Mrs. Sons's Music Room

creating music maestros

A Day at the Symphony

On Thursday October 8th, the 5th graders at John Glenn had the opportunity to attend a special performance by the St. Joseph Symphony.  This is a concert presented as a part of their Youth Concert Series.

This trip is always a lot of fun for the students.  They get to spend an hour sitting in the Historic Missouri Theatre, watch live musicians, and experience music in a way they may not have been exposed to before.  The symphony director, Rico McNeela, always plans an exciting concert for the students.

JG5 symphony 2

This year all of the selections were about animals.  They opened their program with The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens.  In this piece, different animals are represented by instruments in the orchestra.  For example, the Elephant is played by the double bass.  The hopping of the Kangaroo can be heard through the short staccato notes played up and down the piano.  The call of the Cuckoo can be heard from the clarinet played in the distance.  And, my personal favorite, the swan is represented by the mellow tones of the cello.  Following this piece, the symphony played The Flight of the Bumblebee by Rimsky Korsakov.  They featured the trumpet to play the part of the angry bee using rapid, short, and swiftly moving notes.

Then came the best part of the program.  The symphony played music from Jurassic Park, written masterfully by the great film composer John Williams.  Although this generation was not alive during the popularity of the original movies, thanks to the newest film released over the summer, the crowd could not contain their excitement over hearing the majestic sounds of the magnificent dinosaurs.  Lastly, the program was concluded by the two most famous notes in all of movie music history.  Two notes was all John Williams needed to create a villain.  The theme from Jaws was a huge hit with the kids and was the favorite of the set by far!

st joe symphony 1

The opportunity to attend this event is endlessly beneficial to a well rounded music education.  It is important for our kids to be exposed to new experiences and a world of culture beyond what we do in the music classroom.  If given the opportunity to take your own kids to the symphony, a play or the ballet, I encourage you do so.  Exposure to these events can spark creativity and a passion for expressing themselves through the performing arts.

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Welcome Back!

Welcome back, John Glenn Rockets!  I cannot believe that summer is passed and here we are starting a new year of Music Making!!  I am so glad to be back for my 3rd year at John Glenn.  We’ve got an exciting year ahead.


Parents: Please take note of some changes for programs this year!

November 12: Fall Program for all Third Grade

December 3: Christmas Program for all Second Grade

December 10: Christmas Program for all First Grade

March 10: Spring Program for all Fourth Grade

March 17: Spring Program for all Fifth Grade

Because all grades (1-5) are now doing separate programs, this means every student will be eligible for a speaking part in their program!  This means that if your child auditions for a speaking part and is assigned one, he or she absolutely MUST attend the program!  Program attendance will be a part of the music grade this year, so please mark these dates on your calendar!


Fourth and Fifth grade students will begin recorder instruction in October!  Recorders for Fourth graders and any new students will cost $5.


With the Leader in Me program, John Glenn is implementing Wednesday morning clubs this year.  Keep an eye out for more information about a music related club that will be starting up 2nd quarter!


I am very excited to be getting ready for Music Centers for grades K-2!  Each Music Center will tackle a different music skill including Rhythm, Melody, Composing, Music Notation, and Instrument Playing.  Centers will hopefully be ready for the students to use come 2nd Semester, if not sooner!


Thank you, parents, John Glenn staff, and students for supporting music at John Glenn!  We are going to have a spectacular year!  Keep checking the webpage for more updates!

Mrs. Sons

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B A Recorder Rockstar

The John Glenn 4th and 5th graders have been recorder rockstars this semester!  The recorder is a beginning wind instrument that is a wonderful tool for teaching the kids about playing an instrument with proper technique and also reading notated music utilizing what we have learned about the staff, measures, note names, and rhythms.

In 4th grade we had to start from the very beginning, while for the 5th graders it was a lot of review!  We begin with getting an understanding of the proper way to hold the recorder (left hand on top, right hand on bottom) and how to properly cover each hole so that air does not escape (pressing firmly with the flat part of the finger).  We also spend time talking about how to breathe and blow gently into the recorder so as to not make a piercing squeaky sound!

We begin simply learning only the note B.  We played an entire song using only the note B called “Fright of the Blunder B”, which was a take on “The Flight of the Bumblebee” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.  We next moved on to adding the note A and learning to play “B A Rockstar” and “B A Superhero.”  Each of those songs used various rhythms and note types, all the while the students are mastering maneuvering their fingers between B and A.  Lastly we added G.  We learned how to play “Hot Cross Buns”, “Merrily We Roll Along”, and “Gently Sleep.”  Because the first three notes on the recorder we learn on the recorder are B, A, and G, music teachers have adopted the term “the BAG notes.”  It makes it easy for the students to remember that those are the first three notes on the recorder starting from the top.  Fourth grade will continue working on recorders next year, so hang on to those recorders over the summer!

