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Archive for the ‘Classical Music’ Category

Today’s glorious weather is balm to this blogger’s spirit.  A good Kindermusik colleague, Christa Sigman, shared this with me, and I wanted to pass it along.  Enjoy!

Thanks, Christa!

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I don’t honestly remember how I first found TED.com.  I guess it was a link sent by a friend or one of those days I was surfing the web, traveling from link to link, reading whatever caught my interest.  In any event,  I was so fascinated by the expansive offerings on TED that I subscribed to their newsletter.

This week’s e-newsletter shared one of the three winning TED wishes ($100K prize) this year  – that of Dr. Jose Abreu of Venezuela,  a 70-year-old retired economist, trained musician, and social reformer who founded “the system” (El Sistema) in 1975 and has built it with religious zeal, based on his belief that what poor Venezuelan kids needed was classical music.

Abreu’s wish?  To take El Sistema to other nations, including the United States.

El Sistema is all about children,  many from neighborhoods which are so poor, desperate and crime-ridden, that hope is often extinguished in children at an early age, living in areas where residents don’t walk alone day or night.  And it’s focus is about saving them – hundreds of thousands of children – through music.

According to Dr. Abreu, music is a social system that fights poverty and overcomes it by the spiritual richness that music provides, becoming a vehicle of social change.

Each day, children from some of the poorest of the poor slums in Venezuela line up for free lessons at their local branch of El Sistema.  Beginning as early as two years of age, they start learning the basics, like rhythm, and the language of music.  (Sounds like Kindermusik!)

By the time they’re four, they’re being taught how to play an instrument. By the time they’re six or seven-year-old veterans, they’re playing in orchestras.

Through hard work and the assistance of fifteen thousand trained musicians as well as gifted kids who teach other kids, the system uses classical music to instill in the kids self-esteem and confidence.

In the thirty-four years since El Sistema was first founded, over eight hundred thousand children have passed through the organization.  While the majority of them do not continue on to be professional musicians, all of them are changed.

Dr. Abreu is quoted as saying,

“Music produces an irreversible transformation in a child. This doesn’t mean he’ll end up as a professional musician. He may become a doctor, or study law, or teach literature. What music gives him remains indelibly part of who he is forever.”

When asked if he thinks the system could work in the United States, one Sistema branch manager said:

“Yeah. But I mean, kids are kids. It doesn’t matter where they come from. And if you can help a poor kid in here, you can help a poor kid everywhere. It doesn’t matter the culture, it doesn’t matter the race. I mean, it’s music. Everybody love music.”

Make sure your computer is hooked up to a good set of speakers, turn up the sound, sit back, and prepare to be completely blown away by the power and beauty of  the Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra (Sinfónica Juvenil Teresa Carreño), the national high-school-age youth orchestra of El Sistema, directed by Gustavo Dudamel,  newly named musical director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and product of El Sistema himself.   The two selections are Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10, 2nd movement, and Mexican composer Arturo Márquez’ Danzón No. 2.

To learn more about Dr. Abreu, El Sistema, and making Dr. Abreu’s wish come true, please visit TED.com here.

To view the El Sistema segment by Bob Simon on 60 Minutes, please follow this link.

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I love, love, love Boomwhackers.  If you haven’t ever heard of Boomwhackers, you are seriously deprived!  Think handchimes with colorful, tuned PVC pipe – perfect for rambunctious, eager children looking for something fun and musical to do.  I hope you enjoy the Christmas Boomwhackers.  I know I *did*!  🙂

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HalloweenGamesSoundsAndStoriesCDFrontMain

Last year, after hearing about a really neat Halloween song set to the classical work, Danse Macabre by Saint-Saens, I did some research (letting my fingers do the walking) and found an online audio clip with scratches, et al, from a recording made in 1969.  I never anticipated the number of hits I’d receive *this* year from that same post. 

Recently, in the comments section for that post, I’ve had numerous requests for the lyrics to the hands-down Halloween favorite, ‘”H – A – double L – O – W – double E – N” spells Halloween’, so, by popular request,  included with the audio clip, here they are!

“H – A – double L – O – W – double E – N” spells Halloween,

“H – A – double L – O – W – double E – N” spells Halloween!

