Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Only 6 sleeps until Christmas!!
After a successful concert Buchanan students are spending their last couple of days in music enjoying candy canes and the short video "Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean"! Here is the link to this classic favourite if you'd like to watch it at home!

Students also had the opportunity to watch the videos of themselves performing at the concert and give their feedback on how they did! Here are some of their thoughts and pictures!
*(Concert videos will be posted over the Christmas break!)

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Remembrance Day

Because Remembrance Day was on a Sunday this year, we held our service on Friday, Nov. 9, at 11:00am. If you were unable to make it out, you can follow along below!

First, our Grade 4/5 Choir led us in the singing of O Canada:

Here in Canada, children are free to play outside, go to school, live in homes and be with their families and friends. But children who live in countries where there are wars being fought have very different lives. They can lose their homes, their freedom to play outside or go to school. They can even lose family members and friends. In World War II many people were sent to concentration camps, where they were forced to stay in tiny rooms. Many people died in concentration camps. Alena Synkova was a little girl who lived at a concentration camp for 2 years. While she was there, she wrote a poem about how she felt and drew pictures. 

Next, two students came up and presented a story and poem one of them had written about her experiences living in Afghanistan. This student shared about how the Taliban got started, and what it was like when she lived there. She shared her fears about her family that is still living in Afghanistan. It was a very touching poem and presentation, and we are very proud of her and thankful to her for sharing her story with us!

The principal at Brooklands School, Mr. Miller, and his Grade 4 & 5 students have created a video as a tribute to Canadian soldiers. In this video, many students share stories of people in their families who have served in the military. 

Many Canadian men and women are serving in the military today. They are in many different countries helping people to be safe and trying to create peace. They are putting their own lives in danger to help people who victims of war. Our Grade 4/5 Choir would like to share a special blessing for our soldiers in the hopes that they stay strong and stay safe.

Soldiers often go months or even years without getting to see their families. They miss their families and friends, their homes, their beds, and all of the other comforts they have here in Canada. Here at Buchanan School, we wanted to help bring some joy to our soldiers, so every student has written a letter which will be sent to Canadian soldiers who are serving away from home. Some of our students would like to share their letters. 

Each class at our school has prepared an envelope of letters and pictures to send to Canadian soldiers. Class representatives are invited to bring their letters to the front while we listen to the song “Soldier’s Cry O Canada”.

Thank you Buchanan students for taking the time to write to our soldiers. Your letters and pictures will remind them that they are loved and that people are thinking about them.

Now, we would like to honour our soldiers by having a moment of silence. During this time, we can think about all of the brave men and women who have fought in wars in the past and who are serving in wars today. Some have been able to return home to their families, and some soldiers do not make it home. Our moment of silence and thinking will show respect for those who have risked their lived to serve our country and help in countries that are torn by war.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Save the Date!

Our winter concert is coming up on Thursday, December 13. Showtimes are at 1:30pm and 7:00pm. Let friends and family members know so that they can save the date!
More information to come!

Lego Needed!

Dear families,

I am looking for any new or used Lego for the music room. If you have any that you would be willing to donate, please send it with your child to school! I am looking for both the larger and smaller sizes. Now, you're probably wondering, "why would a music teacher want Lego??"

I am always looking for new and effective ways to improve literacy in music. Many wonderful music teachers have posted their ideas online for using Lego to help students understand rhythms and to create music! I am hoping to use Lego for a variety of concepts, including composition, rhythmic literacy and melodic literacy. Below are some of the pictures that have inspired me!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Power of Music

As our Grade 4/5 Choir is getting ready to visit nursing homes and sing songs the residents have chosen, we have watched some very touching videos on the effects music can have on the elderly. Please take some time to watch these amazing clips!

Alive Inside: The iPod Project

Alive Inside: Henry's Story

Alive Inside: The Story of Gil and Denise

News Segment on The iPod Project

Memory Moments: Music Therapy

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Tritsch Tratsch Polka

Students in grades 1, 2 and 3 have been learning the Tritsch Tratsch Polka by Johann Strauss. We began by incorporating movement and drama (the ringmaster and tightrope walker).

