Our CBC Music Class Challenge Entries!

We are officially entered into the CBC Music Class Challenge!

We have three entries in the Primary Vocal competition.

1. Divisions 17, 18 and 19 singing “Small But Mighty”
2. Divisions 14, 15, and 16 singing “Hey Dum Diddly”
3. Divisions 10, 11, 12 and 13 singing “Ode’min Giizis” (Strawberry Moon)

Check those out here on the Primary Vocal Playlist along with the other entries from across Canada.

And we have one entry in the Elementary Vocal competition with our Grade 5 and 6 students from Divisions 4, 5 and 6 performing “Sandwiches”. Check that playlist here.

I’ll update this blog as we hear more information about how our videos are doing in this competition.

November in the Music Room

We are well into the school year now, and rolling along with music activities for the children of Armstrong Elementary. Here is what will be happening in music class this month!

Covid Protocols

The covid protocols are still be enforced in the music room. Everyone must wear a mask properly, or be 2 meters apart from their classmates. We spread as far apart as possible in the music room. There are plenty of wipes around the room for kids to clean the materials and instruments they use. The windows remain open all day for air circulation. And there are markings no the floor to keep kids apart in line ups and as they walk in and out of the music room.

The Activities

The Kindergartens are starting to read rhythm notation and being introduced to the non-pitched percussion instruments. They are still learning classroom routines couched in the fun songs we do in class. (train songs are being used to teach walking in lines and lining up). We are learning to use a proper singing voice, match pitches and sing independently.
The CBC Music Challenge deadline is coming up on November 23rd, so Divisions 17, 18 and 19 are working on their song “Small But Mighty” and will perform their video soon.

The primary students are also entering the CBC Music Challenge singing “Hey Dum Diddly Dum” for Divisions 14, 15, and 16 and Ode’min Giizis for Divisions 10, 11, 12 and 13. They are continuing to refine their performances.
The grade ones will be using the non-pitched percussion instruments as well and reading rhythms. They will also be studying the Elements of Music. These include Tempo, Dynamics, Pitch, Articulation, Form, Timbre and Texture. These lessons will be written lessons and also couched in listening excerpts from Peter and the Wolf. We will also play games to do with these concepts.

Divisions 7, 8 and 9 will be beginning “Recorder Heroes” for this year. They will each need a German Soprano recorder. Those can be purchased through School Cash Online for $10. They will learn songs and how to read music notation and earn points as they do so. As they go, they will earn prizes and privileges in music for the points they earn. See the grade 4/5 tab for more information and a song list!

Divisions 4, 5 and 6 are still working on their CBC Music Class Challenge song – “Sandwiches” made famous by Fred Penner. We have divided up the parts and will put together a performance to submit by November 23rd.

Divisions 1, 2 and 3 are playing some instruments and learning music notation – focussing mostly on rhythms.

And that is November in the Music Room at Armstrong!

Drama and Music!

This school year I began with drama activities. Drama is a great way to get for classes to bond and for me to get to know the students. We have a lot of fun with drama activities – we get active and we get creative! The kids are learning to think on their feet, react quickly, focus their attention, listen to each other and try new things.

After those fun games and activities the classes were tasked with finding a social problem here at Armstrong that we can tackle through role-play. The classes are creating scripts and skits to solve these problems and teach other classes to solve these problems we are having in the classrooms, hallways and outside at recess with our school-mates and friends. Then the class will create a video. I will put those videos together and the school will view the video so the classes can teach each other better strategies of communication and respect. The kids are having fun acting out the scenarios and finding ways of solving common problems they face daily.

After that music activities will begin!

The oldest children will learn the guitar right away this school year so we can use the guitar in later year activities and composition projects.

The grade ones to the grade 5/6 class will work on songs for the CBC Music Class Challenge! Here is a link to that page so you can read more about this annual challenge!

The Kindergartens are still acclimatizing to school and music room routines, and will continue to do so this Fall.

Here is a video about why we are wearing masks in school, and especially in music class. Hopefully it will answer some questions about why I am asking the kids to wear their masks and wear them properly during music class: COVID-19 & Mask Myths DEBUNKED

September 2021 – Start Up Time!

