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Music Notes November 2017

Greetings Music Parents!


This past month has been full of new and interesting things for the musicians at Honey Creek!


Concert and Informance:

They are really excited about showing you what they know at our Informance and Concert in December!  The concert is scheduled for December 14th and will take place in the gym as we won’t all fit in the Cafetorium.


Google Classroom:

5th Grade and Middle School students are all signed up for Google Classroom, which is a web based class management program. All discussion, assignments, assessments, etc will be located on that website. Students need to sign in and check the classroom daily, as it will be frequently updated throughout the day. Parents will be notified by Google Classroom in the form of a digest of their assignments, which is emailed to you weekly. If you are not receiving these emails, please let me know.


New Website:

Everything you need to know to be successful in band is located on 2 places on the web. First is the Google Classroom page.  Second is the new music webpage!


Here you will find everything from a fingering chart for the clarinet, singing parts for Music Lab, to a bucket drumming demo video. You can even watch the cool video stories your K-1 student might tell you about at the dinner table! With this new site up and running, I will be posting very limited information on the WordPress site, mostly just the Honey Bunches of Notes.


New Equipment:

In an effort to locate some more equipment for the Band (our percussion most specifically) I came in contact with Dan McCourt in Pontiac. Dan owns The Greenhorn Project, which takes in instruments from districts that are upgrading or dissolving, and sells them to other districts, either repaired or as is, for a huge mark down. So far I have purchased another xylophone and a floating bass drum concert band hoop. You will see both of these instruments in action in December. The next instruments I am saving up for are timpani.


Class by Class

K-1 – We are spending a lot of time this semester working on rhythms, playing new instruments, and using our voices to make music. We listened to some scary music by Edvard Greig called “In The Hall of The Mountain King” with a little animated sled rider that moved with the music. We are learning the rhythmic difference between a quarter note and an eighth note and how to count them.


2-3 – This month we focused a lot on rhythm and playing multiple parts.  We also started to learn and sign solfege and play a cool new game called The Forbidden Word!

4-5 – We have been the busy over the last month learning a full piece on buckets for the concert, complete with stick tricks! We are also learning music and choreography to “Cold Snap” from the musical “Flakes”.  We also have our sights set on after the winter break when  we will be learning to play recorders and participating in an Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra program called “Link Up: The Orchestra Rocks!” in cooperation with Carnegie Hall. Information about recorders will be coming out in the next newsletter.


Firebird Band – We are working our way through the Standard of Excellence book with gusto! We are already on number 23!  Students have weekly playing tests that are recorded and submitted through Google Classroom. If they are having problems logging in to Google Classroom, please let me know.  There are videos on Google Classroom on how to record and submit a test.  As stated above, parents should be getting weekly reminders about missing assignments in their email.


Phoenix Fire Band – We are tackling three pieces for the Winter Concert, In the Hall of the Mountain King, Dark Adventure, and The Funky Turtle. We are learning a lot about the next stage of being a musician, listening, blending and tuning our sound into one performance.  Phoenix Fire does not have practice journals anymore, but rather have weekly playing test to be submitted through Google Classroom.


Music Lab – We are performing music in small and large ensembles on ukulele, learning a choir piece in Swahili, and performing a small ukulele choir finger picking piece for the December concert. There are helpful instructional guides, recorded sign and play along tracks, as well as sheer music on the Weebly site.

Music Notes October 2017

It has been just the blink of an eye since the picnic until now closing our third full week of school. Honey Creek is like nowhere I have ever worked before, the vast majority of those experiences being in traditional public school districts.

Thank you to all the students, families, faculty, and administration for making me feel so welcome! Its been a learning and teaching pleasure getting started at Honey Creek!

In music we are exploring steady beats, that music is made up of sound AND silence, and learning about the instruments of the orchestra with books like “Zin, Zin, Zin, A Violin”, and “The Remarkable Farkle McBride”. Links to both YouTube videos are on the K-1 tab if you would like to hear them. In October, we are going to continue learning the instrument families, steady pulse, but are going to add different note values, and eventually playing our own rhythms on the classroom instruments.  We have some un seasonal dances planned as well, “The Monster Mash” will be coming up toward the end of the month, and it wouldn’t be fall without a barn square dance!2-3
After getting to know the students a little better over the first few weeks, I felt confident that I would be able to teach this group of 2-3 students how to make some music using some basic rhythms, easy parts, and musical instruments. Starting with a quarter note, quarter rest, half note, half rest, and eighth note pair, we ended with making and singing in parts using the rhythms from the chant “Fuzzy Wuzzy”. This will be a lead into sing and playing two part songs.

