Music for the Community

Welcome to our Music for the Community page! Since we can't take our music out to local nursing homes and libraries at the moment, we're inviting you in to enjoy it here instead. Each day you'll find a new student performance on this page, along with some info about the composer or instrument - and sometimes words too so you can sing along. 

If you're interested in a particular category, you can sort performances by student age, instrument, singalong music, composer and so on - click on the orange tags under the text. We hope you and your family will enjoy watching our students share their music! 

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Displaying items by tag: Students age 10 to 11

Wednesday, June 10 2020 00:00

Day 48 - Chopin Waltz in A Minor

Pianist age 11 plays Chopin Waltz in A minor

Polish composer Frederic Chopin (1810 – 1849) was in fragile health for most of his life. His father was French and immigrated to Poland at 16, becoming a French teacher at the Warsaw Lyceum (high school). The father also played flute and violin, while Frederic’s mother played piano and gave lessons to the high school students. By the time Chopin was 7, it was obvious that he was exceptionally gifted musically, and he was already giving public concerts and composing small pieces. 
In 1830, while he was traveling in Europe, there was a popular uprising in Poland which was crushed by authorities. Devastated, Chopin never returned to Poland and ended up settling in France. All of his 230 surviving pieces feature the piano, and almost all are short solo pieces - waltzes, etudes, and Polish dances such as Polonaises and Mazurkas that express his longing for his native land.
Although a brilliant pianist, Chopin did not perform in public much - he preferred to play for small groups of friends, as he felt that his intimate music was more suited for that kind of setting. This waltz was written some time between 1843 and 1848, and probably performed at one of those small gatherings of friends.
Published in Music For Community
Monday, June 01 2020 00:00

Week of June 1st: Lament


To quote Martin Luther King Jr., "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." As members of communities both smaller and larger, what affects some of us affects all of us, and if we stay silent in the face of egregious injustice, we risk becoming become complicit in it. 
In light of the multiple blatant incidents over the past few weeks (which of course are just the visible tip of the iceberg) involving the targeting and victimization of Americans of color, culminating in the horrific murder of George Floyd on May 25th, we therefore offer a musical commentary that surely speaks for itself: Lament.

"Lament", performed by the composer

We would like to thank the artist for allowing us to offer their powerful composition as commentary. This is our only "Music for the Community" for this week.

Published in Music For Community
Wednesday, May 06 2020 00:00

Day 23: Beethoven’s “Für Elise"

Pianist age 11 plays Beethoven’s “Für Elise (For Elise)”

Who was the mysterious Elise for whom Beethoven wrote this short but very famous piece? There are quite a few possible candidates!

One is German soprano Elizabeth Rockel, who sang in Beethoven’s opera Fidelio. She met with Beethoven quite often, and it’s known that he wanted to marry her at one time. Another soprano called Elise Barensfeld has also been suggested, although less is known about her.

But in fact, what  Beethoven actually wrote on the manuscript was not "Für Elise" - but "Für Therese"! It’s widely acknowledged that the Therese in question was Therese Malfatti, to whom Beethoven proposed marriage in 1810, the same year he composed the piece. As further evidence, she was also the owner of the manuscript.

She must have been rather put out when - thanks to a sloppy copywriter who made the 19th century equivalent of a typo - her name on the published version of the work was changed to someone else’s!

Published in Music For Community
Thursday, April 30 2020 00:00

Day 19: Schubert Sonatina in D

Violinist age 10 plays Schubert Sonatina in D, third movement

Viennese composer Franz Schubert lived only from 1797 to 1828, but he managed to compose a vast amount of music in that short time – over 600 songs, seven symphonies, a large amount of piano and chamber music (music for a small group of players), operas, and church music. 

The 12th of 14 children, his musical gifts were obvious early on. He started piano lessons with his brother at 5, and violin lessons with his father at 8, but he soon outgrew their ability to teach him. After finishing his training he became a schoolteacher and also gave private music lessons, earning just enough money for his basic needs, including clothing, manuscript paper, pens, and ink, but with little to no money left over for luxuries. His life was never easy, but he did have a small circle of admirers in Vienna. Today, though, Schubert is considered one of the greatest composers of Western classical music, and his heartfelt music continues to be popular.

