Center Stage

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  • March HBoN

    Lower Elementary – In January, I attended the annual Michigan Music Conference in Grand Rapids, which provided me with a whole lot of new activities to use with the kids.  I have already started integrating new activities into our curriculum. I attended sessions that were mainly focused on this age group, as it is where I have the least amount of experience.  We are integrating folk dance, composition, body percussion and spacial awareness into what we are currently working on in class.  


    Upper Elementary – We are hard at work on our Link Up concert Music.  The Concert is March 14th and 4/5 will be away from the school for the whole school day, first, at the concert, then at the University of Michigan Museum of Art.  Students need to bring their recorders in a bag with their name on it.  If they don’t have a travel bag, a plastic zipper bag will do. We will be collecting them in a bin when the orchestra begins their part of the concert and will distribute them back to students when we return to the school.  After March 14th we will jump right into working on our pieces for the Spring Concert. I think you will find the music “enlightening”. (That’s a hint)


    Music Lab – We are very excited about this class this semester as we have gotten off to a great start.  The format for class has changed in that Monday’s are reserved exclusively for choir rehearsal.  We are primarily focused on fundamentals of singing, learning solfege, diction, vowel color, and vocal health. Our music selections this semester are from some very highly regarded musicals.  In addition, this group of students impressed me when they asked if they could do a foreign language piece, and brought me a suggestion of a piece we could perform.  I was all too happy to accommodate them and found an arrangement right away!


    Wednesdays in Music Lab have been dedicated to our Singer/Songwriter project.  Reaching out into the HCCS Community, I discovered one of our parents, Anne Heaton, is a Singer/Songwriter who teaches, in addition to her own musical endeavors, with GRAMMY’s in the Schools and at Interlochen Fine Arts Camp. She has graciously agreed to come in and give our class some one on one attention, share what her process is like, and give us some pointers on writing our own songs.


    Concert Bands

    I’m working to foster a relationship with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra and begin a formal lessons program here at Honey Creek.  To that end I’m asking musicians from A2SO to come in and give Masterclasses on their instruments to Honey Creek students.  February 23rd and 26th Becky Bloomer of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra came out to do a Masterclass with the trumpets.  In March, Melissa Mashner of the A2SO Flute section coming out to do similar classes with the flutes in both bands.  Being in such a great community of abundant talent and willingness to share it with our students is just one of the reasons I love teaching at HCCS!


    Jazz Band

    The Sparks Jazz Band is lighting up the place!  We are off to a great start, having a 12 piece ensemble for our first attempt at a jazz band is amazing!  Full rhythm section, including 2 guitars, bass, and auxiliary percussion.  We are a little light on the brass section, so if your student is interested, see Sue to sign up! We meet Monday’s from 3:15 – 4:15 on the stage.

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  • January Music HBoN

    We are flying high off of an amazing Winter Concert and Informance last month!  I want to publicly thank all of the unsung heroes of the night; Doug Miller, Jessica P’simer, Sue Hofbauer and Aftercare staff, as well as Karen Hockley and my army of parent volunteers who helped with transitions. Most of all I want to thank the students who work very hard to give a performance they should be proud of!

    K-1 and 2-3 classes will be continuing on the path though the GamePlan curriculum, learning through music and movement about steady beat, forms of music, solfege (hand symbols), body percussion, and percussion instruments.

    4-5 classes are preparing for the Link Up! Concert field trip to Hill Auditorium on March 14th to participate in a concert with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. Cost for the trip is $6 per student. This does not include lunch.

    Students will need to bring in a recorder if they have one, or one can be purchased through me for $5. WARNING There are many toy-type recorders out there not actually intended to make music or sound in tune. If you have a question about the quality of your recorder, bring it in.  The recorders offered through the A2SO are high quality student level recorders.  The quality will make a big difference in students ability to get a good sound.  

    As part of this program, the A2SO is sending a Mentor Musician to work with the students on January 29 and February 12.

    A form will be coming home this week with more details about the concert, fees, and purchasing a recorder.  Please fill it out and make the payment to your base class teacher by January 27th.  This trip will also be in conjunction with the annual Fine Arts Committee sponsored trip to the University of Michigan Museum of Art, which will take place after lunch on March 14th.

    Firebird Band

    What an amazing debut at the Winter Concert!  I want to tell everyone what a great job they did,  how proud they should be of themselves, and how proud I am of them!  We are chugging along just past the one third point in book one of Standard of Excellence.  Students should be practicing mostly on Thursday – Sunday, still shooting for around the 60 minute or MORE a week.  Video playing tests are assigned Monday and are due by Saturday that week. Assignments are on Google Classroom and student should submit them there.

    Middle School Music Lab

    Another outstanding performance for the Music Lab Class.  Special thanks to our Lava soloists who had to step up and take an additional solo at the concert.  We are spending the remaining time in class exploring different genres of music and performing for each other.

    Phoenix Fire Band

    This group of students played with a maturity beyond their years at the concert!  I am so proud of them and the hard work they put in to make music happen at that level. It was amazing!

    In preparation for the next concert, we are passing out new music this week.  We have our new timpani being delivered at the end of the month as well.

    Students should be practicing difficult parts of the pieces I assign, scales, and submitting playing tests to Google Classroom on a weekly basis. 45-60 minutes a week should be considered minimal practice time for improvement.

