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 3 to 5

Wednesday, June 17 2020 00:00

Day 53 - Mary Had a Little Lamb (piano)

Pianist age 4 plays "Mary had a Little Lamb"

We've shown Mary had a Little Lamb before, on flute, but of course it sounds very different on piano. People are often surprised to learn that although the piano has strings, it's actually classifed as a percussion instrument. But percussion basically means "instruments that make their sound when you hit them," and that's what's happening here: when you press the piano keys, they operate hammers inside the piano, which hit the strings and bounce off again.

So an important skill for pianists is learning to touch the keys with enough strength for those hammers to produce a sound - but not so much that the sound is harsh. Although he's so young, you can see (and hear) that this young man is already doing an excellent job using the weight of his arm to drop his fingers into the keys, producing a round, ringing sound.

You probably already know that words to this song! But just in case:

Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb –
Mary had a little lamb; fleece was as white as snow. 
Published in Music For Community
Wednesday, May 20 2020 00:00

Day 33: I Want a Popsicle

Day 33: Violinist age 5 plays Twinkle Variation D, “I Want a Popsicle”

Another Suzuki variation today - this one introducing the student to triplet rhythms. Whether you learn this with the words “I-want-a/pop-si-cle/I-want-a/popsicle” or as some students prefer, “blue-ber-ry/straw-ber-ry/blue-ber-ry/straw-ber-ry”, coordinating the fingers and bow in these continuous running notes can be very confusing at first! But this student, who started in our very first class ever of Wayland Rec beginners, is very comfortable with the whole idea by the time of this performance and dispatches it with ease. 
Published in Music For Community

We're doing something a little different this week - taking you on a journey from the earliest stages of learning an instrument through to musical mastery. First, our beginners who are just learning to pick out a simple tune...

Pianists age 4 play Twinkle, right hand and left hand

There’s so much learning going on right here! First, we show two videos today so you can hear a basic feature of the piano – notes played with the right hand are higher in pitch (actually, they vibrate faster), while those played with the left hand are lower in pitch (they vibrate slower). Since you play these notes with different sides of your body, the concept of pitch is also reinforced through movement. Ears, hands and intellect all begin to make cross-connections (for string players, we have other ways to achieve the same thing).
Meanwhile, the Twinkle song needs no introduction, and its simple notes and structure make it work for beginners on pretty much any instrument. But - did you know that it’s also a “sandwich” piece?
Bread (“A” music) Twinkle, twinkle, little star - how I wonder what you are!
Cheese (“B” music) Up above the world so high
Cheese (“B music again) Like a diamond in the sky,
Bread (“A” music again) Twinkle, twinkle, little star - how I wonder what you are!
Beginners are thrilled to discover that as soon as they can play the first piece of “bread” and slice of “cheese” - they can actually play the whole song! As we teach them to recognize these overall musical patterns easily, they quickly develop a sense of mastery over new material.
This is your kid's brain on music! 
Published in Music For Community
Thursday, May 07 2020 00:00

Day 24: Down Pony, Up Pony

Violinist age 5 plays Twinkle Variation C, "Down Pony, Up Pony"

Here is another variation on Twinkle, from one of our young Wayland Rec beginners. Again, this bowing pattern will show up later in much more advanced repertoire.

For violin, viola and cello, we call this variation “DOWN pony, UP pony” to emphasize the alternating direction of the strong bow strokes. Others like to call it “Long, short-short, Long, short-short”, while our Suzuki piano teachers often use “Run Mommy, Run Daddy”. Pick one of these, and see if you can keep up singing it all the way through - or maybe chase Mom and Dad around the house!

Published in Music For Community

Violinist age 4 plays Twinkle Variation A, Massachusetts Music

This is the first piece that the young musicians in our Suzuki Program learn. The rhythm “Massachusetts Music” is an easy one for beginners, as it uses very short bow strokes – but it’s also something that will reappear many times in much bigger pieces, including professional ones.

This little student started in our Wayland Recreation “Small Group Intro to Violin” class over the summer. Five months later, and she was ready to share her music with an audience. She gets extra brownie points for stopping to “build fingers” carefully when she moves to a new string. Skills built solidly in small steps like this will lead to ease and confidence at all levels of playing.

Published in Music For Community