Welcome to Northfield Elementary Music

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     If you're looking for all things PreK-5 music, you've come to the right place!  Keep an eye out for resources like band lesson schedules and online learning materials, announcements about upcoming events, and ways you can help music at NES thrive.  All concerts and other major events will be posted in the calendar when they are available.

Music Resources and Activities for Home

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Miss Caitlin Long

Phone: (802)845-6161 Ext. 4203

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

BM Music Education - SUNY Potsdam

Miss Caitlin Long

A member of the 2017 graduating class of the Crane School of Music (and the 2013 class of South Burlington High School), I am incredibly excited to start my teaching carreer here at NES.  Having grown up in Vermont, I am so glad I got to come back home after college, and to such a warm and welcoming community.  I'm looking forward to getting to know all of the students, and to having an amazing musical year together.

  • Victor Borge

    Posted by Caitlin Long on 2/25/2019 6:00:00 AM

    As we move into a week off from school, and begin to reflect on music as a language, I'd like to introduce you to a man named Victor Borge.  Borge was one of the best concert pianists of his time, but he did not let that stop him from also becoming one history's greatest musical comedians.  He did not play in grand concert halls for the sake of standing ovations (though he got them anyway).  He played to make people laugh.  To bring a little more light into the world, and to give people a little more to smile about.  How does this connect to music and language?  Through his comedy, Borge often talked about language, and entertained some particularly interesting thoughts on the idea of phonetic punctuation.

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  • Theme of the Week: Music as a Language

    Posted by Caitlin Long on 2/24/2019 6:00:00 AM

    I know you've heard it before, but I'll say it again: music is a language.  And not just a language, a universal language, which means everyone in the world understands it, no matter how young, no matter how old, and no matter where you're from.  I don't understand a word of Russian, but I can listen to the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir sing Sergei Rachmaninoff's All Night Vigil and be transported to a place of utter peace and serenity.  Music trancends language barriers, and gives us communication in its purest form: emotions.  It can also be used in conjunction with language, to make the message stronger.  It can make stories more interesting, give nonsense more meaning, and if you've never seen movie clips without the music, it's amazing how much of a difference it makes.

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  • Øystein Baadsvik

    Posted by Caitlin Long on 2/20/2019 3:00:00 PM

    An alternative title to this particular post might be "What Happens When You Combine Musical Genius and a Great Sense of Humor with Too Much Free Time and a Large Metal Contraption Capable of Producing Strange Noises?"  I decided to just use the answer instead.  Øystein Baadsvik is a Norwegian tuba player who decided to go off the beaten path with his tuba playing.  In this Ted Talk he explains some of the history of the tuba, as well as his own experience with the instrument, and takes us on a journey from what's typical of tuba music, to what's possible.  Long story short, be kind to your tuba players.  They are essential to the foundations of bands and orchestras, and they are capable of so much more than you think.

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  • Music Helps You Pay Attention and Make Predictions

    Posted by Caitlin Long on 2/18/2019 3:00:00 PM

    For our Monday exploration of music-turned-science, I'll give you a question you've proably heard many times: Does music really help you focus?  While the answer will never be a blanket yes or no, science is helping us learn a little more every day about how music and the brain work together.  A research team in the medical school at Stanford University found out that music can activate parts of the brain dealing with information processing, and can help you organize all of the information your senses are taking in, as well as help increase your atention and help your brain practice making predictions.  Pretty cool, in my opinion.

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  • Theme of the Week: Applying the Scientific Method to Music, or How Music Works

    Posted by Caitlin Long on 2/17/2019 6:00:00 AM

    If you're anything like me, you like to know why, and I think it's safe to say that just about every student at NES likes to know why.  Why are we doing this?  Why is this worth my time?  Why does some music calm me down?  Why do I feel exhillerated when I hear my favorite symphony?  Why is music important for helping the brain develop and learn?  And when we ask that question of why, we also often are asking, or ask right after, "How?"  Why do I need music playing when I'm working?  Because it helps me focus.  Then how does it help me focus?  For me, this is where science comes in.  Science is built on noticing things, and then asking questions about what we notice.  With music, there are so many things for us to notice, and to ask questions about, from the way music affects our mood, to how you actually make sound on your instrument and how that sound is shaped as it moves through that instrument.  Music helps us build practical knowledge of engineering, mechanics, and acoustics, teaches us how our brains work and, sometimes, how to get them to work better.