A sonata is a composition for one or two (occasionally three) instruments, frequently including a piano; and a sonatina literally means a “little sonata” – something shorter and easier. The piano is an equal partner here, with each performer taking turns to have the tune or the accompaniment. This lively movement in 6/8 time is based on a gigue, or jig.

Published in Music For Community
Wednesday, April 29 2020 00:00

Day 18: "Just Struttin' Along" by Martha Mier

Pianist age 11 plays “Just Struttin’ Along” by Martha Mier

Martha Mier is an American composer and piano teacher who was born in 1936 and lives in Lake City, FL. She has written more than 60 books of catchy solo and duet pieces for piano students from elementary to advanced level.

Many of her pieces, including this one, are written in a jazz style (remember Tick Tock the Jazz Clock?). Her music is really fun to play!

Published in Music For Community

Violist age 11 plays "Gavotte" from Orchestral Suite in D by Bach

Bach wrote four Orchestral Suites. They all have an opening piece called an Overture, followed by a collections of movements (individual pieces) based on the dance forms of the time. These suites were very popular in Bach's day, and could be considered the “easy listening” music of the mid-18th century.

This is the third movement of Bach's third suite of this type, written about 1730 and arranged here for viola. The term Gavotte for a lively dance originated in the 1690s from Provence in southern France. The Old Provençal word gavoto (mountaineer's dance) comes from gavot, a local name for an Alpine resident, which is said to mean literally "boor" or "glutton"! You can hear that this rather heavy-footed dance might well suit a country bumpkin....

Published in Music For Community
Thursday, April 23 2020 00:00

Day 14: Marching Band

Violinist age 10 plays "Marching Band" by Edwards Huws Jones

This one’s good for both marching and singing! The song has three parts, and the first and last parts are for singing along. In the middle, you can hear the band very quietly at first, as if from far away. Then they round a corner and get louder, until finally they’re right in front of you again for another rousing chorus. Grab your shakers, saucepan lids and whatever else you have to hand, and make a parade all around the house!

Mar-ching, we're mar-ching, the bugles blow, it's time to go, we're

Mar-ching, we're mar-ching, the trumpets play, we're on our way!

[Quietly] Left  two three four, left two three four, left  right, left right, left right, left right

[Louder] Left  two three four, left two three four, left  right, left right, left right, LEFT RIGHT -

Mar-ching, we're mar-ching, the bugles blow, it's time to go, we're

Mar-ching, we're mar-ching, the trumpets play, we're on our way!


Published in Music For Community
Friday, April 17 2020 00:00

Day 10: Tango by Neil Mackay

Violinist age 10 plays “Tango” by Neil Mackay

More dance music today – this time from South America. The tango combines musical elements from African, Native American and European cultures, and started in the 1880s among communities alongside the Rio de la Plata (Silver River), which is the natural border between the countries of Argentina and Uruguay. It was originally a dance for the common people, popular in dockside cafes and nightclubs, but eventually spread to Europe and North America too. Listen for the “Pa-PAH—pa pum-pum” rhythm that happens throughout the piece.

Published in Music For Community
Wednesday, April 15 2020 00:00

Day 8: Song of the Wind

Violinist age 10 plays Song of the Wind

Here’s another singalong song! (For the last one, see April 9th.)

Who has seen the wind, I wonder?

No-one that I know!

No-one that I know!

When the leaves are / flut-ter-ing the /

Wind is there but/ can’t be seen –

When the leaves are / flut-ter-ing the /

Wind is there I/  know.___(Repeat)

Published in Music For Community
Tuesday, April 07 2020 00:00

Day 2: Toccatina by Kabalevsky

Pianist age 11 plays Toccatina by Kabalevsky

Russian composer Dimitry Kabalevsky lived from 1904 – 1987. His father was a mathematician and wanted him to be one too, but he was drawn very strongly to music. He wrote symphonies, concertos, operas, ballets, chamber works, songs, theatre, film scores, and many popular pieces. During the 1930s, as movies began to have sound, he wrote film music too.

But his biggest contribution to the world of music-making was his music for children. When working as a piano teacher he felt that there wasn’t enough good music for children learning piano. So he set out to write easy music that had appropriate technical challenges for students, but at the same time would be interesting and help develop children’s musical sensitivity. This Toccatina is one of those pieces.

Published in Music For Community