Tuesday, October 10, 2017

We're off and running in music!

Mark your calendars! Concert dates are set! 
(Dates can also be found on the right side of this page under important dates.)

JFK 3rd Grade Chorus Concerts
Friday, January 12 9:00 (snow date: January 19)
Friday, June 8 9:00

JFK 4th Grade Chorus and Recorder Concerts:
Friday, January 12 9:45 (snow date: January 19)
Friday, June 8 9:45

JFK 5th Grade Chorus, Ukulele and Recorder Concert:
Wednesday, March 14 9:00 (snow date: March 21)
Proud to be an American Show TBD by classroom teachers

Parmenter 5th Grade Chorus and Recorder Concerts:

Tuesday, January 9 9:00 (snow date: January 16)

Tuesday, June 12 9:00

September Celebrity Singers!

JFK 4th Grade
JFK 5th Grade
JFK 3rd Grade
Parmenter 5th

September Musician, Culture and Composer of the Month!
1st Grade Musician
Ray Charles 
Birthday: September 23, 1930

"Hit the Road Jack"

2nd Grade Culture
(BB King, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, American Folk Songs, etc!)

"Jailhouse Rock"

3rd Grade Composer
Gustav Holst
Birthday: September 21, 1874

"Mars" from the Planets Suite

What's Been Happening in Music?
Students in 4th grade played rhythms in duple meter along with popular songs from the radio to demonstrate their reading skills!

 Students from Randolph MA's MUSIC Dance.edu came and taught K-2 about the history of Hip Hop and R&B! Special thanks to the Franklin Cultural Council for funding this! (I wasn't able to be at the Parmenter performance so I don't have pictures but I was told fun was had by all!)

Students in 2nd grade learned how to create their own short repeating rhythm aka. ostinato to accompany "Old Dan Tucker" with instruments.

Mrs. Vaudrain's class has been coming once a week and playing many instruments! This week they chose the recorders! 

I'm loving this new batch of 3rd grade chorus students! Here they are demonstrating how to and not to stand in chorus. In other words, they are learning about singing posture!

Much better!:)

Stay tuned for more classes, grades, pictures and videos next month!

New this year! Mrs. Mac is on twitter! Follow me at MrsMacMusic1

Finally! Join us for some Beatlemania! Details below!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thinking of buying a ukulele?

Repost from last year: Ukuleles are in!

If you have not already heard, last year the Franklin Elementary music staff wrote and received a grant from the FEA to start a ukulele program for 5th graders at all of the elementary schools in Franklin! With the grant and generosity of the Franklin Music Boosters we were able to buy enough ukuleles for at least half a class!

Unlike recorders, the ukuleles will have to stay at school. Many parents have been asking about ukuleles as a gift for their child for the holidays/birthday!

I thought I would share the ukuleles we purchased to help guide you in getting a ukulele that will be durable and have a great sound! Be careful with really cheap ukuleles. They are very hard to tune and they don't stay in tune. Another option would be to go to Music and Arts in Milford, talk to a sales associate and buy one there.

These are the ukuleles we purchased. We received it at a discount because of our large order but you may be able to shop around and find it at a better price.
Description from West Music rep below:
For the classroom, I highly recommend the 303685 Makala (by Kala) MK-S Soprano Ukulele.  It is a traditional wood model that plays really well - with nice geared tuners and the highly sought after Aquila nylgut strings.  The bridge is set up to have the strings wrapped around and knotted in place, which is the most reliable and secure for peace of mind.  I know that you will be pleased with the quality and sound of this ukulele! Here is a link:

Another choice described by West Music rep:

The Makala Dolphin model you mentioned is in the same series.  It features a molded plastic body over a wood top and painted in a variety of bright colors (black, blue, green, pink, purple, red, white, etc.) and is comparable in price.  These  play really well due to the Aquila nylgut strings, metal frets, and rosewood fretboard and bridge.  The tone is not as warm as the MK-S wood model, but has plenty of volume and projection.  These Dolphin models are extremely durable due to the plastic construction.  Here is link for more info:

Ukulele String Tuner:
I also recommend getting your child a tuner to help them tune their strings. I didn't love the one we got last year but here's an example of what I would get.
Ukulele tuner on Amazon
You can also download an app for your phone/tablet. On my iPhone I just downloaded GuitarTuna which was free!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Welcome to JFK and Parmenter music!

Welcome back everyone!
So excited to see so many familiar faces returning to school today! As you can see I had fun opening all the new instruments this year! At JFK and Parmenter, we were able to order enough ukuleles so that we now have a class set at each school! I look forward to meeting you all at the open house/curriculum night!