Next we analyzed the form (the pattern, or "recipe" of the music) which is ABA (or same/different/same).

Finally, students chose classroom instruments to play for each of the different sections of the music. The videos are now up on our YouTube Channel (see videos below - they have been changed to a "negative" picture quality to accommodate privacy).

Students also learned a little bit about the composer (Johann Strauss).

                 Room 1:

                                         Room 4:

                                         Room 9:

                                         Room 10:

                                         Room 11:

                                         Room 12:

Monday, 1 October 2012

Chanda Mama

The Grade 4/5 Outreach Choir is learning a song from India called "Chanda Mama". We first heard the song through Playing For Change.

You can visit their website for more information and videos!

Chanda Mama is a lullaby from India, and the translation is as follows:

Chanda Mama, Chanda Mama, ravaiya,     Uncle Moon, Uncle Moon, please come,
Nannu ettukuni muddhu ladu kovaiya.       Take me into your hands and give me
                                                                     a kiss.
Maralu nemeni chesina,                              When I was mischievous,
Garalu neeve choopina.                               You showed me kindness and love.

Want to practice at home? Here you go!!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Introducing: Buchanan's Grade 4/5 Outreach Choir

This year, all students in Grades 4 and 5 are participants in Buchanan's new choir program. Choir takes place on Day 4 of the school day cycle, during period 5 (1:05-1:42). During this time, all grade 4 and 5 students meet and rehearse music to perform for others. Our purpose is to use our music to reach out to our community.
So far we have two projects that are starting to take shape:

1) A partnership with Heritage Lodge personal care home. We are hoping to visit residents on a semi-regular basis and sing for them, as well as lead some audience participation music.

2) A partnership with Oakview Place personal care home. Students will be writing letters to residents inquiring about their favourite types of music, favourite songs, favourite singers, etc. Once they receive replies from participating residents, they will begin to learn some of the music they wrote about in their letters and perform for them!

Our Grade 4/5 Choir will also perform at other events such as our Remembrance Day service and winter concert.

We are currently looking for a name! One idea: Buchanan's Got Heart. Any others?

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Welcome Kindergarten Students!

Kindergarten classes have each had music 3 times so far, and have shown such enthusiasm for music! A couple of the things we've done so far:

Sally Singer
Sally singer is a pop-up puppet who starts off every music class. Sally loves to sing, and asks each student a question using her singing voice (such as "Michael, what is your favourite colour?"), and each student answers in his/her singing voice.

The Bear Hunt
The Kinders love this one! I have posted it on our YouTube channel so that students can have fun with it at home too!
Click here to do the Bear Hunt!

So far the Kindergarten students have played the Rhythm Sticks. They learned how to tap them gently, and follow a conductor so they know when to stop. They are working on tapping a steady beat!

Here Comes A Bluebird
Kinders also learned the singing game Here Comes A Bluebird and had a blast!

"Here comes a bluebird, through my window,
Hey, diddle-dum-a-day, day day.
Take a little partner, hop in the garden,
Hey, diddle-dum-a-day, day, day."

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Welcome Back, Buchananites!

It's back to school time! Yay! I am so happy to see all of you again! I am looking forward to a fun school year with you!

Here's what's up so far!

Grades 4 & 5 (Rooms 13, 17 & 19) are starting the year with the song "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye. We began by watching a cover of the song by the group Walk of the Earth, where each member plays one part on the guitar.
From left to right:
Player 1: Uses the guitar as a percussion instrument
Player 2: Plays the ostinato (a repeating pattern) which is actually just IIV to I chords
Player 3: Plays the guitar melody
Player 4: Plays the off-beat chords (on beats 2 & 4)
Player 5: Plays accent chords

Then we watched another version of the song: Gotye saw that so many people were doing covers of his song that he made a compilation video of a whole bunch of YouTube videos from around the world!

