tune on tuesday 2020

'Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.' – Emory Austin

Every Tuesday Ms S shares her love of all sorts of music.

Here are some Christmas favourites from our recorder players, string orchestra and wind band. We couldn't do concerts in the hall this year but we've worked really hard to get a good repertoire for Christmas. After six months without music lessons we think everyone has done marvellously to learn so many pieces in just a few weeks. In-cred-i-ble!

We hope younger children will enjoy the pieces and have a think about what instrument they might like to learn. Older ones can see and hear their classmates and instrumentalists will get something they don't often get to appreciate - their fellow musicians! When we play live we have to think hard about our part so these films will help us see and hear ourselves not as an individual musician but as part of an ensemble.

Ms S :-)


Fresco by Fra Angelico (painted around 1440-45)

The painting by Fra Angelico was made around the time as the carol was composed; a folk song from the Basque Country in what we now call Spain. Annunciation means announcement and in the picture the Angel Gabriel is announcing to Mary that she is going to have a baby.

This carol dates back over 600 years. Children in Year 4-6 may know this one as we sing it in the Big Sing every December and Year 5 and 6 sing it in St Wilfrid's, Davenham at Christmas. This Christmas we won't be up at church but this tune is still well worth a listen. It tells of the beginning of the Christmas story when the Angel Gabriel visits the Virgin Mary and tells her she is to have a child and that she is favoured by God. Mary is special in Christianity with Christians believing she was the mother of God. Mary is special in Islam too; in the Quran she is named seventy times and is called 'Greatest of All Women'.

This version has Sting singing with a muted trumpet making an appearance.

autumn 2020

The tunes this term include celebrations of the natural world, noticing that the same piece can sound very different played by different musicians and how music can communicate big ideas. Being in nature, noticing the natural environment, the small details and differences in a piece of music and being in harmony with others is good for all of us. Music offers a unique experience and can really affect how we feel. Enjoying and listening to music is one way we can care for ourselves every day.

Assembly was about being told off. Musicians and artists use their art to tell people off, especially powerful decision makers. Here's Canadian musician and artist, Joni Mitchell telling off people who make decisions that harm the environment. Turning over green space to cars, spraying crops with pesticide all get a right telling off from Joni Mitchell in her wonderful environmentalist protest song from 1970.

The lines "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone?" are interesting. I wonder if some of you felt like that about school and your friends when it was lockdown last Summer? Sometimes it's not till we loose something that we learn to value it. Here are the lyrics in full:

They paved paradise, put up a parking lot

With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swingin' hot spot

Don't it always seem to go

That you don't know what you've got till it's gone?

They paved paradise, put up a parking lot

(Ooh, bop-bop-bop-bop, ooh, bop-bop-bop-bop)

They took all the trees put 'em in a tree museum

And they charged the people a dollar an'a half just to see 'em

Don't it always seem to go

That you don't know what you've got till it's gone?

They paved paradise, put up a parking lot

(Ooh, bop-bop-bop-bop, ooh, bop-bop-bop-bop)

Hey farmer, farmer put away that DDT now

Give me spots on my apples, but leave me the birds and the bees


Don't it always seem to go

That you don't know what you've got till it's gone?

They paved paradise, put up a parking lot

(Ooh, bop-bop-bop-bop, ooh, bop-bop-bop-bop)

Late last night I heard the screen door slam

And a big yellow taxi took away my old man

Don't it always seem to go

That you don't know what you've got till it's gone?

They paved paradise, put up a parking lot (Ooh, bop-bop-bop-bop)

I said don't it always seem to go

That you don't know what you've got till it's gone?

They paved paradise, put up a parking lot (Ooh, bop-bop-bop-bop)

They paved paradise, put up a parking lot (Ooh, bop-bop-bop-bop)

They paved paradise

Put up a parking lot

This one is for anti bullying week. It is about not standing by but protecting those around us, and protecting ourselves too. Sometimes when people are telling us why they were aggressive or unkind they tell us they were sticking up for someone else. This song reminds us that we can't fight aggression with more aggression but instead should stand with, stand strong and with the person being attacked.

When someone says unkind things and certainly when we are shouted at, it can feel like a blow, like you have been hit. When a stronger person, a useful and kind person quietly stands between someone being attacked (with words or physically) and their abuser, they help restore peace. The person being attacked feels so much better and the person doing the attacking is shown, usefully and kindly that they need to make changes in how they treat other people.

