James Foster Elementary Blog for Parents

Dear Parents,

Welcome to your Weekly Report Blog!

Here you will learn about all that we have covered with your wonderful children during the week. This blog is updated weekly. Please check periodically for the updates.

Please note: NO REFUNDS, are issued after the program has started and no make ups or pro-rate are offered if a child misses a class.

November 8, 2017 -- Today we worked on "Deck the Halls." Students learned about dotted quarter notes and 8th notes in rhythms. They also learned how to distinguish notes in different octaves and about effective hand positions. Students were able to perform any song we have learned in class so far, as an ending to our session. The students have made terrific progress in their abilities to play the right notes, use their fingers effectively, and play with good rhythmic timing.

October 25, 2017 - In today's class we reviewed "Angels We Have Heard on High" and progressed to "Alouette." We went into more detail about rhythm, the durations of the notes, and understanding the difference between and quarter note, half note, and whole note.  "Alouette" also had the students learn how to tell the difference between a low G and a high G on the treble clef, so we touched briefly on the concept of the position of notes on the treble clef staff- the lower the note is placed, the lower the pitch, and the higher the note is placed, the higher the pitch. Children are getting better at hand position and finger placement. Once students were able to play the notes themselves correctly, they were encouraged to play the songs at a smoother pace and with more effective finger placement. Students who wished to do so got to perform one of those songs for the class at the end.

October 18, 2017 - Today we began by reviewing "Frere Jacques" then proceeded to "Angels We Have Heard on High." Students are getting better at identifying the notes, so we focused on teaching them how to play smoothly and with proper rhythm, as well as effective hand position and finger placement.

October 11, 2017 - Today we learned the song "Frere Jacques."  Students first reviewed Jingle Bells, as well as the basics of how to recognize notes and position the fingers, as a refresher after coming back from Fall break. For "Frere Jacques," students who learned the notes quickly learned how to play the song with both hands.

Sept. 20, 2017:  Today we began by reviewing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" then proceeding onto "Jingle Bells." Students start out by learning the notes and rhythm of the song. Students who become comfortable with the notes and find the song easy begin playing more challenging variations, such as harmonizing with bass notes in the left hand, and playing one octave higher without the note labels on the keyboard. At the end of the class, students may volunteer to perform any piece we have worked on so far. For "Jingle Bells" the class also learned how to decipher repeat signs in music, a concept which we will review and reinforce in subsequent weeks.

SEPTEMBER 13, 2017  - Today the class started out be reviewing last week's song "Ode to Joy," then proceeded to learning "Mary had a Little Lamb." The younger children would focus on simply playing all the correct keys on the keyboard with the notes labeled with stickers, while the older and more advanced students who learned the song quickly tried out more challenging variations- playing an octave higher without finger labels, harmonizing by playing a low note in the left hand to accompany the melody- and would help other children at their table. Each student learns the songs at a level that's appropriate to their age and experience level with music. At the end of class, children would volunteer to perform one of the songs they've learned in class so far.


SEPTEMBER 6, 2017 - Today the children learned the first song in the book, "Ode to Joy." They learned first how to recognize which note corresponds to which key on the keyboard, then once they recognized and played all the notes correctly, we proceeded to learn proper finger placement.


AUGUST 30, 2017 - Today it was our first class.  It was great meeting all your wonderful children.  The students were divided in two different groups: grade k-2nd in one group and 3-6 in another group.  Each group has its own assigned instructor.

Today it was our introductory class and the kids got to meet their instructors, as well as their classmates.  Each child has received his/her keyboard and materials.  The children were learning how to operate their keyboards, installing the batteries and headphones.  They also placed the music stickers on the keys, to help them learn the curriculum songs.  Each student received also a curriculum book and the teachers explained which songs they will be learning this semester.  Each child wrote his/her name on their keyboards and materials, so as to avoid confusions.

Please remind your children to take good care of their equipment as it is sensitive.

Please keep in mind that since this is a group class, and every student learns at the pace of the group, it is expected that some children may be faster than others in learning.  In this group class we all work as a team, so the faster students get to help their study partners.

Please note:

We do offer private, one-on-one music lessons in the comfort of your home. So, we suggest to continue your children’s training with one of our outstanding instructors so they don’t have a long gap between lessons, and therefore hinder their progress.



Thank you very much.

Oksana and Staff


Please watch this TED Ed video on YouTube to understand the importance of music lessons:

Original video is posted on TED Ed - Lessons Worth Sharing!