Next week we will be learning to play this song on the Orff Instruments:


Grades 1/2/3 are learning the Tritsch Tratsch Polka by Johann Strauss. We have coupled it with Deborah Ziolkoski's story and movement about the ringmaster and tightrope walker from Fun With Composers. We are learning about ABA form in music (same/different/same), and a little bit about the life of composer Johann Strauss.

Here is a recording of it - ask your child to show you the story and movement!

Did you know that the Tritsch Tratsch Polka is also used in the video game Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games? It can be found in the Synchronized Swimming section!

Pretty cool, huh?

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Happy Summer!

Today we had our Orff Club wrap-up party and enjoyed some good music and ice cream sandwiches. Tomorrow is our Grade 4/5 Celebration of Learning in the gym at 1:30.
It has been such a wonderful year with all of you, and I can't wait to see you all in the fall!
Grade 5s - good luck and I will miss you!!! Hope to see many of you at your first band concert! :)
Miss Queen

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

June is Musical Theatre month at Buchanan!

It is almost that time of year again! The month of June, when all students at Buchanan watch a musical movie. Previous musicals include Mary Poppins, Annie, The Wizard of Oz and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

This year, students in grades 4 & 5 will be watching Newsies: The Musical.

Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will be watching an old favourite of mine, Pete's Dragon!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Room 9 Presents: Willy The Worm

Students in Room 9 (Grade 1/2/3 Multi-Age) have been working on orchestrating the story Willy the Worm. They chose instruments and playing techniques they believed would help to communicate the story. They also illustrated it themselves!

Some of the curricular outcomes they met included:
  • experiment with music to communicate ideas derived from a variety of stimuli (e.g., visual stimuli such as artworks or an aquarium; a remembered or an imaginary experience; a poem or a story; music-listening experiences; themes or concepts from other subject areas)
  • select and organize, with teacher guidance, sounds and/or musical ideas as a class, as a group, or individually (e.g., make patterns with a low and a high sound, choosing from a range of instruments and sound sources)
  • collaborate with others to develop and extend musical ideas
  • make interpretive musical decisions, using variations of expressive devices (e.g., tempo, dynamics, articulation, tone colour)

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Disney's Newsies

Movie Trailer

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Every June students at Buchanan School watch a musical in music class. Past musicals include The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Alice in Wonderland.

This year I would like to show students in grades 4 and 5 an exciting musical called Newsies. The musical is based on the 1899 true story of a courageous group of scrappy newsboys who become unlikely heroes when they rally forces to fight an unscrupulous newspaper tycoon. This Disney film is rated PG, as it involves some slapstick comedy and choreography that mixes dance and fist fighting.

If you would like to preview the movie, you can also rent it from iTunes. There may also be some videos of the entire movie on YouTube (example: Newsies Part 1).

If you have read the above storyline and viewed the trailer, but do not want your child to watch Disney’s Newsies, please call Miss Queen no later than June 1st.    

Monday, 14 May 2012

Sagkeeng's Finest WINS Canada's Got Talent!!

Congratulations to Sagkeeng's Finest on winning Canada's Got Talent! We are so proud of you! Thank you to all of our Buchanan families who voted for this talented young group!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Canada's Got Talent Finalists Sagkeeng's Finest Visit Buchanan!

Today we were so privileged to have Sagkeeng's Finest perform at Buchanan. Sagkeeng's Finest is a jigging trio consisting of three young men, Dallas Courchene (16), Brandon Courchene (18) and Vince O'Laney (17), from Sagkeeng First Nation. Not only are these three gentlemen excellent performers, they are also finalists on Canada's Got Talent! The finals will air on Sunday, May 13 on City TV. If you want to help this incredible group win, please take a moment to vote for them on Sunday night! There are 5 ways to vote:
  • Vote Online at
  • Toll-Free Voting by Phone
  • Mobile Text Messaging for Rogers Wireless Customers Only
  • Facebook Voting
  • Twitter Voting
Please enjoy the video of the Sagkeeng's Finest presentation at Buchanan below!