A lot of deliberately unkind behaviour (bullying behaviour) happens when the stronger people aren't looking. This is why we ask you to be brave and if someone is being persistently unkind, intending to hurt your feelings or hurt you by touching you unkindly that you tell an adult in school; then we promise, just like in the song, we can protect you and make your future happier than the unkind experiences you have had.

With two minutes silence for Remembrance Day at 11am on on 11/11 (tomorrow), I thought it would be interesting to hear Mr Harper playing The Last Post. One of the things the "Last Post" has been used for was at the close of a day of battle to signal to those who were still out and wounded or separated that the fighting was done, and to follow the sound of the call to find safety and rest. It is used in Remembrance Day ceremonies in Commonwealth nations and can be heard at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday. I am sure a lot of you have heard it before and the link above also has some music which musicians among you might like to have a go at. Brass players beware though - it has a high G and not many primary school trumpeters can manage that one!

With Remembrance Day coming up I thought I'd share this work by Elgar. It is written about his great friend Jaeger; Jaeger was German and the title, 'Nimrod' is a play on words: Nimrod in the bible was a great hunter and hunter and 'jaeger' is the German word for Hunter). Nimrod is part of Elgar's Enigma Variations where he remembers in music many of this friends and his other great friend (and wife) Caroline Alice. Nimrod is one of the most loved pieces of classical music and probably, along with Pomp and Circumstance, one of the most played classical pieces in England. The dynamics are key to this piece: starting really quietly (pianissimo), you will hear crescendos (gradually getting louder) to a rousing fortissimo (very loud) before a diminuendo (getting quieter) to end softly and you have to really listen up to hear the last note.

What do you think Jaeger was like as a person? What does the music tell you about him? And what Elgar thought of him?

Nimrod is often played on Remembrance Day. An English composer's piece of music thinking about his German friend. Something to think about next week on 11th.

I chose Bob Marley's Redemption Song this week because of these lines:

'Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.'

How does this idea link to the two assemblies yesterday? Yesterday you heard two stories: The Bad Seed and The Good Egg

Here is another version by Tanita Tikaram and Moodswings which mixes Bob Marley's song with another Spiritual 'Oh Happy Day'. She has a beautiful deep voice.

This version of a famous song was recorded at the White House, home of the president of the United States back in 2010 for the first black American president, Barack Obama. 2010 was also they year one of my favourite Acts of Parliament, The Equality Act, became a law in the UK. I remember when this song first came out, way before the Equality Act. When I was in primary school, you would hear racist language and it was tolerated in a way that it just isn't today. While my family brought us up to not be a racist, people were not actively anti-racist, this means they might have heard stuff, not liked it but didn't stand up against it and challenge it like we would today. I have often thought back and wondered how my black and brown schoolmates felt at the time. I didn't join in with racist names but I didn't stand up against it either. It was only when I was older in high school that I started noticing And standing up against it. Sad to say, racism was tolerated back in the 1970s and 1980s in a way it just wouldn't be today. Things may be difficult right now but in lots of ways the UK is a kinder country where difference can be celebrated more openly and intolerance of difference whether for the colour of your skin, your sex, gender, age or disability is not acceptable. We even have a law to protect people from discrimination.

Here are the lyrics to the song ('lyrics' is a word for the words in a song). Your parents and grandparents probably remember Ebony and Ivory from Top of the Pops - ask them. Have a conversation to find out out what school was like when they were your age. I wonder what they will tell you!

Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony

Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don't we?

We all know that people are the same whereever you go

There is good and bad in ev'ryone

We learn to live, when we learn to give

Each other what we need to survive, together alive

Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony

Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord why don't we?

Ebony, ivory, living in perfect harmony

Ebony, ivory, ooh

We all know that people are the same whereever you go

There is good and bad in ev'ryone

We learn to live, when we learn to give

Each other what we need to survive, together alive

Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony

Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord why don't we?

Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don't we

Ebony, ivory, living in perfect harmony - [repeat]

Here is an earlier mix with both musicians together at the piano (and a lot younger!). Have a watch and listen to help you think about the song more deeply.

  • Why do you think Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney used the piano as the instrument for this song?

  • Why is the piano a perfect instrument for the message of the song?

  • Do you think these words are still important today? Why?

