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My Songs are Out There May 8, 2010

Just recently, I sent 6 of my songs to a Music Education website.  The songs were accepted and are now available for download.  You can also purchase the sheet music for the following songs.

Sing a Song of Canada is a musical journey across Canada and also talks about Canadian history.

First Among Equals is a song that lists the names all 22 of Canada’s prime ministers in melody.

Ballad of Sir John A. is a musical biography of Canada’s first prime minister.

Can Can Canada names all the provinces, territories and their capital cities to the tune of the Can Can.

The Puffin Party tells the seasonal life cycle of Newfoundland’s provincial bird.

My Dewlap is the life cycle of the moose.  By  the way, do you know what a dewlap is?  Check out my website for the answer.

If you are looking for songs that are fun for learning, check these out!!  You can find them at Songs for Teaching.

The songbook is being distributed by Leslie Music Supply.


Music and Sports February 22, 2010

Filed under: music education,songs about Canada,songs that teach,Uncategorized — kimsoleskiward @ 7:02 pm

Every two years, the Olympics gives music teachers a wonderful opportunity to combine music with sports.  Often, I will use a sports analogy when teaching music.  In both sports and music, the player must warm up, exercise and practice. And, during Olympic years, I will spend time teaching traditional music from the host country.  This year, the Vancouver Olympics gives me the special opportunity of sharing songs from my home country and my songbook “Sing a Song of Canada.”

The opening ceremonies are a perfect example of how music is extremely important at a sporting event.  The music allows the home country to display their culture.  The songs raise excitement and anticipation for the games.  The Vancouver show contained many references to Canadian culture that are included in “Sing a Song of Canada”:  the importance of the First Nations drum, Emily Carr paintings, a quote from Pauline Johnson, the diversity of the landscape and people of Canada, to name a few.

For my lesson plans in January and February, students have been learning both traditional Canadian folk songs and songs from  “Sing a Song of Canada”.  For the younger elementary students, we have been focussing on the Olympic mascots and the First Nations Legends on which they are based.   We learned “Sasquatch” by Charlotte Diamond, an original song  called “The Thunderbird” and the traditional Canadian folk song, “Land of the Silver Birch.” The older students have learned several songs from my songbook with recorder accompaniments.  These include the title song from the book as well as “Train Dogs”, “Winter Is” and “Can Can Canada.”

Enjoy the rest of the Olympics and keep singing those Canadian songs!!!


Elementary Choral Concerts December 15, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimsoleskiward @ 8:31 pm

There is nothing better.  Last night both of my elementary school choruses sang in their Winter Concert.  One chorus meets weekly before school and is open to all students in Grade 4, 5, and 6.  I have 31 dedicated musicians in this group.  The second chorus is all the Grade 4 students in the school, 76 beautiful singers.

          The theme of the concert was “Songs That Changed the World.”  This is a theme that I like to express to my students.  Music really can change the world.  They sang a simple arrangement of “For Unto Us a Child is Born” from Handel’s Messiah.  When George Frederick Handel died in 1759, he donated an original score of the Messiah to a children’s orphanage in London.  This foundation still exists and it has been using that music score for benefit concerts for over 250 years!!  They sang “Follow the Drinking Gourd” a code song that was used by slaves to find their way along the Underground Railway.  They sang “We are the World” which has raised over 63 million dollars for famine relief since its release in 1985.  That’s a LOT of positive changes.  Each chorus sang 6 songs that changed the world.

          The reason I say there is nothing better is because of the enthusiasm of the students.  Their faces were shining as they showed up in their fancy dresses, suit coat and tie, dress pants etc.  They were all focused through the entire 60 minute concert, including several students who have been identified with “special needs”.  And the sound was just precious.  Many of the students sing with every note on pitch.  This is mixed with the students who are still working on expanding their vocal range.  But, that is the beauty of the sound.  They were all singing their hearts out, smiling as they performed.  And, I have to say, they really changed my world last night.  Thank you.