 Sagkeeng's Finest Sharing Their Talents At Buchanan

World Beat Drumming for Schools with Jordan Hanson

As a wrap-up of our April drumming month at Buchanan, all students at Buchanan and Hedges were fortunate to enjoy the World Beat Drumming for Schools program with Jordan Hanson on Thursday, May 3rd. Jordan is a percussion expert and music educator who has studied music in West Africa, Cuba, Brazil and Thailand. He travels all over Canada to share his experiences, knowledge and skills with students of all ages. Our students were introduced to many different kinds of percussion instruments, including instruments we had never seen or heard of before! Please see below for some video footage of this exciting day on our YouTube Channel!

Thirty-five students from Buchanan also participated in a workshop with Jordan this morning. Each student was given a djembe to play as Jordan led them through a series of unique, exciting and challenging patterns! Enjoy the video montage of this cool workshop!

World Beat Drumming Workshop with Jordan Hanson


World Beat Drumming Presentation by Jordan Hanson


Thursday, 26 April 2012

Ringtone Project

Students in grades 3, 4 and 5 will be creating their own ringtones this month.
Using GarageBand, students will create a 20 to 30 second ringtone that includes:
  • original lyrics (either singing or rap)
  • at least one loop
  • at least one sound effect or short loop
The ringtone can be funny or serious, and it can be a general ringtone or a ringtone that is meant for someone in particular calls (ie. mom, dad, brother, sister, best friend, etc.).

To begin this project, we used a projector so that we could all work on GarageBand together and create a class ringtone. This helped the students to navigate through the program and expectations. Listen to their creations below! More to come!!

Room 11's Ringtone: Hey, Hey, Hey!

Room 15's Ringtone: My Phone Be Ringin'
*Lyrics by Room 19

Room 17's Ringtone: Tick, Tick, Tick, Boom

This project allows us to integrate computer technology into the classroom, and also touches on several outcomes in the Manitoba Music Curriculum:
  • search for and discover ideas, themes, and/or motifs for music making through experimentation, improvisation, and/or play with music elements, concepts, and techniques
  • identify, explore, and select ideas from a variety of sources as a starting point for music creation
  • select, organize, and use, with increasing independence, a combination of sounds and/or musical ideas for composing and arranging musical pieces (e.g. select, refine, and organize motifs, choose form, dynamics, tempo, articulation)
  • explain own decisions about the selection and use of music elements, techniques, expressive devices, forms, and principles of composition in own ongoing work
  • collaborate with others to develop and extend musical ideas
  • make interpretive musical decisions, demonstrating understanding of a variety of ways in which expressive devices can be used
  • rehearse, revise, and refine music to perform for others, with increasing independence, keeping in mind the composer’s intent and the audience
  • make appropriate decisions as to whether own work is “finished”
  • share own musical ideas, compositions, and interpretations with others through performances, composition portfolios, and/or sound/video recordings

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

The kindergarten students are working on being able to echo more complicated rhythm patterns on the non-pitched percussion instruments. This is more complicated than it sounds! Not only do they have to remember and reproduce exactly what they heard, they also have to practice their fine motor skills while they navigate playing a variety of instruments using different playing techniques!

In One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, students who had drums were echoing the numbers, and students who had different non-pitched percussion instruments were echoing the words. Our little brains were definitely working hard on this one! Lots of concentration!!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Rumble in the Jungle

Room 10 has been working on a book of poems called "Rumble in the Jungle" by Giles Andreae and David Wojtowycz. First, all students learned to play the pattern “Rumble, rumble, rumble in the jungle”:

Once we were comfortable with the rhythm, we started adding different patterns on the drum to illustrate the poems. Next, students chose other classroom instruments to represent each of the animals or descriptions in the poems.

Several Music Curriculum outcomes were experienced as students created this project.
Students we able to:
  • Read and perform a grade-appropriate rhythmic pattern using standard music notation
  • Play a steady beat and rhythmic patterns in a group
  • Choose instruments based on their characteristics of sound
  • Demonstrate an understanding of Rondo Form (ABACADAE....)
  • Experiment with music to communicate ideas derived from a poetry
  • Select and organize sounds and musical ideas as a class
  • Rehearse music to perform for others
  • Share musical ideas, compositions and interpretations with others through performance, and sound/video recordings

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Why Are the Arts Important in Education?