    Jazz Band

    We will be having weekly Jazz Band after school on Monday’s from 3:15 – 4:15 on the stage. If there is more interest we will try to go longer as space allows.  Please see Sue Hofbauer for sign up information if your student is interested.  All instruments are welcome, not just traditional jazz instruments.  With the exception of guitar, piano and bass guitar you must be enrolled in the Phoenix Fire Band to participate in the Jazz Band.




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  • December Honey Bunches of Notes!

    Greetings Honey Creek Families!

    We are so excited to get things rolling with our Winter Concert and Informance THIS MONTH! (It’s all going by so quickly!)

    All of the details about it are on the website; CLICK HERE

    But JUST THE FACTS are here too!

    • Dress Rehearsal is during the school day on December 13th.
    • Dress Rehearsal does NOT require they be in uniform
    • Concert will be in the Honey Creek Gym
    • The Concert will start at 3:30pm with a goal of being out by 5pm at the latest!
    • Please click the links to find out about what your child’s uniform is for the concert!

    We have another Celebration to pass along as well!

    In addition to the equipment we received last month, we have also received a drum set and an electric keyboard with stool and stand! These were donated to us from DStreet Music Foundation, A non-profit in the Midland area. I’m already using the keyboard, and working on getting the drums cleaned up and in the hands of students soon!


    A  heartfelt thank you to all the families, students, staff, faculty, and administration here at Honey Creek for making me feel so welcome and supported in first few months here!

    I can’t wait to see you all at the concert!




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  • May HBoN

    In music class, everyone is in full concert prep mode! I can’t wait to see everyone come out on Thursday, March 25th right after school at 3:30 for the Spring Performance. Each elementary grade level will be preparing 2 activities to present. There is singing, dancing, and ukulele playing! Both bands are working on very challenging (but recognizable) music. Here’s a hint: the middle school band needs the force to be with them during the performance!

    Please look for the 1/2 sheet of paper sent home with your student with concert details. I’ll also send it out in an email. Can’t wait to see you there!

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  • March HBoN

    I hope you all are having a wonderful and relaxing spring break! We’ve been doing many fun things in the music classroom this month. K/1 has been exploring the difference between the singing, speaking, whispering, and calling voice. Last week we met the little harp mouse, and his favorite voice is the whisper voice because it won’t scare him. In the coming weeks we’ll meet his other friends! In 2/3, the focus has been on steady beat and the difference between the microbeat and macrobeat. We’ve also started labeling different beats so we can start the basis for counting rhythm soon. In 4/5, it’s full swing ukulele! The kids have been learning to fingerpick as well as use chords to play mystery songs. The middle school elective has been doing ukulele as well, and they’re progressing really quickly! We’ve learned 5 chords and a handful of songs to fingerpick. They really enjoy using Yousician, an online ‘guitar hero’ like program for learning ukulele! Both bands have been working hard on developing their concert music. They also have a Spring Break Tic Tac Toe activity for practicing over break, make sure that if you have a band student, they’re practicing regularly and have you sign the form so they can earn prizes!

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  • K/1 music has been focusing on showing me their steady beat, as well as telling the difference between gentle and strong. Our gentle has kids ice skating across the floor, and doing solos for their classmates. The strong activity is coming soon! We’re also experimenting with the different voices we can make such as a mouse voice, grandma voice, whisper voice, shouting voice, speaking voice, and more. See how many voices your student can remember, along with the chant!

    2/3 and 4/5 have both been in the midst of a unit on analyzing music. We’ve listened to the William Tell Overture, Ode to Joy, and O Fortuna so far. The kids have had a great time coming up with narratives and illustrations for the music based on its feel, style, and form. There’s been everything from a sword fight, to a king with a head that’s too big for his crown, and a moldy fridge!


    Both bands are making great progress through their music! We’ve started a rhythm of the day to improve music reading literacy and encourage the students to help each other with accuracy. The middle school band is very excited about what they’re preparing for everything this semester! There might be a movie theme in the works…

    It’s finally time for the ukulele elective to begin! Students will explore music reading through finger picking and chord strumming on the ukulele.  I hope to get them playing some popular music and possibly creating a playing video of their own. I can’t wait to see their progress!

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  • January HBoN

    A huge thank you to all the families that came out to enjoy the Winter Performance! I love seeing such support for the students, and I know that they love having you there to see their hard work. I also appreciate all the compliments I received about the show and the students, I made sure to let them know how well they performed and how proud we are of all of them.

    The band students should have been working on their BANDO (band BINGO) sheets, to earn some prizes when we come back from break. Hopefully we get some blackout BANDO boards!

    Starting in January, all the students will delve into new material that we can’t wait to show you!

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  • HBoN – December

    It’s concert season! Our winter performance is on December 15th at 3:30pm in the gymnasium. You should be receiving an email and flyer with all the information you’ll need, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me. I could use some parent help for each grade level during the concert, don’t worry, you’ll be able to watch your children. PLEASE let me know if you’ll be willing to assist with supervising a grade level. I hope you’ll join us for the performance to support your students who have been working hard.

    All of the elementary students have prepared activities to show you what happens in a typical music class. These ‘informances’ are based around all of the information that your students are already learning, which leaves more time for meaningful instruction. There’s everything from chants and songs, to dances and body percussion. Please ask your students what they’ve been doing and help them prepare by letting them teach you the songs or dances they’re learning.

    K/1 – Little Snowflake

    2/3 – Sasha

    4/5 – Verge (Owl City)


    The middle school bands and choir and busy mastering their concert music. With all of the technical challenges and new information, they’re sounding great! I can’t wait to share what they’ve been working on.

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