In Class we are getting our groove on by learning bucket drumming. We review the notes and rests, learned the proper way to hold sticks, and learned our first rudiment, the Paradiddle, Rudiments are sticking patterns that percussionists use to make things easier to play and communicate to other percussionists about rhythms. This month we will be starting to get ready for the December performance by starting to learn our concert piece as well as writing some percussion ensembles of our own!

Middle School Music Lab
I’ve changed the name of this class because we are going to do so much more in there then just Choir.  Last month we started learning or relearning the ukulele. The performance at the concert will focus on that, but also on the delivery of the performance. Next month, along with the ukulele’s, we will be focusing on singing. I’m ordering a two part choral arrangement of one of the pieces we are playing for the winter performance.

Firebird Band (5th Grade)
Now that we have gotten through the flurry of activity that is the first few weeks of school and most everyone has their instruments, it’s time to start band class! For September we met in separate instrument groups, so I could help individuals with getting started on their perspective instruments. This month we begin with meeting as a full band!!

Band meets Monday – Wednesday which makes a lot of great continuity through the beginning of the week. However that leaves a long stretch from Thursday – Sunday potentially without practice. I am requiring that student practice 40-60 minutes from Thursday – Sunday. I have emailed a Google Form in order for parents to help keep track of how much practicing is going on at home. Please take a look at it, fill it out and submit it. Parents will get this form on Sunday night to record the previous weeks practice minutes. While it won’t directly have an impact on the grade in class, your practice time will be reflected in your playing.

First up Monday – Playing Test #7 in Standard of Excellence!!!!

Phoenix Fire Band
We are just getting started with Phoenix Fire Band since we have been at camp and the zoo. I’ve been spending most of the last few weeks getting to know the kids and their playing strengths. There are some really great fundamental sounds coming from this group and the diversity of instrumentation is perfect. Some of the most exciting developments are we are working on getting a student to switch to tuba to help fill out the ensemble sound. Also because we have so many amazing percussionists, we are going to spend some time letting them develop some percussion ensembles.  Currently we are working on tuning, blending, and playing out with our full breath. We have a few pieces in the folder now that we will be bringing to you on the Winter Concert.

Garry K. Klink
Honey Creek Community School
Music Teacher

Music News: May 2013

Please join us for our concert on Tuesday, May 21st at 3:30 in the gymnasium, as Honey Creek presents “Gotta Be Jazz.” In this show K-5 students will be taking us on a journey through the history of jazz music. It will be a great opportunity to learn some fun facts about jazz and enjoy awesome music. Band and choir students will also be performing some exciting songs, including “Selections from the Hobbit”, and “Danny Boy.” Band and choir students will need to wear black pants and white shirts. Elementary students do not need any special costumes, but it is great when they are able to dress up a little bit. We look forward to performing for you on May 21st! Hope to see you there!

Music News: March 2013

With all this crazy weather lately it’s hard to believe that spring is just around the corner, but we aren’t going to let the winter blues affect our music making. The K-1’s have been learning about movement and music. They were able to play their new favorite game, Freeze Dance last week and this week we worked on movement with solfege hand sign singing. The 2-3’s and 4-5’s are coming to a close with the recorder unit. They all sound so wonderful on the recorder I sometimes wonder if the students have been replaced by professional recorder players! Band 1 students have been learning many new notes and I will be handing out songs for our concert in the coming weeks. Band 2 students will also be working on songs for our concert in the coming weeks as well as continuing to work on intonation and tuning as a group. The choir students received their first concert songs this week and are already really excited about their songs. One thing that I began this year in my classroom is the Composer Spotlight. Every month, I pick a composer and put up some facts on a bulletin board about that composer that they may not have already known. This month’s composer is John Philip Sousa. I won’t share his whole life story with you, but one fun fact you may not know is that he was known as the “March King.” He wrote 136 different marches including Sempre Fidelis, the official song of the United States Marine Corps.

