A message from our music staff:

Mr. Berger and Ms. Dudlak are glad you're here! Check back often for updates and info about our Westgate music program. Mr. Berger can be reached via email at gberger@sd25.org, and Ms. Dudlak can be reached at jdudlak@sd25.org. Follow Mr. Berger on Twitter! @WEMusic160

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Concert is canceled for 2/26/13

Due to inclement weather, our 1/2 MA concert has been canceled for this evening. We will advise parents as to the new date for the concert.

Let it snow!!!

Mr. B

Monday, February 25, 2013

Check out this survey!

I've been asked to share the following information regarding the Illinois 5Essentials Survey. 

Dear Parents,
Your participation in the Illinois 5Essentials Survey will help us understand the conditions at your child’s school and guide improvement. Your identity and survey responses will be kept completely confidential and will never be connected to you or your child.

Please visit https://survey.5-essentials.org/illinois/ to participate in the Illinois 5Essentials Parent Survey. The survey must be completed by March 31, 2013, but we encourage you to complete the survey as soon as possible.

Have a great week!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Snow Day? No Way!

There was a winter storm. Schools are closed. After school activities are cancelled. Children are rejoicing...

Yep- we didn't hear any of that here is District 25! I was glad that we had school today, because I had a special concert rehearsal planned and we really needed to get it done. The rehearsal went very well, and our MA-1/2 students are almost ready for their concert on Tuesday.

One of the other highlights of the week was singing 'presidential' songs in honor of President's Day. I shared "Rap of the Presidents" with many classes, and the first graders had the opportunity to sing solo with "Who Chopped The Cherry Tree Down?".

Have a great weekend!

Mr. B.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Post Valentine's Day Post

The day after Valentine's Day. Friday. Sunny outside. All of this adds up to a crazy day here at Westgate! All of my classes today were high energy, so I did my best to channel that energy in a positive direction. Below are a few pictures of the activities we did.
Fourth grade classes continued learning about African American Spirituals with "Wade In The Water", and "Dry Bones", and we also started listening to the Lemony Snicket story 'The Composer is Dead" for our orchestra instruments unit.
Students in our 4/5 classes continued work on their concert music, while third graders listened to four different examples of spirituals, and played their recorders with the spiritual "Train is a comin'".
Our primary students sang Valentine's day songs, passed beanbags to the steady beat, played a bordun on Orff instruments, and enjoyed doing the "Valentine's Dance" a German folk dance that's a real favorite! Whew! What a busy day!
Have a wonderful weekend, and enjoy President's Day.

Mr. Berger
2nd graders playing a simple bordun.

Passing the bean bag to Valentine, Valentine.

1st graders dancing to "Valentine's Dance".  Fun!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Got Swords? We do!

Our students in Mr. Solarz' 5th grade class are learning a special dance for their upcoming concert. It's called North Skelton Sword Dance. I first learned this activity in my graduate studies at VanderCook College of music in 2007. The students use 'swords' and work in groups of 5 to do the various different movements that make up the dance. The ultimate finish is to lock the swords into a star and present it to the audience. These 5th graders have proven themselves to be up to the task, and are doing great!

Students begin with 'high basket'.

The big finish! The Star.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Welcome to the Westgate Music Blog!!

Hello! Welcome to the new Westgate Music blog. Please check back from time to time to see what's going on in the music room at Westgate!

We have a few concerts coming up. The MA-1/2 classes will perform on Tuesday, February 26th, and out 4/5 and 5th grade classes will perform on March 12th. Both grades have been working very hard to prepare great music! Please plan to attend.

The second graders just finished a unit on Instruments Families of the Orchestra, which culminated in a cool group project using the iPad app 'Songify'. I'll try to post some audio if I can figure out how to do it!

Third grade classes just finished a unit on American folk instruments. We studied about the Banjo, Appalachian Dulcimer, Fiddle, Hammered Dulcimer, Harmonica, Acoustic guitar, and Accordion. YouTube was a great resource for seeing and hearing authentic recordings of these wonderful instruments!

The district 25 Staff Variety Show was last Saturday night, and it was a big success. I had the pleasure of singing "Bring Him Home" from Les Mis, as well as playing World Music Drums with my fellow music teachers and playing electric guitar on "Forever Young"- the Dylan tune. It was a blast, and was very well attended!

That's all for now!
Mr. B