Jon's Weekly Update 9-26-14

posted Sep 29, 2014, 8:52 AM by Cynthia Friedman


Fri., Oct. 3:                         Vision Screening

Sun., Oct. 5, 1-1:30pm:     Ukulele Performance: Cozmic Pizza

Wed., Oct. 8                      Bike & Walk to School Day

Fri., Oct. 10                       NO SCHOOL – Statewide In-Service

Fri., Oct. 10:                         Cycle 1 of the Academic Calendar Ends

Sat., Oct. 11, 12-6pm:          Ridgeline Block Party at Southtowne Shoppes

Sat., Oct. 11: 2-2:30pm:        Ukulele Performance @ Southtowne Shoppes

Wednesday, Oct. 22:             Picture Re-takes


Dear Middle School Family,


I can't believe we've only been going for three and a half weeks.  The students are quickly settling into routines, and we are getting down to the business of good work.  Please check in with their Jupiter Grades account and help me monitor their progress.  Your attention to their school work is essential to their success.   


We're having a lot of fun with the ukuleles.  It's pretty impressive how quickly they're picking it up, and how eager they are to play and practice.  We should have at least 4 songs ready for the Performance at Southtowne Shoppes on October 11, and we'll have alumni joining us to flush out the set.  It's going to be a blast.  Please encourage your student to participate.


Movie Madness upon us.  Please send in a donation for our silent auction by October 1.  DVDs, snacks, drinks, theater tickets, action figures, plush animals, posters, you name it!  We have the movies: Edward Scissorhands, Nightmare Before Christmas, the new Fame, Chronicles of Narnia, Blended, and the Bridge to Terabithia.


Personal Interest Projects

Every Wednesday, students are engaging in Personal Interest Projects from 1:40-3pm.  It's an opportunity to pursue a creative or productive interest that doesn't quite fall into the Academic norm.  We have students rehearsing for a piano recital, learning songs on the guitar, building a photography portfolio, making short films, making stop motion films, programming computers, tearing computers apart and putting them back together, cooking...  


It is a really fun, kooky, creative time. We could really use some adult mentors and guides to help us out on Wednesday afternoons.  Our photographers want to be able to leave campus to take photos.  Our movie makers would like to film something other than a school-set films.  If you can come occasionally to help "supervise" students who want or need to work outside the classroom, or if you can come in on a regular basis to lead a workshop, we'd love to add your energy to our endeavors.  


Please let me know ASAP if you'd like to come in, and in what capacity.


Ukulele Purchasing Advice

I've had a lot of requests for suggestions for purchasing an ukulele for your student.  The local store with the best selection is Pacific Winds.  They sometimes have sales.  (I'd wait for a sale if you want to buy local.)


My favorite uke store is back home, in Hawaii, Hawaiian Music Supply.  They have a great website with some killer deals.  They do a complete set-up on their ukes, even the inexpensive ones (it makes a HUGE difference--watch their video about how they set up the ukes, for details).  They also donated a bunch of ukes to our program to get us started!


I recommend buying a concert or tenor sized ukulele.  The sopranos tend to be a little small for middle school hands, and the baritone ukes are tuned in a different key.  It's worth going down to a local store to at least get a feel for the size of the various ukuleles before you buy one if you plan to buy one online.  We use concert sized ukes in class.  I play a tenor.  The bigger ukes have more volume, and a less plinky sound, also.


If you're concerned about the sound, it may be worth spending a little more ($150-$200) for a "solid top" ukulele. (Meaning the top of the ukulele is solid wood (usually spruce or mahogany, and the back and sides are made of plywood.) They tend to have a richer sound.  Solid wood ukuleles are a lot more expensive (starting around $300-$400, and going into the thousands!).


I strongly recommend an ukulele with geared tuners rather than friction tuners.  (They stay in tune better.)  Cordoba and Kala both make really nice entry level ukes ($100 and under).  There's a really nice Islander concert ukulele on the HMS website on sale for $165 with a hard case ($60 for a hard case!).  A case is essential!


We also have soprano loaners that can be checked out overnight on weeknights, or over the weekend.


If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.  


Womanspace Fundraiser Ukulele Performance

Because it's so early in the year, I've called back some Ridgeline graduates to perform with some 8th graders at this event.  We have a pretty stellar group of 8th, 9th, and 10th graders who will be doing a set at Cozmic Pizza on Sunday, October 5th at 1-1:30pm.  We're the first act, and we have the longest set.  I've attached a poster for the event.  It's a $5-10 sliding scale donation to support Womanspace.  I hope we'll see you there!


Have a great week,

Jon and Carrie