I've mentioned to you before, music development often followed what was happening in art and architecture. At this time building design became much more simple and clearer in structure. It was all about grace and beauty, balanced proportions and very formal structure. Therefore music became much more formal in design too and composers would follow this structure very carefully in their compositions. A form known as Sonata Form developed which was used as the basis for all kinds of music during the CLASSICAL PERIOD for both soloists, small group performances and orchestral works. Many Sonatas were written in the CLASSICAL PERIOD - these are pieces of music for solo instruments. The orchestra expanded in size, particularly in the woodwind family as the clarinet was invented and as well as the orchestra now having a large string section, the woodwind family added to the strength of the orchestra with its combination of flutes, oboes and bassoons. As the orchestra grew there was no longer a need for the harpsichord to play the continuo or accompanying part and it was discontinued. Instead, the Symphony developed, which was a large scale piece of music for the full orchestra, comprising of 3 or 4 contrasting sections, known as movements.
Composers still wrote music for the church but now Opera became more important. Opera is a theatre production that is sung throughout. Although operas were less lavish than they had been in the past. Interesting characters and fascinating plot lines based on human nature became much more popular.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was a German composer and pianist at this time who wrote many orchestral symphonies and piano sonatas. He is widely considered to be one of the most admired composers in the history of western music. He wrote 722 works in his life! Sadly Beethoven suffered with hearing loss and gradually went completely deaf. However, he continued to compose and wrote some of his finest works when he was deaf. I have attached a link to his 5th Symphony below, one of his most famous works. Listen to how much more dramatic music became in this period compared to the Baroque orchestra. This is due to the much larger orchestras and wider range of instruments. Watch the video to see how large the orchestra has become.
Another very important composer of the CLASSICAL PERIOD was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). He composed more than 600 works in his short life, including symphonies, operas and concertos (a Concerto is a piece of music written for a solo instrument and accompanied by the orchestra). Here is a link to the first movement of Mozart's Symphony No. 40. Can you hear how the music has been so carefully structured? You may well recognise this work. I hope you enjoy listening to these famous pieces of music this week.
Things to note:
A SONATA is a piece of music written for a solo instrument
A CONCERTO is a piece of music written for a solo instrument but accompanied by the orchestra
A SYMPHONY is a large scale piece of music written for the orchestra
AN OPERA is a theatre production with an interesting storyline and where all the parts are sung.
MUSIC - WEEK BEGINNING THE 4TH MAY
Hello again Year 6. Another week has gone by and I hope you are all staying well and managing to keep yourselves busy and happy! I have been using the time to play the piano more and I've been working on more difficult pieces that I normally wouldn't have time to study. If you are learning an instrument either at school or at home with a private teacher, this is the perfect time to improve your standard by practising a little every day. Keep working hard and you will be able to hear the results as you get better and better at playing. It's very rewarding and very enjoyable too!
Last week I went through the Renaissance period with you and gave you some music to listen to. I hope you have been able to do this and can now remember all the different things we spoke about in class and how music developed through the years.
This week we are going to refresh our memories on the BAROQUE PERIOD which dated from 1600-1750. Music, like architecture and art at the time was elaborately decorated - music became more dramatic and ornate with lots of ornamentation. Music developed a lot at this time. If you remember in the Medieval and Renaissance periods a form of scales and keys called 'modes' were used, which were like using just the white notes on the piano from C-C, D-D etc. But in this period major and minor scales/keys were developed, just like the ones we use today. So from the BAROQUE PERIOD to now music followed this system.
Orchestras developed. They were much smaller than the modern orchestra (called chamber orchestras) and mainly consisted of stringed instruments, although a small number of woodwind and brass instruments were added. The harpsichord, which was a keyboard instrument that was very popular until the development of the piano in the middle of the 1700s, often accompanied the orchestra.
Vocal music, both religious (sacred) and secular (non-religious) grew in popularity. After the Reformation religious music was no longer restricted to Latin words. Composers of church music wrote in their own languages which at last enabled the congregation to understand what was being said or sung about in the church service. Solos, duets and songs for choirs became very popular.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and George Frideric Handel (1685 -1759) are very well known composers of the BAROQUE PERIOD. Both grew up in Germany a few miles from each other, but whilst Bach spent his life working and mainly writing religious music for the church, Handel moved to England and worked and wrote music for the Royal Family (Music for The Royal Fireworks, The Water Music). Another great composer of the time was the Italian composer, Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741). He suffered from severe asthma which prevented him from playing any woodwind instruments but he was an outstanding violinist (a virtuoso - this is a term used for a brilliant performer in music). He spent many years working in an orphanage for abandoned children where he taught the violin to young girls there. The boys would learn a trade and would leave the orphanage at the age of 15 to start work. However the girls who achieved high standards on the violin would stay at the orphanage as part of the orchestra, which became famous all over Europe and people would travel to listen to these wonderful performances. The girls would perform behind a curtain (a grille), which added to the mystery and huge interest in their performances.
