Author Archive

Heather Gilles

Hello Parents and Students! This is Ms. G. I´m happy to be blogging about music in our school. I grew up in the United States, and recently moved to Barcelona from New York City. A little bit more about my professional background, I received my Bachelor´s in Music Performance from the Juilliard School, where I studied opera. I sang and worked as an Assistant Director with Opera Companies for many years before teaching music full time. This is my eighth year of teaching full time, and almost my fifteenth year of teaching private voice and piano lessons!

5th Grade Ukuleles!!

Written by Heather Gilles. Posted in 1st Grade

5th Grade Ukulele Unit!

The Fifth graders and I are super excited to have started our ukulele unit two weeks ago…we are strumming away and enjoying learning how to play chords and accompany ourselves while singing.

(Ms. G unpacking the new Ukuleles!!!)

Most days I join students for some extra practice time at morning patio…Our Uke club is going strong!!!

(Pic Coming Soon!)

The Uke is great instrument that can be enjoyed for many years, and is meant to be a lifetime music instrument for our kids here at BFIS.  Ukuleles are small, easily portable, and inexpensive. If you’re interested in purchasing one for your child, I recommend the following instruments. (Just follow the hyperlinks to Amazon to purchase).  We have a class set for use at school, but it’s always more motivating when you have your own to practice with at home!  However, you can easily pick up a soprano Ukulele at most guitar or music shops!

Mahalo           Kala 

Make sure to pick up an electronic tuner so that your child can tune their instrument at home!


Finally, here are some inspirational ukulele video’s to enjoy! I especially love Grace Vandewaal, who was introduced to me by one of our students!!

Also, one of my Favorite Ukulele Players Jake Shimabukuro playing Bohemian Rhapsody on the Ukulele!

Choir Happenings!!!!

Written by Heather Gilles. Posted in 1st Grade

What an exciting two weeks it’s been for our choir members!  We are finally able to rehearse at the same time EVERY week!  That’s right, Thursday is now Choir Morning.

Students in choir begin their day with a vocal warm up (ask your choir member to show you their roller coaster sound).  Then we have time to rehearse together.  What a lovely way to start the day, with hearing the voices of our students in song! I’m a lucky teacher!


Right now we are working on the following songs!  True Colors-originally by Cyndi Lauper. Oye-Jim Papoulis, and some other fun warm up pieces.  I’ve included some of my favourite children’s choirs versions of these songs below.  Look for our versions of the songs online in the following weeks!

Enjoy!-Ms. G




Second Grade Upcoming Field Trip To Auditori Sant Cugat!

Written by Heather Gilles. Posted in ES Music

Hello BFIS Friends and Family!

Second grade has been working hard ALL year studying music from all around the world!

So far, we have traveled to Japan, Mexico, West Africa, and North America looking at how music is part of children’s lives EVERYWHERE!

For example, we have discovered that children all over the world use music as they play games…”Sara Watashi” is a plate passing game from Japan, and is similar to “Obwi Sana Sana” a stone passing game from Ghana!  Wow! We have so much in common…

When we learned about Bluegrass music, we found a silly song about “Old Dan Tucker” and learned a traditional Party Play game from Appalachia! We are also looking at the traditional instruments from all over the world and will begin learning to classify them according to how their sound is produced!

Ask your child to tell you the names of the different bluegrass instruments in this picture!

We are now traveling to Russia, and will be looking at the way composer Stravinksy put the folk tale “The Firebird” to music!

We will be traveling to Auditori San Cugat in February to see the Petit Liceau performance!

We’ll be looking at each of the new Russian instruments above in the next two weeks!

2017 Music Happenings!

Written by Heather Gilles. Posted in ES Music

Happy New Year from Ms. G!  Take a peek at your Music Page to see what´s happening in each grade of music!

As we head into 2017, we’re focusing on perseverance.  One of the greatest ‘soft skills’ that music education teaches is the art of perseverance, sticking to something, even if it is hard.  It looks different in each grade level, but here are how we are showing perseverance in Music in January.

Kindergarten: Singing Alone, and using our singing voice….it takes a lot of bravery to sing all by yourself! Good job K!!

First Grade:  Reading our first musical staff…wow! This is hard stuff. We are learning how to read musical notation…it takes concentration, but we are learning to read notes!

Second Grade:  As we are learning music from around the world, we are also learning traditional folk dances.  It may look like a cakewalk, but learning to Waltz takes perseverance!

Third Grade:  We are building our instrumental skills on the barred instruments, learning the correct technique to play quick sixteenth notes.  We are learning how to maintain focus and practice independently on music, so that we can begin recorder soon!

Fourth Grade: We are learning how to listen and analyse complex musical forms, and use that knowledge to learn to play orchestral music on the recorder.  This week we analysed the form and melodic contour two pieces by Beethoven “Ode to Joy” and “Für Elise”.

Fifth grade: Is beginning their world drumming skills, with practice on drumming technique like creating high and low tones on the djembe and conga drums. They will be looking at drumming ensembles from around the world, working on the focus to play with accuracy within an ensemble with multiple musical parts.  They are also preparing for their assembly and will be singing the song “One Day” by Matisyahu.

Here is a wonderful version of the song by students at P.S. 22 in New York!  Kudos to Ms. Makiko for introducing it to me! I can’t wait to hear 5th grade sing it next week!


3rd Grade ‘Magic Flute’ Opera Field Trip!

Written by Heather Gilles. Posted in 3rd Grade, 3rd Grade Music

Dear BFIS Third Grade Musicians and Families,

I´m SOOOO excited that the Third Grade and I get to go see an Opera Next Week, and not just ANY opera, one of the greatest operas by Mozart, the Magic Flute.  This production, by Opera Liceau is adapted with young audiences in mind, with a background on Mozart, a shortened score with highlights of some of most beautiful music in the opera!   Enjoy the photos below, then click for a short preview


The Story

Mozart’s Magic Flute is a story of good versus evil, light against darkness. It follows Tamino, and his silly friend Papageno as they go on a quest to find Pamina, the daughter of the Queen of the Night, to rescue her from Sarastro.  They soon discover the Queen of the Night is not to be trusted, and find that Sarastro is trying to keep the darkness from the world.  In the end, with the help of the Magic Flute and Bells given to them by the three ladies they find Pamina and banish the queen to the darkness.  Click the poster below to go to a youtube video that tells the fullstory of the Magic Flute!


Image result for magic flute

The Composer

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Image result for mozart as a child

Mozart was born in Salzburg, in 1756.  By the age of 5 he had learned to play both the violin and the piano, and by the age of 4 had written his piano concerto, when he was 8 he wrote his first symphony, and by the age of twelve he wrote his first opera!  As a child, he and his sister, Maria Anna, performed for royalty and aristocrats all over Europe.  Click the photo of Mozart above to see a video biography of Mozart and hear some of his music!


Choir Music for Winter Concert

Written by Heather Gilles. Posted in 2nd Grade Music, 3rd Grade Music, 4th Grade Music, 5th Grade Music, ES Music

Hello BFIS Choirsters and Families,

Here are the links to the audio of our choir music for the Winter Concert!


Second and Third Grade Song  (Please click the title below to go to the video!)

Here Comes the Snow!


Fourth and Fifth Grade choir students will be singing

(Please click the title below to go to the video!)

Sing for Joy!