Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Holidays!

I want to wish all of my music students and their families a wonderful holiday season!
I hope you all enjoy your winter break!
I'll see you in 2012!

Monday, December 19, 2011


Wonderful job singing your hearts out, Davis Thayer 4th and 5th Graders!
You did a fine job at the Winter Concert this afternoon!
I'll see you all tomorrow!
Mr. Barrett

DT Winter Concert TODAY!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Sing-Along!

If you are looking for something fun to do this Tuesday afternoon,
Please stop by the Franklin Public Library for some Holiday fun!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Quartet of Happiness

The Jefferson students were treated to a wonderful cultural enrichment show this morning!
The Quartet of Happiness performed and really entertained staff and students! 
Check out both their website and YouTube video below!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Davis Thayer Winter Concert!


To the Jefferson 4th and 5th Graders on a WONDERFUL Winter Concert yesterday!


To the Davis Thayer 4th and 5th Graders on WONDERFUL Dress Rehearsal today!

We sang for all of the students and staff at DT this afternoon!

Looking forward to Monday's Winter Concert at Davis Thayer Elementary!!!

Davis Thayer Dress Rehearsal!

Today. the 4th and 5th Grade Choruses will perform for Grades K-3.
We're looking forward to singing for the rest of the school!

***The concert for the parents will be next Monday, December 19th, at 1:45 p.m.!***

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Concert Change

The date of the Jefferson Winter Concert has been changed...
 From 12/19/11 to 12/12/11 (THIS Monday!)
Remington/Jefferson Cafetorium
9:00-9:30 a.m.

Happy 146th Birthday, Jean Sibelius!

Happy Birthday to one of my favorite "classical" composers, Jean Sibelius!
If he was still alive, Sibelius would be 146 years old today!

Here is a video of one of my favorite pieces by Sibelius:

Musical Guest

We had Tim Bradshaw, who plays with David Gray (and formerly with John Mayer)
stop by the Music Room at Davis Thayer recently to jam in his son's Music Class!

Tim has also shared the stage with Eric Clapton, amongst others...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Great Singing!

So happy with yesterday's 4th and 5th Grade Chorus rehearsals at both schools!

I'm really looking forward to the concerts at both schools in a few weeks!

Way to go, 4th and 5th grade students! I'm very proud of all of you!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Winter Concert

4th & 5th Grade Chorus
December 19th, 2011

Jefferson Concert
9:00 a.m.

Davis Thayer Concert
1:00 p.m.

More details to follow...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Looking forward...

to seeing all of my students this week! 
Feels like forever since I last saw you!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Performance at Forge Park

Jefferson Student Council did a great job singing for the seniors at
Forge Hill Assisted Living Center in Franklin, MA.

Very proud of their performance today!

So great to see my classes at DT today!

Finally got to see my general music classes at DT!
We missed the last two Tuesdays due to weather and PDD!
4th graders FINALLY got to begin playing the recorders!
2nd graders explored form through this classic tune:

Bruce Springsteen's version of "Old Dan Tucker!"

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Recorder Heaven...

A few years ago, my 4th grade students and I performed an arrangement I had made
of the rock classic song, "Stairway To Heaven," by the rock band Led Zeppelin.

I just learned that the album that that song is from, Led Zeppelin IV, is 40 years old today!

On that particular song, written by guitarist Jimmy Page and singer Robert Plant,
multi-instrumentalist John Paul Jones, typically the band's bass player and keyboardist,
arranged and performed all the recorder parts that can be heard in the intro to the song!

Please have a listen, and try to identify not only the recorder, but all four parts!

A Great Day at JFK!

I had a great PDD at JFK Elementary School in Blackstone, MA!
Observed Erik James' music classes and really enjoyed the experience!
Huge thanks to Erik James, as well as principal Carol Brown, for having me!

D.T. Daze...

Second week of missing my General Music classes at Davis Thayer!
Can't wait to catch up (and get caught up) with them next week!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Give Me The Banjo

Who knew?

The banjo was the Instrument of the Week...