Here is some music for you to listen to. When you listen to all these pieces, notice how the music keeps flowing with few stops. This is typical of music at the time. Also in the video notice the size of the orchestra, which was typical of the Baroque orchestra at that time, which mainly consisted of stringed instruments. Have a good week everyone. We all miss you!
Handel - The Hornpipe from the Water Music
J.S. Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major - watch the video and notice the typical size of the Baroque orchestra at the time, which mainly consisted of stringed instruments.
Antonio Vivaldi - The Four Seasons - Spring
MUSIC - WEEK BEGINNING APRIL 27TH
Hello everyone in Year 6. I hope you are all keeping well and finding time to enjoy this beautiful sunshine whilst you are at home. I miss being with you all in class, but I hope that this music page helps to remind you of the History of Music and gives you a little time to listen and relax.
Last week I asked you to listen to a piece of music by either the composer Guillaume de Machaut or Hildegard of Bingen from the Medieval Period and to listen to the flow of the music and the instruments used. Music at that time was very simple. It consisted of a single line of melody in church that would be sung by the whole choir in unison. This was called plainchant. Sometimes church music would be accompanied by a drone, a single note that would be played by a hurdy gurdy. There were no big leaps in Medieval music and it flowed with no strong sense of rhythm.
This week I would like you to listen to a piece of music from the Renaissance period (1450-1600). The printing press was developed around 1439 and this made it much easier for music to be distributed to more people. If you remember Renaissance means 're-birth'. It was a time of great change and development in science, art, architecture and medicine. Music notation was becoming more detailed in this period and this meant that composers could now write down their music, create more complex works and then have it printed. Church music consisted of larger choirs than in the Medieval period, with different vocal parts interweaving with each other. This type of music was called polyphony (many voices). Secular (non-religious) music also developed with dance forms growing in popularity. Composers began experimenting with different types of instruments and combinations of voices and one of the main forms of entertainment at this time was music and dance, which became part of everyday life. Church music was still sung in Latin, but secular music was sung in the composer's native language.
This week I would like you to listen to two pieces of music. The first is 'Ave Maria' by the Franco Flemish composer, Josquin des Prez (around 1450-1521) where you can hear the polyphony of voices mixing together sung in Latin. Then listen to the English composer William Byrd (1540-1623) with his secular song "This Sweet and Merry Month of May" sung in English. Notice again how the vocal parts interweave together, a very different sound from Medieval music. However, there is no instrumental accompaniment in either piece, which was typical of that time. I have added the link to both these songs below:
Josquin des Prez - "Ave Maria" link:
William Byrd - "This Sweet and Merry Month of May" link:
Also, if you listen to a piece from 'Dance Music of the Renaissance' on You Tube you will hear how rhythmic Renaissance secular music has become.
Have a good week!
MUSIC - WEEK BEGINNING 20TH APRIL
Hello Everyone. This year we have been learning about the History of Music. If you remember we began by studying the music of Early Man, then the Medieval Period (800-1450A.D.), the Renaissance Period (1450-1600), the Baroque Period (1600-1750), the Classical Period (1750-1820), the Romantic Period (1820-1914) and finally the Modern Period from 1914 to the present day. We learnt that music changed gradually over time, influenced by Art, Architecture, Literature and the development of technology. Although the dates given above indicate when these different changes took place we must remember that the changes didn't happen overnight - they gradually changed as new composers developed music that was influenced by the world around them.
What I would like you to do this week is find out about one composer in the Medieval Period - either Guillaume de Machaut or Hildegard of Bingen and write a paragraph about him or her.
Then I would like you to listen to a piece of music composed by your choice of composer, write down the name of the piece and a few details that you notice about it. Things to listen out for are:
1) The voices - is the music for voices or for an instrument? Is there one voice or many voices?
2) If there are voices are they singing in unison (the same notes) or not? Are they singing in Latin or another language and is the music sacred (religious) or secular (not religious)?
3) Does the music jump around a lot or is the melody smooth flowing and moving in step?
4) If there are voices singing is there any instrumental accompaniment or is the melody sung 'a capella' - no accompaniment.
Keep your writing in a little notebook or folder so that I can look through it when you return to school. Remember it doesn't have to be a long piece of written work, just a short summary is fine.
Have a good week!