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: Suzuki

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
Wednesday, May 13 2020 00:00

Day 28: Etude by Suzuki (Skills, part 3)

Violinist age 8 plays Etude by Suzuki 

An etude (French for “study”) is a technical piece that’s more complicated than a simple scale, but still focuses on teaching one new technical skill to prepare for more complex music using that skill. 
This student is almost ready to move beyond basic folk songs and tackle the easier music of Bach and other classical composers. To do this, he’ll need to learn a new fingering pattern which goes beyond the basic set-up that complete beginners learn. This lively Etude has many repetitions of this new pattern, helping him to build the muscle memory to be able do it without much thought.
In turn, that muscle memory will serve him well in the Bach Minuet he’ll meet next, leaving him free to keep his focus on the music. He already has this new technique well under control, and is even comfortable enough to throw in a little spur-of-the-moment inspiration on his final note - to the amusement of his audience.
Published in Music For Community

Violinist age 8 plays Go Tell Aunt Rhody

Continuing yesterday’s theme of learning musical structure, students have a lot of fun singing about poor John, who really overdid it on the snack food! See below for the words.
Meanwhile, though, they’re taking in more complicated rhythms (mix of slow and fast notes), and a new phrase structure (A1, A2, B1, B2, A1, A2 – see here for explanation) – so putting the notes together on their instrument is made much easier. 
Along with this musical understanding comes quicker technical development. If you watch this student’s bow closely, you’ll see he’s doing a great job of using shorter bows on the shorter notes and longer bows on the longer ones – because having internalized the music more easily, he has enough of his brain freed up to handle this challenge.
(A1) Go, tell Aunt Rhody - John is very sick.
(A2) Go, tell Aunt Rhody - John is sick in bed.
(B1) He ate some popcorn, then some candyfloss,
(B2) Then peanut butter on his bread!
(A1) Go, tell Aunt Rhody - John is very sick.
(A2) Go, tell Aunt Rhody - John is sick in bed.
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
Wednesday, April 22 2020 00:00

Day 13: Cuckoo

Pianist age 6 plays "Cuckoo"

This easy piano piece from the Suzuki Piano Program is based on a German folk song, but we gave it English words to help students learn it.

Cuckoo, cuckoo sings from the forest.Cuckoo, cuckoo sings from the tree.

Let us be singing, let us be dancing,Cuckoo, cuckoo, springtime is here! 


Cuckoo, Cuckoo, high in the treetops,Cuckoo, Cuckoo, sing me a song.

Sing in the morning, sing in the evening.Cuckoo, Cuckoo, I’ll sing along!

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
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
Thursday, April 09 2020 12:00

Day 4: O Come, Little Children

Violinist age 7 plays “O Come, Little Children”

This pretty folk song (which is actually a French Christmas carol) is one of the early pieces featured in the Suzuki violin program. This young violinist started out in our Wayland Recreation “Small Group Intro to Violin” class - and that’s his mom playing piano for him!

We give the kids singalong words to help them hear the music in their heads as they learn new songs on their instruments. The words we made up to this one are below, so you can sing along too. The first phrase in each verse repeats because the music does also - listen and sing again, to see if you can hear that happening. You could also make up a third verse with whatever instruments you have at home!

Verse 1

O come, little children, and play all your songs! O come, little children, and play all your songs!

Play violin, viola*, and cello and more – we’ll play round the town, then come back and play more!

[sing: vee-oh-la – stretch it to three syllables]

Verse 2

O come, little children, and play all your songs! O come, little children, and play all your songs!

Play flute, drums and trumpet, and piano, and more - we’ll play round the town, then come back and play more!

Published in Music For Community
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Monday, April 06 2020 00:00

Day 1: "Musette" by Bach

Violinist age 9 plays "Musette" by Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach lived from 1685 to 1750. He was born in what is now Germany, was the youngest of 8 children, and had a thorough musical education from his father, uncles and older brother.

He was a very hardworking musician who lived and worked at the courts of various dukes and princes, where he had to produce new music on a weekly basis for courtly events and chapel services. Not surprisingly, his published works number well over 1000, and it's thought that there were many more which have been lost over time.

His main performing instrument was the organ, but he wrote pieces for many other instruments, including voice. He wrote this Musette originally for harpsichord, a forerunner of the modern-day piano. A "Musette" was actually a kind of bagpipe popular at the time, and Bach was trying to imitate one here - if you listen carefully to the piano accompanying the violin, you may be able to hear the held bass note or "pedal tone", just as you would with a bagpipe.

Published in Music For Community