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  • Research Project

    Posted by Caitlin Long on 2/13/2019 11:00:00 AM

    As we move toward our February break, students in third, fourth, and fifth grade are embarking on their own musical journies around the world.  They have been tasked with choosing music from a country outside the US and finding out more about some aspect of that country's musical culture.  Some have chosen artists or bands, while others are looking at specific genres or works of music.  I myself am doing my part to find out more about German polka music.  At the end of it all, students (and I) will have to present our learning to the rest of the class, and teach each other about the music we found.

     

    While part of the project is listening to the music they're learning about (arguably the most fun part), a much larger part is being able to find the information they need, and to figure out what information is and is not important.  It may be an interesting fact that the lead singer of the band's favorite color is blue, but unless that somehow connects to how she performs, it's not really relevant to the project.  I am excited to see what they bring back, and to see the creative ways they use to show what they've learned.  Keep an eye out for pictures of students hard at work!

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  • Theme of the Week: History Through Music

    Posted by Caitlin Long on 2/10/2019 6:00:00 AM

    Last week we looked at music through the lens of mathematics, this week we're taking a virtual field trip through time, and around the globe.  Throughout history, music has played an integral role in major events.  Imagine the armies of the American Revolution, or the American Civil War, with their drum and fife corps, to keep everyone marching at the same steady beat.  Think of the underground railroad, and the songs slaves would sing to secretly tell each other of the road to freedom.  Think of Soviet Russia, and the composer Dmitri Shostakovitch, who made his stand against Stalin's regime through the music he wrote.  The music passed down to us through time can tell us a lot about the history of a place and of a people.  It's a window to the world they lived in, so many years ago, and the music of our time will become a window into our lives for the generations to come.

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  • Visualizing Rhythm

    Posted by Caitlin Long on 2/5/2019 7:20:00 PM

    In music, rhythms are based in mathematics, using ratios and measurements of time to create complex patterns.  This video has an interesting way of visualizing these patterns, without the traditional staff and bar line approach.

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  • Theme of the Week: The Mathematics of Music

    Posted by Caitlin Long on 2/3/2019 6:00:00 AM

    Something a lot of people, musicians included, don't realize about music is the universal connections it makes to other subjects.  When I was in college, studying to be a music teacher, I was also studying theoretical mathematics, as a minor.  I had friends and classmates who would see me in the common room of the music building, two notebooks and a textbook out, working on thirteen page logic proofs for linear algebra or geometry or theory of sets, and they thought I was crazy.  Maybe I was.  Maybe I still am, because I still love math.  But then we got to twelve-tone music in our music theory classes, a system of writing music based entirely on mathematics, and suddenly some of them understood.  You cannot make music without also working with mathematics.  Music is full of patterns that we can't help but notice and repeat.  Rhythms are made up of ratios.  Sound waves are designs of physics, and concert halls are built using acoustical engineering.

    Why does all this matter?  How does that make music something to celebrate learning about?  Because sometimes the kid who doesn't seem to understand fractions in math class can walk into the music room and explain exactly how rhythms are related.  They can show a deep understanding of what they're struggling with elsewhere, all because of the context of music.  It means that music will always be as important as math because, at its core, music is math.