Hello Armstrong community! Welcome back to the music page of Armstrong Elementary!

We are starting up in a Covid year yet again. There are certain protocols in place in music class this year to keep your children safe. As you know, children under 12 are ineligible to be vaccinated, and I am very aware of this. We also know that the unvaccinated are the most at risk of becoming extremely ill right now. So, I am taking precautions to keep your child safe.

That being said, the protocols are slightly different from last year.

It is now known that Covid is not transmitted through the touching of surfaces. Therefore, the music room does not need to be cleaned/sanitized between classes. We are allowed to use a carpet area again on which to sit and shared supplies are okay.

The new evidence also tells us that Covid is transmitted through droplets and aerosol particles. Music is a place where we can produce more aerosol particles than other areas of the school through singing and using wind instruments. So, the directive is that we can sing as long as we are wearing masks and spaced apart. I would then ask that every child come with a mask on music days to wear so we are able to do some singing. I will be doing recorder again with grade 4 and 5 students, and using the protocols we did last year – windows and doors open, limited playing inside and mostly playing outside. That seemed to work well to keep us safe last school year.

It was sure great to see all of your children’s faces this week and welcome back returning students. I also had the pleasure of meeting our students new to Armstrong this year. May it be a school year filled with joy and hope. And through music, we can continue to celebrate and “fill our buckets”. 🙂


So, I want to wish everyone in our school community a happy summer. It has started with a bang – a heatwave bang. “Yes Summer! We notice that you are here!”

I’m disappointed that our year end plans had to change. I wasn’t able to give Division 9 Legends their prize of a video in music class. Our grade sevens didn’t get their year end celebratory picnic. Ms. Ford and Division 10 and I didn’t finish the music wall in the outdoor learning space.

But, we did get through this Covid school year and everyone in our community seemed to stay safe. That is all we can hope for.

Hopefully next year we can do more of our extracurricular activities, assemblies, concerts, shows, choir, dance club, festivals, performances and Primary Days of Music.

Have a lovely summer and see you in September!

Love, Ms. Karlson

A Musical June!

Hi Armstrong Community!

We have some wonderful things happening in music this June! A very fun way to end this school year!

Division 10, Ms. Ford and Mr. Smith are helping me build the music wall for our outdoor learning space! Construction is currently underway! If you have anything that could be used on our music wall, we would appreciate some more donations.

The next Talent Show is coming up on June 23rd in the afternoon. I’m currently taking submission videos for the Talent Show. The cut off date to submit a video is on June 16th. You can email me your video at sonja.karlson@burnabyschools.ca or sonjakmusic12@gmail.com or you could have your child bring in their video on a USB device or send it via dropbox, google drive or youtube. I will be uploading the videos onto our Armstrong Music YouTube channel, so make sure you are comfortable with your videos living on YouTube after you take them!

The grade seven band will give us a concert on June 10th! They will perform outside and classes will watch through their classroom windows.

And the students of Armstrong are watching a Motown singer named Krystal Dos Santos. We have a live Question and Answer session with her on June 22nd.

And, of course, each grade group is learning a lot in music. Click on the links above to find out the activities for your grade group.

May is Blooming – A Concert!

Hello Armstrong Community!

We have a concert coming up! And, of course, because of the pandemic, it is a virtual concert.

The kids are attending school and working hard on all sorts of projects. It may not be a typical year, but they are involved in many new activities and many creative endeavours. The teachers as well are often reinventing the way they teach and coming up with all sorts of new activities or modified activities that fit in with our covid protocols. But, they are still involved in music, dance, drama and lots of visual arts.

So, this year we are focusing on those activities and what they are and have been doing in the arts in their classes.

The concert will be on May 19th. It will be streamed on Zoom for the school in the afternoon and available online for parents to watch at home. The whole student population will be involved! Even through a pandemic, Armstrong knows how to come together and celebrate the joy of learning! I hope you will “attend” and enjoy our first virtual concert on May the 19th.

April Music Time!

Hi everyone!

I hope our school community had a nice Spring Break! I certainly did!

