Week 7: May 25 - 29, 2020 Music Assignment for All Classes
For our final music class of the school year, I was inspired by the 2nd Grade’s virtual field trip to Little Explorers Petting Zoo where we got to see a Panther Chameleon from Madagascar and an Australian Blue-Tongue Skink.
I don’t have any music ideas for the skinks (although wouldn’t it be a great name for an Australian rock band?), but the Chameleon reminded me of a very famous jazz piece by the U.S. jazz artist Herbie Hancock (with the help of some friends Bennie Maupin, Paul Jackson, and Harvey Mason). It’s called, of course, Chameleon. Let’s do a science connection first. Do you remember what a chameleon is? Yes, it’s a type of lizard, a reptile, and it can change colors depending on its mood. So why on earth would someone name their piece Chameleon? Well, the story goes that Mr. Hancock has been very good about changing his style of composing music as popular trends in jazz have changed (kind of like clothing styles change), so the title of the piece reflects that ability.
Now in jazz each performance tends to be a little different because the performers improvise. That means they make things up as they go along. It’s one of the big differences between classical music and jazz. If you listen to different groups perform the same piece by Mozart, it usually sounds pretty similar. There might be some differences in tempo (speed) or articulation (how they play a note), but overall you hear it and the different artists sound similar. With improvised jazz however, two different groups performing the same piece can sound w-a-y different. You might almost say, “Whoa, are you sure that’s the same piece?” That’s because a lot of the time, even though they’re keeping the basic idea the same, they’re making up whole sections of the music on the spot as they play. Wow! They’re improvising. A great jazz performer is amazing to hear - it’s one of those, “How on earth do they do that?” moments.
So as I was looking for performances of Chameleon, sometimes the performances were 15 minutes long, sometimes only about 7, it all depends on that particular performance. One thing I really want you to notice in this piece is the different layers of sound. One instrument comes in, it does its thing, and then along comes another instrument doing something else (while the first one keeps going) This recording is very long. You don’t need to listen to all 15 minutes (although you’re certainly welcome to do so), but listen to at least 2 minutes so you hear the different layers come in. Here we go with Herbie Hancock and his piece Chameleon.
Fun facts about Herbie Hancock (1st and 2nd graders learn one fact, 3rd, 4th and 5th graders
learn two facts - your choice which ones)
He’s one of the greatest jazz artists alive right now
He was born in Chicago, Illinois on April 12, 1940 (he’s now 80 years old) but ...
He now lives in California in West Hollywood
He was a child prodigy - a kid who can do something better than most expert adults - and played a long
piece by Mozart with a famous orchestra when he was only 11 years old (Can you remember
another child prodigy we’ve studied? Pat yourself on the back if your remembered Mozart)
He studied classical music before specializing in jazz
He plays piano and electronic keyboards and was one of the first people to add electronic instruments
He’s been married for over 50 years and he and his wife have one daughter
In honor of Memorial Day we’ll have one more week reviewing some of our patriotic (showing how much we love our country) songs. Choose two and sing along.
Yankee Doodle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9tbr6sDDxA
This Land Is Your Land https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_2P1LMLVjs&feature=youtu.be
You’re a Grand Old Flag https://youtu.be/vsv8LF8y9Uk
And in honor of summer let’s review I Love the Mountains and start Take Me Out to the Ballgame
I Love the Mountains https://youtu.be/AiOdyCwczac
Take Me Out to the Ball Game https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWOgcj1EwLQ
1st and 2nd Grades:
Jump Jim Joe: Here’s a traditional movement song. Watch out, the singer is tricky, sometimes she’s quiet and sometimes she’s fast. You don’t have to email me anything, just have fun. :-) However, if you want to show me your dance moves, I always enjoy seeing you perform at firstname.lastname@example.org Remember to include both your name and your classroom teacher’s name.
3rd, 4th, and 5th Grades:
One more Creative Campfire for you. This week you’ll be making a mosaic. Remember, do not send your materials to their hashtag, but email a picture of your art to me at email@example.com . Please include both your name and your classroom teacher’s name. This video is 23 minutes long because you create your mosaic as you watch the video. Before you start gather up the following materials:
Something to color with - crayons, markers, pastels, paint, colored pencils - your choice. One
suggestion - bright colors work especially well so there’s a nice contrast
2 sheets of white paper Glue, craft glue, or tape Scissors
Optional (you don’t have to have this, but it’s easier if you do) blue painter’s tape or Washi tape
Here’s the link. Have fun!
To all my wonderful music students. Have a great summer, stay safe and well, and I’m r-e-a-l-l-y looking forward to seeing all of you in August. Love, Mrs C (Dr. C and Denali wish you the best, too)