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  • Celebrating Music in our Schools

    Posted by Caitlin Long on 2/1/2019 6:00:00 AM

    For the month of February, we are celebrating music education at NES.  This March will mark the National Association for Music Educators' 30th annual celebration of music education in public schools across the country.  Since the 1970's NAfME has been doing due diligence showing communities all the positive things music education brings to our students, and showing what a difference it can make for their futures.  I know I'm a month early, but this is my first year in my own classroom, so please forgive me for being a little excited.  For the whole month of February, check back for posts about why music is so important to learn about, along with some of the things your children are accomplishing in our space here at NES.

    I would also encourage you to check out the history of Music in our Schools Month here.  It's a tradition I'm proud to be a part of.

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Announcements

  • My office hours for our remote learning will be 12:30-2:30pm every weekday.  If for some reason my office hours change, I will tell you as soon as I can.  If you need to sign up for a phone call, please see my Office Hours Calendar or send me an email.

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  • Video List
    Victor Borge - Comedy in Music -

    Victor Borge - Comedy in Music

    Some of you may be wondering why I've posted a video of a gentleman turning punctuation into sound, but this wonderful comedian is also a musician.  Victor Borge was one of the greatest concert pianists of all time, but rather than use the fame his talent brought to simply play fancy concerts in fancy halls, he took that fame and that talent and he used it to do one of the most wonderful things: make people laugh.  Keep an eye out for more Victor Borge, both serious and silly.

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  • Video List
    Gaeylynn Lea: Tiny Desk Concert -

    Gaeylynn Lea: Tiny Desk Concert

    NPR has a great series called Tiny Desk Concert, and they bring in musicians from all walks of life to perform on the series.  This particular video shows in no uncertain terms that musicians come in all shapes and sizes, and that music has the power to transcend everything, even time.  The second piece on this performance is a fiddle melody that has lasted hundreds of years, passed down from one musician to the next.  A wonderful performance by a wonderful musician.

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  • Video List
    Yo-Yo Ma -

    Yo-Yo Ma

    As we continue celebrating music in our schools, I also want to celebrate some of the great musicians who inspire me daily to be the best I can be, not just as a musician, but as a teacher, and as a link to the arts for children.  For those of you who don't know who Yo-Yo Ma is, he is the greatist cellist in the world right now, possibly ever, and I say that without any ambiguity.  There's something incredibly special about the way he plays, where even in recordings there's the distinct impression that he truly loves what he's doing in that moment. It's that kind of love of craft that is truly awe-inspiring.

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  • Video List
    Moonlight Mathematics -

    Moonlight Mathematics

    Ludwig von Beethoven was a composer who spent most of his career going deaf, and dealing with his hearing loss made composing difficult.  This video does a great job explaining how the mathematics that define the relationships between pitches and rhythmic patterns made his life without sound a littl easier.

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  • Video List
    Mathematics of Sound -

    Mathematics of Sound

    This is a video about the ratios found in sound waves, and more specifically in the pitches we hear in music.  It's a lot of information in a short amount of time, but the way they present it is cool, especially with the hands-on approach they take for demonstrating what they figured out at the end.

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Announcements

  • I am in the process of setting up a Band Bank.  This will be a collection of basic supplies needed for instrument care and maintenance, and books students are no longer using.  It will be filled through donations, and while anything that can be added to the Bank is greatly appreciated, any student participating in band can take from the bank whether or not they have put anything in.  It is meant to be a resource pool that ensures everyone has access to what they need for their instrument, especially for those emergencies when their last clarinet reed breaks during their lesson.  The Bank is currently small, but will hopefully soon grow. Some basic things to be found in the Bank are listed below, by instrument family. If you have anything to add, or any questions please let me know.

     

    Woodwinds:

    • Key Oil
    • Cork Grease
    • No. 2 Reeds (Alto Saxophone and Bb Clarinet)

    Brass:

    • Slide Grease
    • Piston Valve Oil
    • Slide Oil (Trombone)

    All:

    • Cheese Cloth
    • Clean Rags
    • Old Music Books (Any old method books former students are no longer using.  I will be using Breeze Easy with 4th grade this year, and Sound Innovation with most 5th graders.)
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