• Additional (OPTIONAL) Activities

    Posted by Aimee Atkinson on 4/22/2020 1:00:00 PM

    Listed here are additional, OPTIONAL, enrichment activities that you can use. Some You are welcome to reach out and ask for clarification or feedback. And you are welcome to go beyond what I am posting and find even more music related activities. Here are some things to get you started (if you want, but don't have to - optional).

    Music Theory Worksheets

    7th/8th Gr. 4/27-5/1

    6th Gr. 4/27 - 5/1

     Counting Rhythms Chart

    Treble Clef Notes

    Music Theory Websites and Resources

    Music Theory Lessons and Exercises

    Khan Academy - Music Basics


    Videos and Such

    JW Pepper Choral Interviews

    Music History Blogs and Videos



    I will continue to post OPTIONAL and non-graded enrichment opportunities for you. Remember everyone that there is no need to add Choir Assignemnts to your list of things to stress and argue over. Your emotional health matters more to  me righ tnow than all the content out there!

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  • What do we Need From Music Right Now? Songs to Ignite

    Posted by Aimee Atkinson on 4/10/2020 10:20:00 AM

    Sometimes, we need to ignite our feelings. I know that to feel is to be alive!  I've shared three different songs for you all to listen to as a family (or alone) that I hope will ignite your feelings - whatever they may be.

    Engaging our feelings and not stiffling them are so important. Music is a great conduit to feel. Use music in your everday lives to feel whatever you are needing to process and work through. I've been doing this through music at home and here are a few songs I've been using to work through my own thoughts and feelings. Please reach out if you have any questions or want additonal resources. I'm always happy to be a part of your msuical journey. 

    Elijah Rock - Moses Hogan

    This is one tough song! And when I listen to it, something happens in my core: I get ignited by the difficulty of the score as well as the pulse and urgency that the singers bring to this arrangement. This is one of my favorite songs I have sung in a choir. And it is one of the hardest songs I have conducted. The reason that it is so hard and challenging (and rewarding) is because the score asks everyone to stay in a place of urgency. Notice that there isn't a time in the song where we get a "break" as a listener.  This is hard for any of us to do, and when you are singing (how many times have you heard this from me??) it is so difficult to not go on "auto-pilot". This song ignites my passion and feeds my urgency. Enjoy!!


    Down in the River - traditional

    Being ignited by music isn't always about urgency or fire! I mean, you know I love a good "barn burner" (fast fast, urgent song) but we also need our softer side to be ignited. Sometimes, just sometimes, we need to breathe and remember to engage our Calm. This is a beautiful traditional song with an unknown origin. Some say it was an African American Slave song based on the Old Testement of the Bible, others say it is based off of an Appalachian Folk Song. Wherever the song from, the idea of voices being joined together one by one in a prcession (of any kind) is heart warming. And I could use the idea of people coming together and moarching toward soemthing as one.  


    Crocodile Rock - Elton John and the Muppets

    Who says we can't get ignited to have fun??? Sometimes we just need a little push to smile. And friends, I've got you! This video is it! Elton John and the Muppets singing Crocodile Rock!!  If this song doesn't ignite some singing, dancing, and smiles in your house, let me know!   

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  • What do we Need From Music Right Now? Songs to Inspire

    Posted by Aimee Atkinson on 3/31/2020 6:00:00 AM

    I have been having conversations with so many poeple lately about the role of music and music education at this time in our lives. This has been on my mind for weeks now (oh, who are we kidding, I've built my whole career on this very question) and I've come up with a couple of ideas that are true for me about the role of music in our lives right now.

    Through a series of posts here in Music Resources, I would like to talk about What We Need From Music Right Now. It is my intention that this can be a starting point to talk together; in families, with friends, across the internet, and in your own heart.  If we don't lean into music now, when will we lean into it? And if we've been growing through music when times are easier, why would we stop now, when we need it most?


    Baba Yetu - Angel City Choir

    I found this BEAUTIFUL performance of Baba Yetu by a community choir in Los Angeles. As soon as the video started, I was caught up in their energy and dedication to tell a story. I find this performance so inspiring. The joy these performers have spreads into my heart and I find myslef thinkng about other things that bring me joy. These performers work hard at singing well and the performance isn't just smiles and hand motions. These adult singers are singing well and know their craft. When they "Honor the Ink" AND enjoy sharing their music, the result is this beautiful peformance. I hope this song makes you smile! Enjoy!

    The Ground - Central Washington University

    The Ground is a piece of music I have known for years. I have had the priviledge to sing this piece, conduct it, and watch other performances; each time I come in contact with this song, I learn something. Something about myself, something about music or conducting, something about the world around me. This is one of those pieces that just stays with you and continues to grow with you. Isn't is amazing how music does that? The Ground inspires me to grow, learn, lean into change, and remember that "All Will Be Well". Inspiration can come from any opportunity we invite into our hearts. 

    All Will Be Well - Gabe Dixon Band

    Alright ya'll - this is not a choir. I know, surprising but I don't actually ONLY listen to choral music! This group, The Gabe Dixon Band is one of my all time favorite groups (the title of this song is hanging in our choir room above the computer at the front of the classroom). This song, All Will Be Well, inspires me to take a breath, smile, and remember that everything will work out. When I do my part (work hard, be kind, and breathe), everything works out for good. And it is through this song that I was inspired to do my part in the world. Something beautiful happens when we remember to do our part (work hard, be kind, and breathe).  This is where the magic happens - this is where we get inspired! 