This Friday we are having a dress down day where you can wear red to show racism the red card. This links to our football players standing up against the racism that means being a black or ethnic minority player in a football team, including the premier league teams, is not quite the same experience as it is for white players. If you donate £1 on Friday the money will be used to train teachers and work with young people to make life in Britain even better for all of us.

You will know John Cage's short piece from Mrs R-B's assembly last week but she didn't play the whole thing. John Cage's piece really is different every time you listen to it with all the sounds heard being unique to that time and place. People who listen to live music and you musicians who play an instrument or sing will know that one of the wonderful things about music is that it really is different every time you play or sing it.

Musicians and conductors interpret music in different ways, each member of an audience hears it differently too. Last week you heard two different recordings of Allegri's Miserere. And it isn't just classical music that sounds different when played by different musicians. On 15th September I hope you listened to two versions of Roy Ayers' Everybody Loves the Sunshine. That's the wonderful thing about music - everyone has a creative part to play and something to contribute. The composer writes the music from their knowledge of the world, musical rules and imagination. The conductor or arranger interprets it with their understanding of the piece and their imagination too. Musicians then bring their imaginative and creative flair along with their technical skills to interpret it some more, choosing which notes and passages to play louder and softer, whether to slurr or staccato.

Finally, the listener brings their imagination to the Music Party, attending to particular passages with their own favourite parts. Music changes for listeners as they become more familiar with a piece; even when you listen to something you have heard a hundred times, if you listen carefully there will be something new. I wonder if you good listeners out there can listen to all of John Cage's piece and can think how it is different from when you heard it last week with Mrs R-B.

Here are the Kings College Choir Cambridge singing the secret music that Mozart snuck out of St Peter's Basilica (church) in Rome. Do you remember how on hearing it once he took it out of the church in his head and wrote down the five parts? This was way back in 1770 when he was only 14 on a visit to Rome with his father. The choir here are in Kings College Chapel, built in the time of Henry VIII. The music includes a high C, sung by a young boy or sometimes a woman or counter tenor (a man singing in a very high voice). Here is a version by the Tenebrea Choir, sung in St Bartholemew's church in London. That top C is really hard to sing; Mozart used it later when he wrote the Queen of the Night's Aria (solo) in his opera The Magic Flute and you can hear this if you scroll down for the Tune of 21st April in lockdown. Listen out for that top C - not many people can sing that high - it takes skill, talent and practice in equal measure. Can you hear it? Enjoy listening to Allegri's Miserere, it's one of the most famous and most loved choral pieces. We hope you enjoy it even more knowing more a bit about its unusual history from Assembly yesterday.

A big part of taking care of yourself is about slowing down, relaxing and just being. Being in nature is really good for us all year round but there is something about the warmth of the sun that is restorative and gives you a feeling of all being well with the world (even when we know it isn't, this is a nice feeling anyway!). The version above was by Roy Ayres way back in 1976 which those of us who were alive then will remember as a wonderful hot summer.

This more recent version by Ramp was played in Cafe Del Mar in Ibiza, a cafe which is open very early in the morning and where holiday makers go to watch the sun rise over the deep blue sea.

Spring and summer may be the big outdoors seasons but many people actually prefer being out of doors in Autumn. Sofia Gubaidulina’s impressions of sounds you might hear, in the woods, on a crisp morning jaunt might inspire you to take a walk this weekend. As we take our Autumn walks we notice how the landscape is changing as the Earth tilts on its axis, away from the sun and we begin the journey into winter. This piece is a duet. What instruments can you hear? How many? Can you work out what duet means?

tuesday tunes from lockdown

During the Pandemic we have lived through history; the events of 2020 are things that we will all remember throughout our lives. Each week we shared some music which offered opportunities to reflect on our experience of the pandemic, lockdown and some of the other things happening in Spring and Summer 2020.

Wiosna in Polish means Spring and this tune is especially for our families with friends and relatives in Poland. I have yet to meet a Pole who isn't moved to tears by Chopin who was a fantastic pianist and whose speciality was writing music for solo piano. It is a very beautiful piece and probably something we all need to calm us down and cheer us up. It is really evocative of Spring. Can you hear the music gradually getting more complex? I wonder if this is Chopin trying to evoke all the different plants popping up and flowers opening.

Take a look in your garden if you have one, or on a walk have a special look out for new plants popping up. How have they changed? Perhaps you could draw one or write a poem about it. Can you find out the name of one plant this week?