And then it was featured last night on PBS!!!

Too cool...

And here's the link to the entire program:


And have a great weekend!

Mr. Barrett ;-)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Instrument of the Week!

It's not a guitar! It's not a violin, either!

It's a BANJO!

Here are some of my favorite songs that feature this instrument:

Pete Seeger's "The Foolish Frog"

And Pete Seeger's "Abiyoyo!"

Earl Scruggs!

Taylor Swift's "Mean"

Three great banjo players!
(Steve Martin, Tony Trishka, & Béla Fleck)

Béla Fleck & The Flecktones!

Béla Fleck with his banjo on Sesame Street!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

No school (again) today...

But we'll be back to school tomorrow (thankfully!)!

So sorry to miss all of my DT students this week!

Pick-A-Little, Talk-A-Little

We had fun exploring Partner Songs as part of our unit on Harmony in 4th grade,
and focusing on this song (from The Music Man) in particular:


Monday, October 31, 2011

Spooky Sounds!

'Tis the season for spooky sounds and music, and the lessons this week
have focused on great pieces of mysterious music for moving with
and spooky songs for singing and playing along with, such as:

"Skin 'n' Bones"

This song gives us an opportunity to learn about expression in music!
It is a favorite of mine and this is my version of this classic song:

"In The Hall of the Mountain King"

This is an exciting peice of music that starts off very softly and slowly,
and then begins to build in tempo (speed) and dynamics (volume)!

Here are a few other favorites of mine that we didn't see in school,
but I thought you might like to check them out! Pretty spooky!

"Danse Macabre"

"A Night On Bald Mountain"

Have a spooktacular Hallowe'en!
(Despite the weather... Grrr...)

Mr. Barrett ;-)


The snow this past weekend caused a lot of problems, besides just snow.
Apparently, there were damaged trees and downed wires, too.
There is no school today (Hallowe'en) or tomorrow.
So sad to miss my choruses and DT classes.
Hope everyone stays safe and warm.
Sincerely yours, Mr. Barrett

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Let It Snow!

The weather this weekend was pretty wild, to say the least,
and I just couldn't stop myself from singing this song:

Still, I thought we might have a few more months of fall
before we started to see any of the white stuff! ;-)

Saturday, October 29, 2011


It's a very exciting week ahead as our 4th grade students prepare to tackle the recorder!

This year, we will be using the Recorder Karate method,
which we have been using very successfully for the past few years.
Here is a link for further information about this approach:

As always, let me know if you have any questions or concerns...

Mr. Barrett ;-)

Instrument of the Week!

No, this is not a keyboard... ;-)

It's a Melodica!

I enjoyed surprising the students with it this week
as I greeted them outside of the Music Room
(as I do each week with a different instrument!)
to begin our week's Music Class together!

Here are some places where the melodica has surfaced:

The band The Hooters are named for the nickname of the instrument!
(Yes, a Melodica is called a Hooter!)
Here is one of their many songs that features a Melodica:

Jack Johnson's song, "If I Could," features the melodica!

"Money Changes Everything" was a hit for Cyndi Lauper in the 80s,
and it also features the Melodica in the solo section (at 3:07)!

Even American Idol contestants have enjoyed playing them!
Here's Casey Abrams at his Austin Audition last year:

And lastly...

Here are many Melodicas as performed by one player
(a la Mike Tompkins!) for Bach's Orchestral Suite #1:

The performer's name is James Howard Young.
Here he is performing another selection by Bach:

Hope you enjoyed the Melodica this week in music!
Please share where you might have heard it before!

Virtual Choir

A parent shared this with me recently! It's pretty amazing!

What did you think of it? What are your thoughts about it?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Instrument of the Week!

The featured instrument this week is the clarinet!

I enjoyed greeting my classes this week with my clarinet!

The story goes that I saw an instrument demo at school in the 3rd grade and left really wanting to play the clarinet. The problem was that you had to be in the 4th grade to play an instrument. So, my parents purchased one for me and I took private lessons for a year (with Ruth Ann King), and then I received lessons through my school (with Bob Spargo).