    Music has the power to inspire us. And why do we need inspiration? It helps us to grow and learn; inspiration motivates us to get through the hard parts of life. Inspiration is at the core of creativity, community, beauty, and communication with others. Inspiration gives us the little nudge we need to move forward and to continue on our life journey.  I hope that you all have music that inspires you. And I hope that you will share that music with those around you. Talk with each other and learn about what songs inspire you.  Listen to music, inquire about the music and talk to each other about what the music brings to your mind (and heart). Thank you all for being on this journey, I know we can isnpire each other in the days and weeks to come. 

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    Posted by Aimee Atkinson on 3/30/2020 10:00:00 AM

    Hello Choir Families!

    Here are all the links to all of the songs and dances we chose for our Pops Concert. No, I do not know if we will have the concert. No, I do not know if we will be back in school. Yes, I do think that practicing and singing and dancing is a good idea. Yes, I do believe in the power of movement and song to help the world. Yes, these resources are completely optional (but if you have acces to the internet, why not spend a little time each day singing and dancing?). 


    Dance Evolution - song and words

    Brave - Video

    Brave - Choir Track


     8th Grade Treble Clef Choir


    You Don't know You're Beautiful


    7th and 8th Grade Bass Clef Choir

    I Get Around

    A Little Less Conversation


    7th Grade Treble Clef Choir


    Crazy Little Thing Called Love


    6th Grade Choir

    Somebody to Love

    Feel Good (Ladies)

    A Little Less OCnversation (Gentlemen) - click the link under Bass Clef Choir. ALL guys will do this song together. 

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  • Using the CLaS Rubric

    Posted by Aimee Atkinson on 3/23/2020 8:30:00 AM

    Hello All - I am attaching the rubrics that the 7th and 8th grade choir studnts have been using this year (especially the last few weeks) to assess choirs. We have used these rubrics to assess ourselves, videos of choirs, and learned so much about singing in an ensemble while talking through the rubric!  As of right now, I am posting these rubrics as a means to listen to choral music.


    How this works: Listen to a choir (probably online, am I right??) and while listening to the performance, circle the number that you think applies to thier performance in every criteria area. These criteria areas are the pillars of group singing and the choir needs to be evaluated in each area. Then, if you have any comments, questions, concerns, or ideas, write them down in the comment area.  

    I have been uploading our concerts from the past few years up on the website under Performance Library. You are welcome to use these performances to begin using the rubrics. But make sure you're not grading different choirs on the same rubric (that wouldn't be fair). I'll also be putting up other choirs that I want you to experience in the Performance Library as well - maybe other MS Choirs, or maybe amazing HS choirs, even College choirs and beyond. The more we listen to, the more our knowledge grows. 

    I am also attaching the original Rubric (Choral Literacies and Skills) made by Dr. Geoffrey Boers at the Universtoty of Washington. It can be a bit overwhelming BUT if you want to take a look at it, you'll notice it is familiar. It has been up in the classroom all year!  Of course if you have questions or need clarifications, send me an email!  Enjoy!


    Level 1 is for beginning choirs. Any age group can be a beginning choir. Think of this as usually a group of people who haven't sung in a choir very much before. They are JUST learning how to sing in a group with healthy vocal habits. I have been using Level 1 techniques and grading with the 6th grade choirs. And ya'll have been rocking it!

    Level 1 Rubric

    Level 2 is for groups of singers who are "Emerging"; this means that the choir is maxing out their Level 1 Rubric and is diving deeper into singing techniques. I have been using this rubric for the 7th grade choir. 

    Level 2 Rubric

    Level 3 is for Advanced Middle School Choirs, Emerging High School Choirs, or Choirs with vocalists who have been singing for a few years and have the foundation to start taking on more difficult literature, techniques, and part singing. The VMS Choirs dip thier toes in Level 3. It isn't unheard of to have our choirs be graded at a Level 3 but it isn't necessarily where we "live", if that makes sense. 

    Level 3 Rubric

    Choral Literacies and Skills Sheets: These are the original documents created by Dr. Boers. The Rubrics above are modifications I have made to make these concepts and grading practices more accessible to students. 

    CLaS Level 1 and 2

    CLaS Level 2 and 3

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  • The Idea.

    Posted by Aimee Atkinson on 3/21/2020 10:00:00 AM

    Hello Music Tribe - 

    The idea here is that I want to keep our music community alive and thriving in these uncertain times. I decided to start this outlet as a way to reach out to you all, to provide resources for music, and to keep our tribe connected. 

    Of course everything on the website is optional and will not be graded (who needs anything graded right now??!). Can this outlet be as simple as musical and self exploration? YES!!  I've had students reach out to me about music opening up conversations with thier families and friends during this time and honestly, I can't think of anything more comforting.  

    Here are the songs and links that I sent out last week. I encourage you to listen to these songs more than once and with your Tribe; have a conversation and ask each other what comes to mind. If you aren't wanting to be verbal quite yet or are having a hard time processing your thoughts, draw as you llisten to this music. Notice what colors you use and what shapes, ideas, and pictures manifest as you listen. 

    This song is a powerful conversation with a power beyond our understanding and our human journey through doubt, faith, and trust. I happened to perform this song for the first time when my mother was ill and it has brought me comfort since then. 
    This song "Praise His Holy Name" is such a joyful and awe-inspiring piece. For me, the song brings a smile to my face for the simple reason that it is hard to NOT hear the smiles in the singers voices. The song spreads joy, smiles, and toe tapping. I know the text can be controversial (it is an African American Gospel song with Christian text) but honestly, the song is so fun and uplifting, I can't help but share it. I hope no matter your spiritual path you can hear the smiles in the voices!
    Eric Whitacre is one of the most influential choral composers today. And he revolutionized choral music again with this virtual choir. Enjoy the beauty and be inspired at how music is not stopped by isolation. We will continue to make music - always. 
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