Halloween means ghosts & goblins,

Skeletons, monsters, & howling cats,

Spooky masks & jack-o-lanterns,

Witches & devils & big, black bats!

“H – A – double L – O – W – double E – N” spells Halloween,

“H – A – double L – O – W – double E – N” spells Halloween!

Halloween means ringing doorbells,

Scaring the people who open the door.

“Trick or treat” gets you candy and apples,

Then go to the next house and get some more.

“H – A – double L – O – W – double E – N” spells Halloween,

“H – A – double L – O – W – double E – N” spells Halloween! 

I’ve also had several readers asking if this song is still available for purchase or download.  To the best of my knowledge, it is not available for purchase on CD or through recognizable online music sources.  The original source that I downloaded it from last year took down the link.  I imagine that the bandwidth it took for downloads was considerable and costly to that blogger. 

However, it is still available through these two sources – Dave’s World 56 which gives you the option of purchasing a Halloween CD from him, or by downloading it directly yourself as a Zip file through Megaupload.com, which is what I did last week. 

The Halloween zip file (35.9MB) also includes, besides the favorite “Halloween“, nine other tracks: The Pumpkin Tells, A Weird Happening, The Strange Three, Guess What I Am, The Halloween Dance, She’s Stuck on a Broomstick, Little Orphan Annie, Witch’s Stew, and Pass The Witch’s Broomstick.  I plan on sharing some of these ahead in the coming weeks.  You do not need an account with Megaupload to download it, but I will confess that it was an extremely confusing process for me. 

Laughing Halloween Jack-o-lantern

I also received an email this week from my friend and fellow Kindermusik educator, Daneille Grimes of Norcross, with this little Halloween ditty from her childhood – sung to the theme from “In The Hall of the Mountain King” from the Peer Gynt Suite  by Grieg:

On October thirty one, when the sun goes to rest.

It’s the night of Halloween when fun is at its best,

Black cats, ghosts, and princess fair,

Holding hands everywhere,

It’s the night of Halloween –

There’s magic in the air!

Witch’s shadow on the moon,

Casting spells, flying her broom,

It’s the night of Halloween –

Quick! Change to your costume!

For all you musicians out there, here’s the musical notation:

Mountain_King_theme

And for your listening pleasure, here’s an audio clip of the orchestral classic that provided the melody:

 

Enjoy! 🙂

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A seemingly innocuous instrument in the hands of an artist can produce something that is truly magical.  James Hill performs Ave Maria by Franz Schubert on ukelele.

Enjoy!

Thanks, Fran!

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After viewing the women’s gymnastics portion of the Olympics Games (my favorite of them all), I have developed a grudging respect for the Chinese gymnastics even while totally disbelieving the supposed totally reliable documentation of their ages.  (I’m the mother of three girls.  I know the timetable of when little girls’ bodies develop, and these girls are just that – girls – and definitely not 16-year-olds, despite what the powers-that-be may claim. And, yes, I do know what over-exercising can do to the female cycle.)

So, while I have watched the gymnastics competition with interest, it has not been with the fascination that I find watching this video of the Chinese State Circus.  I thought, at first, it was a newly choreographed version of Swan Lake, only to realize with a jolt, that it is a combination of ballet and gymnastics that I’ve never seen before.  An arabesque atop the male lead’s arm – no, his shoulder – no, his hand – no!  His head!

Enjoy! 😀

h/t to Tabby and Jeanne

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In surfing some other Kindermusik blogs tonight (notably Miss Christa’s), I ran across a video of a Japanese version of one of the classic all-time great rock songs, “Smoke on the Water.”  I enjoyed viewing it, although I will confess that the vocals caught me a little off guard.

However, it did prompt me to do a little more research until I found this video.  What I especially enjoy about this particular one is that you can see *everyone* enjoying it and participating – rockers, drummers, vocalists, symphony musicians, conductor, and the audience.  It just draws you in.  

So, for your viewing and listening pleasure, please turn up your sound and click the arrow for one of the absolute best rock songs *ever*.  I dare you to try and sit still!

I may be a professionally trained musician as well as a Kindermusik educator, but I’m also a rocker at heart!

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