Elizabeth Miller - Music & Band Director

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Welcome to Mrs. Miller's Music page!  At Mishawaka Catholic I teach music for grades PreK-8th and I am also the director of bands for MCS.  I am so excited to share my love of music with your children!

In my music classes you can expect your child to be singing, playing instruments, listening to various pieces of music, dancing, and playing games to reinforce the many standards for music. 

So what do we learn in music??

Melody: Pitch is how high or how low a note sounds.  When you string pitches together, you can create a melody. 

Rhythm: Rhythm is the length of musical sounds and silences.  We talk about duration of pitches and rests.  Some examples of the vocabulary used are whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, as well as whole rests, half rests, and quarter rests. 

Dynamics: Dynamics refers to the volume of the music.  In simple terms we talk about music being 'soft' and 'loud.'  As students mature, we use Italian music terms.  For example, fortissimo means to play or sing very loudly while piano means to play or sing quietly. 

Tempo: Tempo is the speed of the beat.  The beat is like the heartbeat of the music and we spend a lot of time on this concept with the younger students.  With older students, we use the Italian music terms.  For example adagio means "slow and stately" while vivace means "fast and lively." 

Harmony: Harmony is the combination of different musical notes played or sung at the same time to produce a pleasing sound.  We mainly cover this topic in the upper grade levels.

Timbre: Timbre, also known as Tone Color, is the specific sound of an instrument.  For example, your ears most likely already know the difference between a flute and a tuba because they each have their own timbre. 

Texture: Texture is the layering of sounds in a composition. Texture can be considered 'thin' where there are very few different things going on a time in the music, to 'thick' where there are many different things going on in a composition.  We use listening and singing exercises to better understand texture in music at the middle school level. 
 

Form: Form is the overall plan of a piece of music.  We use terms like A-B-A, verse-refrain, and rondo to examine and describe the form of music.  


For Band Members/Parents:

For the 2021-2022 school year, students in the St. Joseph MCS Saints Band will rehearse on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school, 3:00-4:00.  Students in the St. Monica MCS Saints Band will rehearse on Mondays after school, 3:00-4:00, as well as during the school day on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during Flex/Enrichment.

Please join my Band Remind list. I will send out texts for assignments for the week as well as important announcements.
To sign up:
For St.Joseph Band Parents, text @mcssaints to 81010. 
For St. Monica Band Parents, text @stmonband to 81010.

Additionally, I have created an MCS Saints Band facebook page where I will also post important information as well as pictures and occasional videos.  Simply search MCS Saints Band and request to join.  Here you can ask questions, make comments, and chat with other band parents or myself.


A little about me:

I grew up North of Houston, Texas and moved to Mishawaka in July 2000.  I attended 3 different high schools, each of which had an award-winning band program, which I attribute to my success in music.  My freshman and sophomore year, I attended Cleveland HS in Cleveland, TX (if you ever want to see some amazing military style marching, look up "Royal Braves Band" on youtube - you won't be disappointed!). During my freshman year, I received the "Outstanding Freshman" award for the Cleveland HS Band.  During my sophomore year, I competed and earned a place in the All-Area band (this is just below making the Texas All-State Band - don't forget, Texas is HUGE!). I attended Carroll HS in Southlake, TX for my junior year.  At Carroll, I learned all about core-style marching.  For my senior year, I attended Mishawaka High School. During my senior year I was part of the Indiana All-State Band, I also was awarded the Outstanding Band Member award for the Mishawaka HS Band.  I then went to Ball State University where I studied music education and speech-language pathology.  I graduated in 2006 and began working in special education in Mishawaka schools.  I began teaching music and band at Mishawaka Catholic in the 2019-2020 school year. This is basically my dream job!!

My husband, Adam, is an alumni of St. Joseph grade school and coaches MCS football and basketball.  We have three children.  Harrison is entering his 7th grade year; he plays euphonium and trombone in the St. Monica band.  Lucy is entering 5th grade and plays French horn in the St. Joe Beginner band.  Violet is turning 3 this November; she attends Saints & Squires Daycare at the St. Joe campus and she plays the pots and pans. :) 
 
I love playing and listening to music.  My primary instrument is the euphonium (it looks like a baby tuba).  While at Ball State University I studied with Dr. Mark Mordue and performed with the marching band, the Wind Ensemble (concert band), and the Tuba Euphonium Choir, which was my absolute favorite!  I am a member of Sigma Alpha Iota which is a philanthropic music fraternity.  I have participated in community bands in past years.  While voice is not my primary "instrument," I do love to sing!  Currently, I share my love of music with a slightly wider community by serving as a cantor at 9:15 masses at St. Joseph's parish.  I always love getting my instrument out to play for students during classes as often as I can!  Over the summers, I'm always working to improve my playing ability on different instruments.  This summer I'm working on improving with clarinet, saxophone, and percussion.  

 

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