Here are a couple pictures from Mrs. Anderson’s 4th grade recorder class!  In these pictures they are playing “B A Superhero”.  They really enjoyed this song because the accompaniment soundtrack sounded like something from the old Batman movies or The Incredibles!  I enjoyed it because it used new musical terms such as Coda (meaning the tail!)

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Mighty Minds! A musical that makes learning fun!

Spring Greetings from the Music Room!

Last Thursday evening the 4th and 5th grade students presented for their Spring Program a SUPERHERO sized musical!  For the past 2 months we have been learning 6 songs and many lines for Mighty Minds!  This program was a lot of fun to prepare and it was a big hit with the audience!  Each song in this musical was unique and had a different style.  For example, “Conga Math” was a Latin inspired song and “I Wanna Know” had a fun 50’s vibe.  And of course our anthem for the Mighty Minds was a theme worthy of any comic book superhero!  We had 6 Mighty Minds and 6 great 5th grade students who brought each character to life!

Mighty Reading Mind- Taijha Davis-Cogdill (orange cape)

Mighty Math Mind- Jacen Piatt (green cape)

Mighty Spelling Mind- Diana Perez (yellow cape)

Mighty History Mind- Matthew Collier (pink cape)

Mighty Science Mind- Landon Smith (purple cape)

Mighty Music Mind- Natalee Kissler (red cape)


I am immensely proud of these kids for working so hard and putting on a truly entertaining performance!  The spring program is a little bittersweet as it is the 5th graders last program at John Glenn, but I am very proud of the leadership that they have shown and wish them luck with whatever extra curricular activities they choose to do at the Middle School.

Until next time!

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Playing Catch Up!

During November and December, we were in the thick of preparing for Christmas programs (which for me means 4 separate programs between John Glenn, Amazonia and the Middle School!)  So I am playing catch up!  Here are some highlights for the end of 2nd quarter!

Kindergarten- Everyday we continue to work on vocal exploration.  I ask the students to use their voices in unusual ways to get them to understand that their voices can be used for more than speaking!  We made siren sounds, whale sounds, and even elephant sounds!  We used our low voices all the way up to a high voice.  We explore the difference between high and low and loud and soft.  We also met Freddie the Frog and began learning about the notes on the Treble Clef Staff, tempo words, and rhythms!  Of course, we continue to sing songs in unison everyday!  As well as playing unpitched percussion instruments such as drums, triangles, woodblocks and, my favorite, the guiro!

1st grade- The first graders spent most of 2nd quarter learning 7 songs for our Christmas program which was performed on December 8th.  We presented A Silly Holiday Program and sang the following songs: A Silly Holiday Song, I Want to Be an Elf, Reindeer Shouldn’t Waltz, I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas, All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth, Jingle Jam (which was a “no words” song which served as accompaniment for the Hand Jive!), and We Wish You a Merry Christmas (with kazoos).  They did an awesome job and I am so proud of them!

2nd/3rd grade- These kiddos also worked hard on their Christmas program performed on December 4th.  We presented Scenes from Santa’s Workshop and sang the following songs: Santa Claus is on His Way, The Sounds of Santa’s Workshop, Hip Hop Elves, Blitzen’s Boogie, Merry Christmas Bells, Nice, Nice Christmas, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas.  This programed turned out so great and the kids sang and performed wonderfully!  Mrs. Vulgamott and I are extremely proud of those kids!


4th grade- We have begun learning the recorder!  Through playing this instrument we have been working on several fundamental skills of wind instrument playing such as breathing, fingering, and reading music notation.  We have tackled learning the notes B and A.  We will be adding the note G to the mix very soon!  They are making excellent progress and sound pretty awesome!

5th grade- We spent time reading and learning about G.F. Handel, the baroque composer famous for writing the great oratorio, Messiah.  We watched a short film, read through biographies, created a lotus diagram, and listened to several examples of his orchestral works.  We have also been singing, as the 5th grade students always the D.A.R.E. song at their graduation, which was December 15th.  These kids are awesome singers and I can’t wait to get started on our 4th and 5th grade musical coming up in March!  We will be doing recorder for a couple weeks in January and then we will hit the ground running on the program!

Looking forward to more wonderful music making at John Glenn!!!!

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Leaders in Music: J.S. Bach

This month in fifth grade, we started looking at our first Leader in Music.  We spent some time reading and learning about the life of Baroque composer, Johann Sebastian Bach.  We watched a movie depicting a part of Bach’s life, we listened to his music and we read biographies in class.