Music News: February 2013

Music classes at Honey Creek sure are making some beautiful sounds! The K-1’s are learning about music and movement as well as identifying ta, ti-ti, rest, and So, Mi, Do singing. This past week in the words of one K-1 student, “It was da bomb,” as they got to play small hand instruments for the first time. They can now identify a hand drum, tambourine, triangle, claves, and wood block. 2-3 and 4-5 students are working on learning to play recorders. This week 2-3 students learned a G and are going to be able to play everyone’s favorite, “Hot Cross Buns”. 4-5 students have sailed passed the first three notes and are about to learn C and D. They are sounding wonderful and are so excited to play. Band 1 students are continuing to work through the lesson book and learn even more difficult music. This week they are learning the Mexican Hat Dance which is always a favorite tune. Band 2 students are working on playing together as a band and developing a good middle school band sound. We are concentrating our efforts on scales and warm-ups, and the brass players are practicing chop builders to help them reach the higher notes. Choir students have just begun a new semester with new students. They just had voice placements and this week will begin reading music and working toward part singing and sounding like a choir.

Music News: December 2012

Join Honey Creek Community School on December 13th at 3:30 as we present Dig It! A Musical Tale of Ancient Civilizations. Travel back in time and join inquisitive archeologists, Taki and Tut, and their fossil friend, Lucy, as they explore the wonders of ancient civilization. From the farm laborers of early Mesopotamia and Egyptian mummies who “rap” to a chorus of Ancient Greeks and Romulus and Remus who dream of building a great city.


If your student is in band or choir please have them wear black pants and a white shirt. If your student is in the elementary concert please have them dress nicely. We look forward to performing a great show for you and hope to see you there!

Music News: November 2012

The music room has been very active lately. In K-1 we have been learning and singing folk songs. They have been applying movement with these songs and have been working on matching pitch. They are all developing some excellent singing voices. The 2-3 students are studying instruments of the orchestra. We read one of our favorite music books “The Composer is Dead” by Limony Snicket. We are also now creating our own pop-up orchestra. When they are finished they will have their own little orchestra to bring home. The 4-5  students are still studying composers and learning some wonderful things about music history. Band 1 students are very excited to  finally be playing together as a large group. We are still learning how to play together, but when we work together we sound great! Band 2 students are finished reviewing concepts from last year, and this week will be receiving the first sheet music for our December concert. Choir students have been working on sight singing skills and refreshing our memory of reading music. They will also receive their first sheet music this week. We hope to see you all at our upcoming concert on December 13th at 3:30.

Music News: October 2012

We are off to a great start in music classes this year. 4-5 classes have been studying great composers and have learned much about Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi. In the coming weeks they will be studying Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin. 2-3 classes have been reviewing instruments of the orchestra. Last week we created Wanted posters for the different instruments. Look for these to be hung up outside the cafeteria soon. K-1 classes have been learning about the music of John Denver, including his songs, Take Me Home Country Roads, Sunshine on My Shoulders, and Grandma’s Feather Bed. Through these songs we have studied beat, movement, vocal development, writing skills, and listening. Band 1 students have just begun learning their instruments in small groups. Most of them know how to put together their instruments and can play the first three notes. They’ve also learned whole notes, whole rests, treble/bass clef, and time signature. In about two weeks we will begin playing together as a large band. Band 2 students have been reviewing what they learned last year. We will continue to develop those skills throughout the year using our band book and band  music. Choir students have been working on developing good vocal technique. We’ve been working from our sight singing books to develop skills in music reading and  soon will get our first sheet of choir music. We are looking forward to a great year in music!

Music News: June 2012

Thank you so much to everyone who was able to attend our Spring Performance. It was a wonderful show and the students did a fantastic job. We have learned so much in all the music classes this year and the bands and choir have created such beautiful music.  I would like to remind any student borrowing an instrument from the school, that it needs to be returned to me for summer maintenance and storage. I would also like to invite the parents of next year’s fifth grade students to the beginning band meeting on the first day of school next year, Tuesday, September 4th at 12:00 pm. A representative from Marshall Music will be present to speak about the instrument rental process. Recently, these upcoming fifth grade students had the opportunity to try-out band instruments and pick their top three favorites. I will be emailing these parents with their students’ selection a week prior to the meeting so they can discuss instrument choices and be prepared for the meeting. If you have any questions please contact me at kgates@hc.wash.k12.mi.us I wish everyone a fun summer and remember to practice your instruments!   

Music Notes: May 2012

      Please join us on Tuesday, May 22nd at 3:30pm in the Honey Creek gym as K-5 music classes present: “It’s Easy Being Green!” During the K-5 section of the concert the students will be singing songs that feature small things you can do every day to help save our planet.  If possible please have your student(s) wear a green colored shirt OR a shirt that has a message about saving the environment (recycle, save the planet, go green).

The 5th grade and middle school bands and the middle school choir will also be performing at the concert. These students will need to wear a white shirt and black pants like they did for the winter performance. We hope you can join of on May 22nd and look forward to presenting a wonderful program.

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