Here's a true master of the instrument, Benny Goodman:

That incredible performance gives me goosebumps!  

Here's Sharon Kam in Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A:

And I just love this Artie Shaw classic from Second Chorus:

And how about The Beatles using clarinets in "When I'm 64?"


Can you find the clarinets in this really cool flash mob?

And last but certainly not least... a carro-net?!?!?

I had so much fun tweaking the music lessons this week!

Mr. Barrett ☺


What a busy, but fun, week of school!

I love my job!

I am so thankful to be your music teacher!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Looking forward...

to another busy but exciting Monday! Music classes and 4th and 5th grade choruses at Jefferson Elementary School and then at Davis Thayer Elementary School, and then an evening of guitar lessons through the Lifelong Learning Program at Franklin High School!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Yes! Finally!

I've been asking for years and we finally got an Interactive White Board
for the Music Room at Jefferson Elementary School!!! 
Looking forward to seeing all that is possible with this 
and how it can enhance (but not take over!) our music lessons! 
I am ALL about technology, but I know it is only part of the picture...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tubular Bells

Another classic piece that features a glockenspiel, Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells."

Listen for the glockenspiel in this hypnotic piece!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Instrument of the Week!

(Hint: It is NOT the xylophone!)

It's the Glockenspiel!

What's the difference? Huge difference! Xylophones have wooden bars, 
while Metallophones (i.e. Glockenspiels, Bells, etc.) have metal bars.

I enjoyed greeting my classes with this instrument today and singing our "Hello" song,
as well as some other fun (and unexpected!) songs before entering the classroom!

Kids get to play a glissando on the Glockenspiel at the end of music class this week,
and they can look forward to playing them in our Orffestras later on in the year!

Here are some songs and pieces that feature the glockenspiel:

Can you hear it come in? (Hint: about 5 seconds in...)

This one starts only a few seconds in, too... can't miss it!

This song is a personal favorite of Mr. Barrett's!
It's an exciting song by the Canadian trio, Rush!
They used the glockenspiel in a lot of their songs!
Listen for it to enter in (albeit quietly) @ 1:28!

This is what 3rd graders heard in their music lesson today:

Do you hear a glockenspiel (metallophone)?
Or... is it a (marimba) xylophone?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Let There Be DRUMS!!!

The students at Davis Thayer really seemed to enjoy my drum set being at school today!
In fact, even some of the teachers got in on the fun!

Drum Duel!

I think Buddy Rich has a drum set like mine (or vice versa!)!

Monday, October 10, 2011

What a weekend!!!

I just enjoyed a gorgeous, sunny, summer-like, 3-day autumn weekend with my family! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, as well! I now feel recharged and ready to bring you the very best in our Music Classes together this week! Looking forward to seeing you all!

Mr. Barrett ;-)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Music Class Rules!

A lot of students have asked me to post this, so... here it is!

Face forward eyes ahead
Our time together will quickly pass
So pay attention to what is said

And get ready for music there's lots to learn
Songs to sing and pages to turn
Our Jefferson is the finest of schools
Because we remember... the Music Class Rules!

SIT CORRECTLY in your chair
With both feet on the floor
Leaning forward just a hair
Will give us what we're looking for

And get ready for music there's lots to learn
Songs to sing and pages to turn
Our Jefferson is the finest of schools
Because we remember... the Music Class Rules!

SING NICELY but make it strong
And use a pleasant sounding voice
We can do this right or wrong
It's our choice!

So get ready for music there's lots to learn
Songs to sing and pages to turn
Our Jefferson is the finest of schools
Because we remember... the Music Class Rules!

You've got to RAISE YOUR HAND
When you have something to say
And if you don't understand
Well raise it up and I'll look your way

And any objects that you hold
Try and do this by yourself
So that you won't have to be told

And get ready for music there's lots to learn
Songs to sing and pages to turn
Our Jefferson is the finest of schools
Because we remember... the Music Class Rules!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Take it with you...