Did you know that there is not one single culture or small group of people on this entire earth that does not use some form of music in their daily lives? Music is a natural part of life and has many purposes. It is used to celebrate, to mourn, to relax, to dance, to enjoy, to experience, to learn, to worship, to communicate...and so much more! The same can be said of visual art, drama, dance and writing.

The Arts in general (music, drama, dance, literature/writing and visual art) are vital to human existence. We would never ask people to live their lives without listening to the radio, hanging pictures in their home, reading novels, watching television, or going to plays and concerts. And yet there are many people in the world who still believe that the arts do not have a place in schools and budget cuts are increasingly endangering arts programs for our children. Without the arts, our children will miss out on an important and unavoidable part of life. It is an expression of where we came from, who we are, and where we are headed. The arts meet many of our human needs.

Meeting Human Needs: The Role of the Arts in Education 

By Ashley Queen


Water Jug
For the month of April all Buchanan students have been participating in a drum circle. We use Djembe drums, Tubano drums, and water empty jugs. We have been learning a variety of rhythm patterns, as well as using the drums to accompany songs, stories and poems. Some classes have learned some traditional African folk songs and games.

Room 17 (Grade 4) has been working on a song called Obwasimisah, which includes a rock passing pattern. We began by passing one rock to the pattern of "pick up", "pass" (passing to the right every time we put the rock down). Once we were comfortable with passing one rock, we each started working with two. Our new pattern is "pick up", "tap", "tap", "pass". It can be quite difficult to keep this pattern going smoothly as a large group, and one mistake can end up in a pile of rocks! We have been having a blast, and are working toward being able to keep the game going without stopping!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

April is Music Month!

In the province of Manitoba April is Celebrating Music In Manitoba Schools Month. Our Grade 4/5 Buchanan Orff Club was selected to perform at the Manitoba Legislative Building as a celebration of Music Month. Our performance took place on April 11, 2012, 11:30pm. It was a beautiful concert consisting of The Buchanan Orfflings, Dufferin Christian School, Matheson Island School, Ecole Lacerte and Dawson Trail School.

Weren't able to make it out to the concert? Listen to our performance below or by clicking here!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Buchanan's YouTube Music Channel

Our Buchanan School YouTube Channel is now up and running!

On this channel you will find:
  • sound recordings of student work - hear what we are doing in class!
  • sound recordings of student performances - listen to the results of our hard work!
  • sound recordings of our favourite movement songs - play at home!
  • favourite music videos and creative videos - explore music and multi-media projects
  • favourite funny videos - just for fun! - have a laugh!
  • Miss Queen's vocal and flute music
  • and more!
 Check us out!

*To protect the privacy of our students, no pictures, videos, images or names of Buchanan students will appear in any material posted to YouTube.

What Is Orff, Anyway?

Students at Buchanan School are generally instructed using the Orff Method of teaching.

What does "Orff" mean?

The Orff method is named after Carl Orff (1895-1982). He was a German composer, conductor and educator. His most famous work is the oratorio "Carmina Burana". Carl Orff was the music director at the G√ľnther-Schule; a school of music, dance and gymnastics that he co-founded in Munich. His ideas were based on his belief in the importance of rhythm and movement. Today, the Orff method has expanded and is used all over the world to educate children and adults alike.

What is the Orff Method?

"The Orff Method is a way of teaching children about music that engages their mind and body through a mixture of singing, dancing, acting and the use of percussion instruments (i.e. xylophones, metallophones, glockenspiels). Lessons are presented with an element of "play" helping the children learn at their own level of understanding. It is a way of introducing and teaching children about music on a level that they can easily comprehend. Musical concepts are learned through singing, chanting, dance, movement, drama and the playing of percussion instruments. Improvisation, composition and a child's natural sense of play are encouraged." 
(Espie Estrella,


Welcome to Buchanan School's Music Program Blog!
Here you will find details about our music classes and events, as well as links to sound recordings students have made in class and at special performances. Enjoy!