As a part of the music curriculum, we spend some time learning about influential classical composers.  This marks the first of many projects that the fifth graders will be doing in order to gain an understanding of classical music.  After we read the biographies in class, we created “mock Facebook” profiles to display facts and important information about Bach’s life.  The students took great interest in this project and some of the students’ work is displayed on the bulletin board out side the music room.


Our next Leaders in Music project will be over George Frideric Handel.

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Freddie the Frog

Meet my new teaching companion and the 2nd and 3rd graders’ new pal, Freddie the Frog!


Freddie the Frog lives on Treble Clef Island.  Treble Clef Island is set up like the treble clef staff.  As the students listen to Freddie’s First Adventure, Freddie the Frog and the Thump in the Night, they are introduced to characters and where they are on the staff.  For example, Freddie lives at the top of treble clef island.

treble clef island The story goes on to tell the story of how Freddie meets his best friend, Eli the Elephant, who lives at the bottom of the staff.  But Freddie has to cross Crocodile River and a field of Azaleas to get to Eli’s house.  The boys become fast friends and in order to stay over at each other’s houses, they build “vacation homes” right next door.

This is a fun and easy way for the students to get accustomed to where different notes fall on the treble clef staff.  We have learned so far, 6 notes on the treble clef staff!  But there are more to come in another Freddie Adventure!

thump in the night staff

We also read Freddie’s Third Adventure, Freddie the Frog and the Mysterious Wahooooo.  In this story, Freddie and Eli find themselves on Tempo Island.  There they meet animals that do not speak the same language and they communicate through music!  On Tempo Island, we learned the follow music words.

Tempo– Speed of music

Andante– Walking speed

Allegro– Quick and Lively

Largo– Slow

Presto– Fast

Along with these tempo words, we reviewed rhythms that use quarter notes, quarter rests, eighth notes, and sixteenth notes.  In the story, the animals use the tempo words to set the speed, then birds lay down a rhythm using sticks, the purple elephant starts the beat and the babaloo baboon and the orangutan-tang play the rhythm.

Using inspiration from the stories, the students used popsicle sticks to write rhythms.


Everyday the students look forward to seeing Freddie, hearing about his adventures, and playing music games.  There will be more to come with Freddie…. stay tuned 🙂


Mrs. Vulgamott, Freddie the Frog, and Mrs. Rosier’s 2nd graders

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Welcome to Music at John Glenn!

It’s another exciting year in Music at John Glenn Elementary!  I look forward to getting to know the students and families better here at JG!  For those new families to JG, my name is Mikaela Sons!  This is my second year teaching in the Savannah School District.  I also teach music at Amazonia Elementary and at Savannah Middle School.  I am originally from Nebraska but I came to Missouri to be a Bearcat and I’ve been here ever since!  I love my home state Huskers, but I also love living in Missouri.  My husband works for Northwest Missouri State University as a Police Officer.  We don’t have any children, but we do have a 2 month old beagle puppy named Huck who keeps us on our toes!  Of course, I love  music, but I also enjoy reading, cooking/baking, and finding wonderful ideas to try on Pinterest!  I am so excited to start making music with the wonderful kids here at JG! 

We’ve already had some great music lessons  in the first two weeks of school!  See Music Highlights below to see what we’ve been working on already!

Meet Mrs. Vulgamott!

Mrs. Karen Vulgamott is a traveling music teacher!  Besides John Glenn, she also teaches music at Helena Elementary and Avenue City School.  She has been teaching with Savannah School District for 20 years.  She is a Savannah and Northwest Missouri State University graduate (she loves those BEARCATS!) Her husband is a electrician and they have 2 sons.  They are both married to wonderful girls and she has a 19 month old granddaughter.  Besides music Mrs. Vulgamott also enjoys reading mystery novels and pinterest!  Mrs. Vulgamott will be teaching Mrs. Rosier’s 2nd grade class and Miss Nolan’s 3rd Grade class!  Welcome to John Glenn, Mrs. Vulgamott!

Mrs. Vulgamott and Mrs. Sons

Mrs. Vulgamott and Mrs. Sons

Music Highlights!

Kindergarten– steady beat, beginning singing skills

1st grade– steady beat, singing skills

2nd grade– Steady beat, singing skills (Patriotic songs, singing games)

3rd grade– singing and speech poems (rhythm, tempo)

4th grade– speech poems (rhythm, tempo)

5th grade– speech poems (rhythm, tempo)

Music Program Dates

2nd and 3rd Grade Winter Program– December 4, 2014 @ 7 pm

1st Grade Winter Program– December 8, 2014 @ 7 pm

Check back again for more goings-on in the Music Room!



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