The students in my music classes have been hearing me say "take it with you" lately. It has become one of my many mantras. "Don't leave it lying on the music room floor" is another one. I ask the students to apply what we have learned in music class to their own lives and their own music outside of school. I might share a particular song or a piece of music with them in class to help teach a musical concept, but I then want them to take it and see how it connects to the music they enjoy and like to listen to. It's all about making it real for them.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Instrument of the Week!

I like to greet my classes each week with a song before they enter the classroom... 
and not always with my guitar! This week it's my ukulele:

For more information about this instrument, please check out the link below:

To hear one of the masters of the instrument, please check out this video:

That's Jake Shimabukuro performing George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."

Most kids know of this instrument through Train's "Hey, Soul Sister:"

Have you heard the ukulele anywhere else? Let me know!

(We'll spare each other Tiny Tim's "Tiptoe Through The Tulips," though... ;-)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Don't Laugh At Me

The students at Davis Thayer were treated to a wonderful No Bullying assembly today.
I adapted my lessons to include this song, which is sort of an unofficial theme song.

Monday, October 3, 2011


What an amazing day with my 4th and 5th grade choruses at BOTH Jefferson and Davis Thayer Elementary Schools! After only two official rehearsals, they sound incredible! They really do! I only wish I had recorded all four groups today! I will try to do that for next time! Way to go, kids! You've inspired me! I only hope you've inspired yourselves!


I just love what this music teacher does with his chorus! 
An inspiration to his students... and the rest of the world!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Looking forward...

to inspiring my students to be all that they can be through music... this week... this year!

Rockin' Robin

My students enjoyed singing and moving to this song in Music Class this past week!
We also enjoyed seeing this old classic clip of the King of Pop himself!

Harvest Festival!

So great to see so many friendly faces at the Franklin Harvest Festival this afternoon!
Thanks so much for stopping by and singing along with me!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Another One-Man Show!

I had the extreme pleasure of witnessing Bobby McFerrin (opening for the great and highly unconventional jazz guitarist, Stanley Jordan) out in Los Angeles, CA. It was the very first concert (of many!) that I attended after moving out to Hollywood to study at Musician's Institute and it blew me away! Bobby took the stage with just a microphone and proceeded to "WOW!" me and the rest of the audience with his unbelievably amazing vocal ability!

You might've heard...

that I've begun assigning homework to my students... that's partly true! I often ask my students to take what we've learned, discussed, explored in the Music Room and apply it to their lives, their "world," outside of school... as an "unofficial homework assignment!"

Friday, September 30, 2011

Ella Fitzgerald

"With a voice like Ella's ringing out there's no way the band can lose." -Stevie Wonder

Fall Newsletter

Welcome back to a great new year in music! This year, my newsletters will be here online at Music With Mr. Barrett. For anyone who is not able to access this newsletter, I will be happy to print out and send home a copy of it with your child(ren). I'm trying to become more tech savvy, and I'd also like to save a few trees, as well. ;-)

All of the students at Jefferson Elementary School (and students in grades 2, 4 and 5 at Davis Thayer Elementary School) have been reviewing the Music Class Rules (through the song of the same name!): 1) Listen Quietly, 2) Sit Correctly, 3) Sing Nicely, 4) Raise Your Hand, and 5) Keep Your Hands And Feet To Yourself. The students know that in order to have a great musical experience in music each week, everyone needs to respect the rules, the teacher, and each other. We need everyone to think of themselves as part of a team where we're only going to be great if everyone is focused on the task at hand and trying and giving their very best.

All of the students have been focusing on the musical concept of beat in the basement of our Music House so that we will have a strong foundation for the rest of the floors (rhythm, melody, harmony and form, as well as a few others). The students have also been singing a lot of fun songs in (and out) of class (I typically hold a lot of sing-alongs outside of the Music Room!)! Kindergarten and first grade students will soon be using non-pitched percussion in some of their music lessons, while second and third grade students will be using pitched percussion (such as xylophones, metalophones and glockenspiels). Fourth grade students will be embarking on a Rockin' Recorder adventure, while fifth grade students will begin one of many different types of music composition projects.

