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The 4+ Times April 28

     The 4+ classroom has been ringing with squeaks, honks, twangs, booms, and zings as the kids explore the joy of making music during our musical instrument week. The students learned that instruments are classified as string, wind, percussion, or keyboard depending on how they are played, and they have been able to play a real clarinet, baritone horn, drums, cymbal, piano, and acoustic guitars all week to their hearts’ content.  

       Peter and the Wolf, a short piece for orchestra by Prokofiev, is a delightful way to teach children about musical instruments. We read an illustrated book along with listening to a (somewhat askew) version of the narrated work by Weird Al Yankovic. The students really enjoyed the story (and got many of Weird Al’s jokes) and were soon able to recognize the various characters by instrument and theme.  

      We have been very fortunate to have many musicians perform for us this week. Orla’s mother, Kate Mallen, gave a wonderful lesson on the acoustic guitar and enchanted us all by playing and singing several very child-friendly songs. She then helped each child individually as they tried out her guitar.

     Leah Cocco, Mrs. Cocco’s teenaged daughter, is becoming a fine bassoonist, and she accepted our invitation to demonstrate her instrument by playing “Grandfather’s Theme” from Peter and the Wolf. Leah also brought in her private bassoon instructor, Mr. Paul Furlong, who added his contrabassoon to our lesson. Another day, Tracy Strycharz, a former 4+ mother, shared her clarinet with us and played “The Cat’s Theme” from Peter and the Wolf. The kids had the chance to work with all these musicians after their presentaions.

      Mrs. Leann Guzzetta, Zoe’s grandmother, will join us today to play many of her brass instruments. She has kindly let the kids try out her baritone all week. Also for today’s lesson, the kids will learn that the piano is perhaps the most versatile of all instruments with its very large range and its ability to sound any combination of keys at the same time which means it can play melody and chords singly or together. We will open up our class piano to expose its interior workings so everyone can watch the hammers and strings as it’s played.

       Tomorrow, professional musicians (and former 3 Year Old teacher) Andrea Shurtliffe  and her husband Brett will demonstrate the double bass, violin, electric bass and saxophone. They will explain the process of making music on each of their instruments before letting all the students make beginning attempts at playing them.

       We want to thank Mrs. Guzzetta, Kate Mallen, Mr. Furlong, Mr. and Mrs. Shurtliffe, Mrs. Strycharz, and Leah Cocco for sharing their instruments and their talents with our students. We really appreciate your contributions to our program.

        Our science activities revolved around sound and vibrations. The kids plucked guitar strings and rubber bands to watch them vibrate, and they made beads hop about on a drumhead in response to vibrations. During the week, the students made simple instruments such as rhythm sticks and kazoos.

Upcoming dates:

• Next week’s show and tell:  kids’ choice

• Fri., May 12: 4+ Mothers’ Brunch  10-11 in our classroom

• Fri., May 19:  field trip to Chestnut Ridge

• Mon., May 22:  4+ parent conferences   There will be a sign-up sheet for a conference time.

• Thurs., May 25:  Last day of school   4+ has no special ceremony that day. Class dismisses at 11:00 for the Co-op picnic at Green Lake.     

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