In the past few years, in an effort to enrich your child’s musical experience, I have created a bulletin board for first, second, and third graders that ties their birthdays to famous composers, musicians and cultures. My hope is that in addition to helping them grow as musicians it will also help them learn different types of music and grow in their acceptance of people’s differences.
This year I'm going to try something a little different. Typically 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade would all be learning about musicians this year since we did cultures last year. However, to try to provide more consistency and align with the classroom and music curriculum I'm going to do a musician for 1st grade, culture for 2nd grade, and composer for 3rd grade. 

SECOND GRADE FAMILIES: In terms of cultures, I hope to present music with as much authenticity as possible, I know I will be learning much of the music alongside your children. I also recognize that within a small region there are many different musical styles. Therefore it will be impossible to represent all regions and styles. Here is where you come in! If you have any knowledge of music from another part of the world or you would like me to celebrate music from your family's country please take this short survey below to share your idea! A yellow paper will also come home that you can fill out if that is easier. If you already shared last year, please share again! Thank you in advance!

All concert dates can be found on the right side of my blog page under important dates. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

For those of you new to JFK and Parmenter or have students in 3rd grade who are hopefully coming home excited about chorus here is a quick overview! Chorus is a 45 minute block once a week in addition to general music where students come together to sing as a group. My goal is to help students grow as musicians, gain confidence, and have fun! As a special incentive, I pick celebrity singers every week. Find out more below!

Q: What's a celebrity singer?
A: A celebrity singer is a student in chorus that demonstrates great effort, leadership, and focus. They also show great singing technique such as good posture, vowel shapes, pitch, breathing, etc. Sometimes I also pick a student whom I feel has shown great improvement. With the help of the educational assistants and celebrity singers from the previous week, I try to chose one boy and one girl per week. Some weeks I can't help myself and pick more!

Q: Where did this idea come from?
A: I wanted to show students that anyone can join and love chorus and become a singer. It's not just for a certain type of person, everyone was born to sing! I began thinking about celebrities such as Anne Hathaway, Beyonce, Matt Damon, Theodore Roosevelt, etc. that were all in chorus when they were younger. Sometimes the best singers are the people you would least expect!

Q: What can I do to help?
A: Never tell your child they can't sing! Also be careful about how you joke about your own singing. We're all born with the right equipment to sing. Some of us unfortunately just never learned how to use it! Anyone can learn to sing!


Every year parents ask for recommendations for private teachers for all different instruments. The music department has a running list of well qualified teachers in the Franklin area. However, every year we see incredible talent throughout Franklin and realize there are teachers we are missing. If your child takes or has taken private lesson and you would like your child’s teacher to be recommended, please fill out the below referral or direct your child's teacher to this link. Your child's teacher can also contact me at macmurraym@franklin.k12.ma.us if they would like to be added to the list.

Our current list which is still being updated can be found at the following link
Private Lesson Referral List

Monday, June 19, 2017

Last Music Update of 2016-2017!

End of the Year Celebrity Singers!
Parmenter 4th

Parmenter 3rd

JFK 3rd

JFK 4th

June Culture of the Month
We had fun learning about Mariachi Bands!

Our show and tell in June was so much fun! I wish I could have captured all the talent here but I didn't have enough room on my phone! Enjoy a couple of highlights below! Next show and tell will be next December!
This 4th grade student put together this arrangement himself! Enjoy!
These two 3rd grade students did a duet they learned at String School through Franklin Lifelong Learning!

I always look forward to this 4th grade student playing music from India!

This 3rd grade student played and sang a song I think many grown-ups will recognize!
Can't say I've ever had an electric guitar and banjo duet before! 

I couldn't be more proud of my 3rd and 4th grade students at JFK and Parmenter. I'll never forget these concerts! I love when students sing with their hearts! Looking forward to more fun next year!
I didn't get many video clips but here's a short one. Enjoy!

Highlights from June
4th graders were playing recorders and learning new things right up until the last day of music! Students were given a packet of duets, had 5-10 minutes to learn a harmony part to one of their recorder karate songs and then performed it for the class. Here are a couple of examples from Mrs. A. Williams' class. Amazing what they accomplished in one year!

In the below clips you will see Mrs. Henault's 2nd grade class working on a poem entitled "Popcorn". As a class, students created a melody to go with the rhythm of the poem. In the first clip I recorded students working together to learn the piece. I just loved to see them teaching each other! Then below you will see both halves of the class performing their piece.

I'm already missing my K students at JFK and Parmenter! Here is a clip of Mrs. Trottier's class performing Jack and Jill on percussion instruments. Students loved trying some new instruments and I loved hearing them chant in triple meter! It was a win win!

Have a great summer and don't forget to look for music this summer! I can't wait to hear all about it in September!

Love, Mrs. Mac

Friday, May 26, 2017

3rd Grade Field Trip!

Thank you so much to the JFK and Parmenter PCCs for funding these amazing field trips! Not only did 3rd grade students get to go to concert hall and see professional musicians but they got to sing and participate too! Thank you for your support of the arts in Franklin!

Pictures from Parmenter Monday, May 22

Pictures from JFK Thursday, May 25