In addition to general music, fourth and fifth grade students will also be involved with an exciting new chorus that is during the school day this year! This is a wonderful new class that all fourth and fifth grade students will be participating in and we will let you know about our upcoming concerts as soon as we are ready to perform!

Hope you are having a great start to the new school year! I hope you will also consider following this website (blog) so that you can be up on all of the latest music news! I have new postings nearly every day! Some of these posting are songs we've enjoyed singing, some are clips that we've seen that have tied into our music lessons, and others are my thoughts and/or reflections on what's going on musically in and out of the Music Room, so... be sure to sign up so that you will be able to check it out!

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at or (508) 541-2120 ext. 1029. I'm really excited for a fantastic new year in music and I hope you are, too!

Mr. Barrett ;-)


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sir Duke

This song was a great way to kick-off our musical year in the older grades as we explored beat and rhythm, and even discussed who the people are that we look up to! Stevie Wonder pays tribute to the people who made a difference in his life (Basie, Miller, "Satchmo," Ella, and the King of all, Duke Ellington) in this classic, "Sir Duke."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My goal for this year...

is to connect with each and every one of my students and make them realize that what I am teaching them and sharing with them in our music classes together is only going to enhance what they already know and love about music. I am not going to judge them or the music that they listen to, but rather help them to see what it is that they love about their music and why that's the case.

If you're a parent of one of my students this year, ask your child what they learned in Music Class today and ask them to reflect upon it for you. If you're one of my students, think about why I shared a particular lesson, musical concept, song, idea, etc., with you and think how this relates to your music and your life. Let's make the most out of our musical year together!

Mr. Barrett ;-)

Have been enjoying sharing this clip with classes as we use it to help us learn about melody, as well as a little something about our local history!

Monday, August 15, 2011


Welcome back to another great musical year! This is the place to visit if you want to know what's going on in the Music Room this year! I will be posting new information on this main page throughout the year and I have created pages over to the right side of this site that will be updated often. Check out any and all of these posts and pages that interest you and feel free to make comments. I hope that you will come back and visit often as I will be adding new information all the time and throughout the school year. You could also follow this site so that you will receive e-mail notifications of any new additions and not miss out on anything newsworthy.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Music Survey!

Please feel free to take the survey below if you are a current music student of mine from Jefferson, Davis Thayer or Parmenter Elementary School. Your answers will help me to make the music classes even more meaningful for you this year!

(Feel free to complete and submit this form if you're not a student of mine, too!)

Mr. Barrett ;-)

Your name:
Your grade:
Your school:
Your classroom teacher's name:
Do you have a favorite style of music?
Do you have a favorite song or piece?
Do you have a favorite artist or band?

Where do you listen to music most often?
Describe the kind of music you like to listen to.

Do you participate in any musical activities outside of school?
Please tell me more about this.

Do you play a musical instrument outside of school?
What instrument(s) do you play?

Do you take private music lessons?
If so, could you tell me more about them (teacher, location, etc.)?

What do you hope to learn in music class this year?

Thanks for taking the Music Survey!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Why Music?



This is why I teach music:

Not because I expect you to major in music
Not because I expect you to sing or play all your life
Not so you can relax
Not so you can have fun
But, so you will be human
So you will recognize beauty
So you will be sensitive
So you will be closer to an infinite beyond this world
So you will have something to cling to
So you will have more love, compassion, gentleness, good - in short more life.
Of what value will it be to make a prosperous living unless you know how to live?

I would teach the children music, physics and philosophy, but the most important is music, for in the patterns of the arts are the keys to all learning.

