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Mr. Doug Music News: March 2019

Mr. Doug Music News-March 2019

We’ve had a very busy and exciting winter and had many great musical experiences. But, first I’d like to answer a few questions that I’ve been asked frequently in the past and quite a few times recently:

Do you teach privately?  I do. When I’m not working at IPS and in between booking musicians for private events or producing chamber music concerts, I teach guitar as well as composition and music theory privately. I don’t teach current IPS students (see below for the reason why), but I am available for teaching older siblings as well as adults.   I love teaching all ages!

When can my child start formal music lessons?  In general, most children under the age of five are not developmentally ready for private music lessons where regular practice is a necessity for musical training.  Young children do best with casual music experiences including group music classes and experiencing live music that is so readily available in New York City.  However, each child is different and some younger children are able to deal with formal music training.

What is the best instrument to start with? Piano or violin.  Piano is the easiest instrument for a beginner to get a “proper” sound from, as one simply presses a key to get a sound (this is an oversimplification).  Violin would be a second choice, because violins are matched with students according to their size.  Additionally, this instrument offers the opportunity to play in ensembles early on and makes it a good choice for young musicians. However, sometimes the best instrument is the one that a student is inspired to play. So, if you or your child finds great interest in another instrument, it is certainly worth investigating.

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at mrdougmusic@hotmail.com

Meanwhile, in music class, just as we were wrapping up our percussion curriculum, the East 86th Street location had the chance to celebrate the music of Niger with our special guest, security guard Mr. Ali.  He not only told us about the wonderful music of his homeland, but he also shared some special clothes that he brought from Niger. (see photo)

Bonne chance et bon voyage!       

We then jumped into the world of string instruments. We learned that all string instruments have three things in common: a box (resonator); a sound hole; and strings! We saw a video of someone playing a pipa, a string instrument from China:


and kicked off the Carnival season with a video recording of the cavaquinho, a small guitar from Brazil used in choro and samba music. We watched a recording of Brasileirinho (go to 2’58”):


We are looking forward to a very special guest to introduce the idea of acoustic vs. electric instruments in the following week!

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Telephone and Snowman Song for: EDWARD'S OVERWHELMING OVERNIGHT, Rosemary Wells

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Library with Ms. Talcott: Happy Endings for 2018!

The end-of-the-year stories contained age-appropriate suspense and very happy endings in Library class this month!!

The Red Room classes listened to tiger stories from different countries.  In The Tiger Who Came to Tea, a story from England by Judith Kerr, a tiger eats all the food on the table in one big mouthful and goes into the kitchen to see what else he can find.  The tiger says “thank you” and leaves a big mess.  When the father comes home he comes up with a good idea:  go to a cafe for sausages, chips, and ice cream!  In Tiger on a Tree, a story from India by Anushka Ravishankar, a tiger swims ashore.  He then gets scared by a goat and climbs a tree.  The tiger in turn scares the villagers.  Should they “send him to the zoo, paint him an electric blue, or set him free?”  The story returns to the opening line, “Tiger, tiger on the shore,” and he is home again, safe and sound.

The Green Room classes joined the Pre-K and Jr. K classes in listening to a Native American story called Thanks to the Animals by Passamaquoddy storyteller Allen Sockabasin.  The Pre-K and Jr. K classes put on their thinking caps and made predictions in the middle of the story as to what was going to happen, and they were right: the baby did fall out of the sled!  All of the children were interested to see how the animals piled together to make a snug house for the baby.

Have a happy vacation and a happy beginning to the new year!

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Movement Class March 2019

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Movement News – April 2019

My goal as a dance educator is to offer structured movement opportunities that allow the children to continuously invent movements, according to their personal preferences structured by dance concepts.

As we near the end of the school year, I can offer you the following informal assessment:  a personal checklist of student learning outcomes.

Social Skills:

  • Cooperates with others
  • Can work alone or as a group member
  • Respects personal and shared space; is aware of self and others

Emotional Skills:

  • Enthusiastically participates and engages
  • Can stay focused and involved in the lesson

Cognitive Abilities/Capacities:

  • Can observe and imitate demonstrated movements
  • Understanding space orientation: in the center, front, and back; and on high, medium, and low levels

Physical Skills/Abilities:

  • Has basic locomotor skills: can run, hop, spin, skip, gallop, leap
  • Knows how to find and maintain balance

Creativity and Rhythmic Abilities:

  • Can find and stay on the beat or with the rhythm
  • Responds to changes in tempo

Lately, we have been exploring some of what changes occur in the spring. Tiny seeds are growing tall.  Caterpillars are transforming into colorful butterflies.  The springtime theme is evident in our movement class. While some classes are exploring the blossoming flowers through Eric Carle’s The Tiny Seed, others are beginning their metamorphosis from squirming caterpillars to graceful butterflies.

Happy Spring to all!


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Science with Ms. Mary: March 2019

In March we explored the science of AIR. We started with a demonstration that proved air does in fact exist.  Although it is invisible and we can’t see it, it still takes up space.

We explored how objects move through the air by making simple toys such as paper airplanes, helicopters, and flying saucers.  Afterwards, we sailed these toys through the air and watched how they moved.  We also explored moving air by learning how to make pinwheels and fans.  We watched how the moving air allowed the pinwheels and fans to circulate.
Creating and playing with air toys is a powerful form of basic scientific investigation!
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Technology Fun!

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iPads/Technology with Ms. Nikki: January Fun

Green Rooms:

Fiete Match is a matching game (pairs game) with a twist.  Children have the chance to challenge Fiete the sailor in a selection of pairs games and puzzles.  Fiete will respond to your child like a real player. This app is perfect for children, especially if they like logic puzzles and brain training!

Your child will be able to guide Jinja the cat through an enchanted forest filled with fairy tale creatures in Sago Mini Fairy Tales.  In this app, children are able to meet new friends, play dress- up, and even meet a frog prince!  This is an open-ended play experience that is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers.

Pre-K and Junior K Rooms:

After spending the first half of the school year working on our coding skills through the use of BeeBots, our older students have progressed further and have now started our new curriculum: Stop Motion Animation!

Stop Motion Animation is a film-making technique that makes inanimate objects or very “still” objects (such as our own bodies) appear to move on their own through the use of pictures (flip-book like movies).  

Even though we have just begun, the children have been having a blast making some fun movies!  For our first couple of movies, the students have become the objects! Having the students as the subject gives them a chance to understand the process and end result of a stop-motion film.  We have already created movies that show students flying and gliding around the classroom! (One of our films is featured on The International Preschools’ Instagram page! (Account Name: international_preschools_nyc ).

For the rest of the school year, the Pre-K and Junior K classes will continue creating different kinds of stop-motion films with an array of materials such as clay, blocks, food, our own bodies, and even with drawing materials (markers, papers, crayons, etc.).

Stay tuned!

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