Horace Mann Weekly Blog

Dear Parents,

Welcome to your Horace Mann 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.


MARCH 8, 2015 - Kindergarten: Today was our last keyboarding class of the semester! Everyone picked a favorite song to play in our mini-recital, including The Farmer In The Dell, The Alphabet Song, and Frère Jacques. We began our final class period by reviewing rhythm and tempo with the concept of ti-ti and ta-ta, shorthand indications for the timing of notes. The class also went over how to play the notes C-G with the five correct fingers. We additionally learned some simple chords: C, F, and G major! Before the mini-recital, we practiced some of the songs we had been recently learning, Deck The Halls and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. It has been a wonderful semester so far, and the students have so much new knowledge to take from it!

Older:  Today was our last keyboarding class of the semester! Everyone was working on either Amazing Grace or Old MacDonald Had A Farm at this point. Both these songs explored the higher notes in the treble clef, which was a new experience for most of the students. While practicing these songs, everyone worked on playing the notes with the proper fingers, and sometimes learned how to cross their fingers over each other correctly when trying to reach certain notes on the keyboard. Additionally, everyone was able to play some chords: a G, C, and F major! We reviewed rhythm and tempo, and a few students demonstrated how to play a sample of sheet music that included quarter notes, eighth notes, a half note, and a rest. We reviewed how to identify notes in the treble clef, and how to play the notes C-G with the correct fingers as well. At the end of class, we held a mini-recital, where every student played a song of their choice in front of the class. The songs chosen included Ode to Joy, Jingle Bells, Frère Jacques, The Alphabet Song, Silent Night, Deck the Halls, The Farmer in the Dell, London Bridge, and Amazing Grace. The semester has been wonderful, and the students have left with a lot of new musical knowledge, and great songs they can practice at home!

FEBRUARY 15, 2018 - Kindergarten: We worked on the song Ode to Joy, a simple, classic melody that they were able to get familiar with. This song had both quarter and half notes, so we reviewed this rhythmic difference, and this new example of that helped everyone understand it even more. Everyone started to gain an understanding of how to identify all of the notes on their entire keyboard! The students started finding new notes outside of just the octave with stickers on it, based on their sound and what they look like on the piano, which was a good milestone. At the end, everyone played Ode to Joy all the way through!

Older: We began the class by reviewing all of the notes we had worked on sight reading with before, which were all in the treble clef. We introduced the concept of the bass clef. After hearing a few students play their own selections, we moved into working on our new song individually. The song of the day was Farmer in the Dell. This song had some dotted notes, which is a rhythmic indication, and since the tune was familiar, people were able to make sense of how to play those notes. At the end of the day, people were able to play that song very well!

FEBRUARY 8, 2018 -- (Substitute Teacher Linda R.)  Everything went well today. I picked up the four kindergartners from their classrooms and took them to the teachers lunchroom. Their new song was Ode to Joy. Everyone did a great job!

The second group had 10 students present. Of these, only Ariel had no keyboard, and Albert no headphones. Xavier was not present because he went to Canada. At the end of class, I gave everyone an animal sticker that they picked out. Three students waited in the office after class for their parent pick up. In this class, we learned London Bridge today and they picked other past pieces to review with me of their choosing.

FEBRUARY 1st, 2018 -- Kindergarten: To start, each student played Mary Had A Little Lamb from memory in front of the class!  We then went straight into working through the alphabet song, which has quarter notes and half notes, so the difference between these types of notes is beginning to be understood. Everyone noticed how the melody of the alphabet song is the same as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. After working through the song and making sure everyone was able to play it correctly, we reviewed some musical concepts. Everyone was introduced to sight reading for the first time. A few simple flash cards were used to show the class how to identify notes in the treble clef, and they learned about using the acronym “FACE” to do so. The students played the notes on their keyboards in front of the class that were displayed on the flash cards. That exercise ended the class, and we are looking forward to next week!

Older: We began by allowing a few students to play some songs they have learned in front of the class. Today this included included Jingle Bells and the alphabet song. Then, before learning our new song of the day, the class learned some musical concepts. The class was introduced to sight reading, using some simple flash cards. They learned how to identify middle C, D, and the group F,A,C,E in the treble clef. The acronym “FACE” makes this easier to remember! Some volunteers played the notes on their keyboards in front of the class after reading them on the flash cards. Everyone was able to play Jingle Bells and the alphabet song fairly well at this point, so we moved into learning Deck The Halls. The challenges in this song were interesting; there was a slightly lower note in this song that the students hadn’t seen before, and everyone identified how to play it. There were a few dotted notes in the sheet music, which is a rhythmic indication that no one had seen, so they learned about the timing there. There were also quite a few eighth notes strung together, meaning they had to be quickly played! Most students knew the melody of this familiar song beforehand, which helped them figure these notes out. We ended by allowing a few people to play Deck The Halls, and by reviewing the rhythm of the notes in the song as a group. We are looking forward to next week!

JANUARY 25, 2018  -- The Kindergarten class: Our small group worked through jingle bells carefully, using both the sound of the song and the sight of the notes to play it. We worked on getting everyone to play the song correctly all the way through. Impressively, they are able to use and identify a repeat symbol in the music, to know when to repeat a line in the song! We reviewed the difference between quarter notes, eighth notes, half notes, and full notes by clapping along to rhythms. Lastly, we introduced the alphabet song as our next song at the end of class. Everyone is able to play a song, and they have been an impressive young group!

The older class: The students reviewed Jingle Bells, mastering the structure of the song and the rhythm of the notes. A few students performed the song in class, something that happens regularly! Then, before moving on to begin learning the Alphabet Song, we reviewed some musical concepts. The students learned how to identify the treble clef, what it is used for, and how to identify the notes middle c and d from sight. We additionally reviewed clapping to rhythms, to familiarize everyone with quarter, eighth, full, and half notes! Lastly, we introduced the alphabet song, which is the new song we will be working on more in the next class. At the end of class, everyone learned how to play the first five notes in the treble clef using all five fingers. Everyone is doing wonderfully, and each and every student is able to play a song!

JANUARY 18, 2018 -- We had a fun and productive second session!  The students worked on the new song in the curriculum book, 'Jingle Bells'.  We are impressed how quickly the students are learning the materials!  Some were able to play by memory at the end of the class!  We also reviewed the previously learned song, and the children got to perform for the classmates.

JANUARY 11, 2018  - Today it was our first class.  It was great meeting all your wonderful children.

The kids got to meet their instructor, Natalie, as well as their classmates.  Each child has received his/her keyboard and materials.   (By the way, the materials fee ($55) is due by the next class. Please refer to the flier.)  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.  Kindergartners started learning their first song in the book, "Mary had a Little Lamb" and the older kids started learning "Ode to Joy".

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!