During the Gulf War, the few opportunities I had for relaxation I always listened to music, and it brought me great peace of mind. I have shared my love of music with people throughout this world, while listening to the drums and special instruments of the Far East, Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Far North, and all of this started with the music appreciation course that I was taught in a third-grade elementary class in Princeton, New Jersey. What a tragedy it would be if we lived in a world where music was not taught to children.
-General H. Norman Schwarzkopf — United States Army

The things I learned from my experience in music in school are discipline, perseverance, dependability, composure, courage and pride in results. . . Not a bad preparation for the workforce!
-Gregory Anrig – President, Educational Testing Service

Music is an essential part of everything we do. Like puppetry, music has an abstract quality which speaks to a worldwide audience in a wonderful way that nourishes the soul.
-Jim Henson – television producer and puppeteer

Should we not be putting all our emphasis on reading, writing and math? The ‘back-to basics curricula,’ while it has merit, ignores the most urgent void in our present system – absence of self-discipline. The arts, inspiring – indeed requiring – self-discipline, may be more ‘basic’ to our nation survival than traditional credit courses. Presently, we are spending 29 times more on science than on the arts, and the result so far is worldwide intellectual embarrassment.
-Paul Harvey – syndicated radio show host

In every successful business…there is one budget line that never gets cut. It’s called ‘Product Development’ – and it’s the key to any company’s future growth. Music education is critical to the product development of this nation’s most important resource – our children.
-John Sykes — President, VH1

It is our job, as parents, educators, and friends, to see that our young people have the opportunity to attain the thorough education that will prepare them for the future. Much of that education takes place in the classroom. We must encourage our youngsters in such pursuits as music education. In addition to learning the valuable lesson that it takes hard work to achieve success, no matter what the arena, music education can provide students with a strong sense of determination, improved communication skills, and a host of other qualities essential for successful living.
-Edward H. Rensi – President and Chief Operation Officer, U.S.A. McDonald's Corporation

A grounding in the arts will help our children to see; to bring a uniquely human perspective to science and technology. In short, it will help them as they grow smarter to also grow wiser.
-Robert E. Allen – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, AT&T Corporation

Some people think music education is a privilege, but I think it’s essential to being human.
-Jewel – singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist

95% of Americans in a 2003 Gallup Poll believe that music is a key component in a child's well-rounded education; three quarters of those surveyed feel that schools should mandate music education.
-Gallop Poll - "American Attitudes Toward Music" - 2003

Sometimes we choose to serve our country in uniform, in war. Sometimes in elected office. And those are the ways of serving our country that I think we are trained to easily call heroic. It’s also a service to your country, I think, to teach poetry in the prisons, to be an incredibly dedicated student of dance, to fight for funding music and arts education in the schools. A country without an expectation of minimal artistic literacy, without a basic structure by which the artists among us can be awakened and given the choice of following their talents and a way to get to be great at what they do, is a country that is not actually as great as it could be. And a country without the capacity to nurture artistic greatness is not being a great country. It is a service to our country, and sometimes it is heroic service to our country, to fight for the United States of America to have the capacity to nurture artistic greatness. Not just in wartime but especially in wartime, and not just in hard economic times but especially in hard economic times, the arts get dismissed as ‘sissy’. Dance gets dismissed as craft, creativity gets dismissed as inessential, to the detriment of our country. And so when we fight for dance, when we buy art that’s made by living American artists, when we say that even when you cut education to the bone, you do not cut arts and music education, because arts and music education IS bone, it is structural, it is essential; you are preserving the way of life that we are supposedly fighting for and it’s worth being proud of.
-Rachel Maddow - American radio personality, television host, and political commentator

Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosphy. Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents.
-Ludwig van Beethoven - music composer

Music can change the world because it can change people.
-Bono (U2)

Music does bring people together. It allows us to experience the same emotions. People everywhere are the same in heart and spirit. No matter what language we speak, what color we are, the form of our politics or the expression of our love and our faith, music proves: We are the same.
-John Denver - singer-songwriter

Do you know that our soul is composed of harmony?
-Leonardo DaVinci - painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer


Welcome to Music With Mr. Barrett! I am so happy that you stopped by today for a visit! I have a lot here for you to check out- Chorus, Newsletters, Concert Information, Music (of course!), and much MUCH more! Browse for as long as you like and feel free to come back often! I am always updating this blog (website) and I post something new just about every day! It is here for YOU!!!