5th & 6th Grade

April: 5th grade has started their ukulele unit and 6th grade has a ukulele quiz due. The quiz can be found below:

Ukulele Final Quiz

6th grade is working on performing a version of Amazing Grace in a new key. I’ve requested a video submission from the distance learners. All of the info is below and can be found in the classwork section of the music google classroom.

Hello, distance learners! I’ll be attempting to film the class playing Amazing Grace to edit into a video performance in the near future. If you’d like to hear the actual song, check out this version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tvt6E9N7AQw

I’d like to include a video of you playing with the class if possible. The only way I can think of to make this happen is for you to send me a video of yourself playing it and I’ll try to sync it up with the class video. It would help if you played along with this drum beat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqY8QkP96dU

I’d prefer for you to record it while listening to the beat in headphones so that the video doesn’t have the audio of the drums (just the sound of your ukulele on the video that you send to me).

please send the video to jonathan.sheffer@dor.org

March: This month, we’ve added the chords A major, D7 and G7, and are focusing on being able to read individual notes with the help of tablature. Below is a ukulele tab version of Amazing Grace. The tabs are written below the words and show which fret and which string the individual note can be found. The rhythmic notation for each note is written above the lyrics on the music staff. This song is also the first time that we’re strumming in a 3/4 time signature.

Amazing Grace with TAB

February:  We’ve been focusing on memorizing our ukulele chord shapes and strumming them in different orders to different rhythms. The chords that we’re using are C major, F major, A minor and G major. Here are the chord shapes below, along with a quick description of the notes that each string is tuned to.

Uke tuning and 1st chords


January: In addition to our ukulele unit, we’ve been talking about our feelings and how music can make us feel a certain way by using Major and Minor chords to make us feel happy or sad. Here is a video that illustrates the difference between the sounds of the chords: Major vs. Minor

A fun activity to illustrate this effect is called “Feelings in Music with Art”.

Draw a line down the center of a blank page and across the middle, forming 4 boxes. Label each box 1-4. Listen to 4 different songs that could evoke different emotions, and show how you’re feeling during each song by drawing a picture. I encourage the students to try and draw objects that represent their feelings as opposed to faces with emotional expressions. Here are 4 examples of songs that we’ve used in class.

Song #1: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Song #2: Can’t Stop the Feeling

Song #3: Phantom of the Opera

Song #4: Shake My Sillies Out

After the activity, encourage the student to reflect on how each song made them feel and elaborate on the reason behind the drawings. Compare the songs. Which songs gave similar emotions? Which songs were very different? Are there other emotions besides happy and sad? What are they?

December: The 6th graders have started  work on our ukulele unit. All of the distance learners have been online during class and should have a ukulele at home to use at this point. The classes have been going very well and everyone is making excellent progress. The 5th grade classes should have their God in Music assignment and Ukulele Agreement submitted ASAP

November: Please take a look at the God In Music Assignment below and send to Mr. Sheffer ASAP

God in Music Assignment

We will also be starting our ukulele unit as soon as I’ve received all of the signed ukulele agreement forms. Please fill out and return asap

Ukulele Agreement 

**Please complete this Fall Rhythm worksheet and drop off during your pick-up time or email it to jonathan.sheffer@dor.org

Place the words in the correct column that represents the rhythm of the syllables for each word.

We’ve been taking a much closer look at reading rhythms while using percussion instruments. Here are two videos showing how to make your own percussion instrument.

DIY Percussion Instruments 1

DIY Percussion Instruments 2

Here are the 3 stages of rhythmic notation reading that we’ve been using. I strongly encourage students to say the phrases as they play along. “Ta” for quarter notes, “Ti-Ti” for eighth notes, “To-e” for half notes and “shhh” for quarter rest.

Rhythm Reading 1

Rhythm Reading 2

Rhythm Reading 3

Please don’t move on to the next stage of rhythm reading until you can play through the first one with little to no mistakes. If you don’t have the resources to make your own percussion instrument, you can always play along by clapping. Have fun and please send in videos of the students using the tutorials and their DIY instruments!

During September and the beginning of October, the 5th and 6th grade classes will be spending time reviewing rhythmic notation and music vocabulary to make sure we’re all on the same page. After listening to and analyzing the song Respect by Aretha Franklin, we had a lengthy discussion on what the term respect means and how they’ll model respect in the class room.

Click the link to access the file for rhythmic notation review: Rhythmic Notation

Here’s another link with a different visual representation of how the different notes are related: Rhythmic Notation 2

Here’s a video that talks about the different Rhythmic Notations

Try to read some music and clap along with Mr. Gordon: Rhythmic Clapping

We’ve begun reviewing our music vocabulary words. Click this link to access the file: Music Vocab Review Sheet

We’ve been learning about the difference between Beat and Rhythm. Here’s a great video explaining the difference in greater detail: Beat vs Rhythm

Along with our vocabulary review, we are reviewing the different musical instrument groups. Here’s a video that allows students to hear what the different instruments sound like: Orchestra Instrument Groups  (I suggest having a blank sheet of paper to write down the instruments as you listen to them and sort them into their groups. It will help with the quiz)

***Assignment: Once you’ve listened to Orchestra Instrument Groups, please take this short 15 question listening quiz and send it to jonathan.sheffer@dor.org

Please write which instrument you think you’re hearing for each example. I will be giving full credit for every answer that is in the correct instrument group, so be sure to not leave any answer blank.

The 5th and 6th grade classes will begin working on ukuleles as soon as we finish rhythmic notation and vocab review. Be sure to check out all of the links and familiarize yourself with the material. I’ll be posting a few review quizzes, assignments and activities in the upcoming weeks.

Make Homemade Music with These 6 DIY Instruments

The link above offers fun “do it yourself” options for homemade musical instruments. The link includes ways to make a homemade harmonica out of straws, can drums, a tambourine, a water xylophone, a homemade rain-stick and a paper plate banjo.  Have fun and be creative!

If you make an instrument, please take a photo and send it to jonathan.sheffer@dor.org and I’ll post it here! Thanks

I’m sure there’s a few 6th graders that may be excited to get back to learning the ukulele! The first and most important step will be getting your ukulele in tune. 

There are a few ways we can accomplish this task. The first way is to try and make the pitch of the string match a reference pitch.

Another way to tune is by using your computer mic to hear your note and use a website to tell you if the note is too high (sharp) or too low (flat). click this link for a more accurate tuning tool: https://ukebuddy.com/ukulele-tuner …there are also a ton of great FREE ukulele tuning apps that can be downloaded to you or your parents phone. Search for “ukulele tuner” in the app store.

Here’s a link to a ton of ukulele chords: http://songmaven.com/online-music-tools/ukulele-chords-chart.php

You should already recognize chords C, F, G, Am, G7 and D

Here is a link to the song Amazing Grace w/ ukulele chords: https://www.doctoruke.com/amazinggracecomb.pdf

Here’s a video with 30 songs being played with only 4 chords on the ukulele.