We will shift units again now after the break, though most groups are finishing up work from March. Here is where we stand in music classes at Armstrong:

Divisions 2, 3 and 5 are finishing guitar work by learning the theory behind what they were playing. Mostly we were playing chords on the guitar. Chords are made up of three pitches and there are specific formulas to find the 3 pitches of a major chord and 3 pitches of a minor chord.
After we finish that up, these groups will be staring the Evolution Project. This project is to research the evolution of an artist, a genre of music, an instrument or some technology around music. They will create a timeline and then a powerpoint presentation to share with the class.

Division 4 is finishing up their Evolution Projects and then they are the next learning group to use the guitars and learn about chords.

Division 6 will be working on a piece using a variety of instruments for the upcoming virtual concert in May.

Divisions 7, 8, 9 and 10 are finishing up the Black History Month research about Black musicians. After that is finished, they will be starting recorders and xylophones. Please see their grade page for the protocols we will follow around using these instruments.

Division 11 will be using the djembe drums this term.

Divisions 12 and 13 are doing a dance unit.

Divisions 14, 15 and 16 are continuing to explore Laban’s Eight Efforts of movement for dance and music articulation.

Divisions 17, 18 and 19 are finishing up work on the xylophones to explore the concepts of high and low and to play a simple melody on the xylophones. Then they will be learning about the other percussion instruments in the music room.

We are set to have a lot of fun in music this month!

March in Music

As we wind our way towards Spring Break, we are finishing up units in music class.

Divisions 2, 3 and 5 are still playing the guitars and learning about chords (harmony) in music. They are learning to hear the chord changes in the background music of the songs we are playing in class and to tune in to those changes in harmony. We are still learning the basic chords on guitar, and some kids are even taking up the challenge of learning chords on keyboard or learning simple drum patterns and playing along that way! Altogether, we will play through the songs on the grade 6/7 page playlist and have a fun time with more complex and modern music in class. Ms. Karlson encourages the members of these divisions to come to music with a positive attitude and to put a good amount of effort into learning these instruments. It is more fun if you approach playing songs with a good, strong, can-do attitude.

Division 4 is finishing up their “Evolution Projects” and presenting their findings to the class through March.

Divisions 6-10 are finishing up research on various Black Musical Artists and they will also share what they have learned about these amazing contributors to modern popular music with their individual classes.

Division 11 is learning a line dance in music class through March. A video of their dance will be shared at the next online assembly.

Divisions 12 and 13 are learning djembe drumming. They will be creating rhythm patterns, songs and improvising on drums until Spring Break.

Divisions 14, 15, 16 and 17 are continuing to learn about dance, movement and articulation this month.

Divisions 17, 18 and 19 are continuing to explore high and low pitches and are working on the xylophones now. They are starting to learn to read 2 pitches on staff lines and then play them on their xylophones! They can read music! Division 16 is reading music as well! The kindergarten classes are also doing some creative and developmental movement and working on reading and playing rhythms too.

Black History Month

February is black history month, and some of the classes will be studying black composers and artists.

Divisions 6-10 have been studying classical composers. They are now researching a modern black artist or composer to find out about their lives and what influenced them in music, and how they influenced and developed the popular music that is being produced today.

Division 4 is doing a project called “The Evolution Project”. They are researching the evolution of an artist, a genre of music, an instrument or technology around music. Many students have chosen an artist, and black artists at that!

The other grade 6/7 classes are continuing to learn guitar.

The grade 2/3s are looking into their personal heritage and bringing in songs from their ancestral culture. We are listening to those songs and experience a wide diversity of cultures and celebrations through music.

The grade ones are learning to move their bodies in various locomotor and non-locomotor ways. We are composing movement pieces to music and then we will be again looking at rhythms through improvisation and a speech piece.

The Kindergartens are also moving to music through improvisation, creative movement and locomotor movements. They are learning to use their inner hearing and also continuing with rhythmic reading. I am introducing them to the concepts of high and low, and we will be playing the xylophones this month to solidify that concept.

To see our January Talent Show, click on the Talent Show tab above and enjoy watching our playlist on YouTube!