Ms S was five when this came on the Mama Cass show. Older children and adults might find the words interesting. They make Ms S think of Shakespeare's Hamlet

'There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.'

Younger ones will enjoy the lovely tune and singing along; Joni Mitchell writes the lyrics (words) and the score (music) for her songs. Joni Mitchell had polio when young and her hand didn't work too well; she tuned her guitar a special way to make it easier on her hand and this gave her music a unique sound. Both Sides Now is about how you can find good and bad in most things. I hope you find something good today, something that makes you think about life at home together in a new way. Enjoy.

One about ravens (which were the Lost Word last Wednesday). This is a Very Strange Song, and a very old one too. The beautiful singing and delightful melody contrast with dark, sinister subject matter: three ravens, sat upon a tree, looking at a dead knight and discussing which bit of him to eat first. Ravens are carrion birds, this means they eat dead animals. While we think this is gross, carrion birds do a vital job in nature, keeping the natural world clean. Andreas Scholl is singing in a counter tenor voice, which is the highest men's voices go really. Like many folk songs, humankind is firmly part of nature in this song.

Musicians, young and old, are invited to learn the music and children to sing along with Andreas Scholl to learn this words. Then, next Tuesday (14th) at 7pm our streets could be filled with the sounds of bassoons, cellos, clarinets, flutes, horns, recorders, trombones, trumpets, violins and voices.

While you're out on your daily walk or run have a look out for crows and ravens, large black birds with an air of authority. Ms S loves the raven who is often seen walking the school grounds in the morning; she always says good morning to the crows and ravens she meets on her journey to school.

With fewer cars on the road and fewer people about in big groups, birdsong is filling the air this Spring. Ralph Vaughan Williams' piece The Lark Ascending has been voted the country's favourite classical piece for the second year running. Which means you are likely to meet people who know it. It is a beautiful piece, it evokes a bird soaring through the air, drifting on currents and flying higher and higher.

You can listen to the music and follow the score here. As you see, it's a very difficult piece. Nicola Bernedetti still puts in hours and hours of practise every day and has been at the violin for years and years. We have not been at it so long so Mrs W has made arrangements of Little Bird for you all to learn in lock down. Because there is no band or orchestra she has given you all the tune. As instruments are tuned differently (clarinets and trumpets are B flat instruments, flutes are tuned in C and tenor horns in E flat) it won't sound good all played together so how about someone in your street plays it once, then another instrument takes it up and you have a round of solos.

The Queen of the Night only appears briefly in Mozart's Magic Flute; nevertheless she dominates the opera. (An opera is like a musical - acting, singing, dancing, fantastic sets and costumes and an orchestra - what's not to like!). It is sung in German but if you don't speak German it really doesn't matter as the music does the talking! It's a very weird opera, not least because the goodies and baddies sort of swap mid-way through. This is the second time she shows up. Ms S loves it and thinks it must be the best temper tantrum in music. Older pupils may well remembering hearing it in assemblies over the years. Ms S challenges anyone not to be amazed that any human being can sing like this - and most can't.

Along with language, singing is one of remarkably few things that humans in all cultures do. We all sing and have pretty much always sung, right across the globe and through history. Some anthropologists (people who study humans) and linguists (people who study language) think singing may have evolved before language in our species.

For any of you learning instruments and singers wanting to join in next Tuesday's Tune on Tuesday, Mrs W has arranged the New Seeker's 1971 hit song, I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing. The music is in the file with the lyrics for any singers might want to join in next Tuesday at 7pm. You can hear it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlR0KElxxVg.

Meanwhile tonight it's Little Bird at 7. If you have an instrument, get it out, practice and be on your doorstep at 7 to cheer up your neighbours.

What better to welcome the springing to life of our countryside than Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony! Pastoral comes from the word pasture which means farmland. So the symphony is very much about people and nature together.

The link has a graphic score which looks at the orchestra very differently to a video or usual notation. I wonder if it helps you pick out the different instruments to see how the computer has seen them? Can you pick out the sound of an instrument you know or play? Can you tell which are played on strings and which are blown? Listen carefully. The piece lasts just over 12 minutes, your listening should make good progress if you listen right through. I bet by the end you'll be following the computer's graphic score really well. Musicians will be interested to compare the graphic score to the music they read when they are playing.

Mrs W has arranged the Old Favourite All Things Bright and Beautiful. It goes well with the Beethoven as both celebrate nature. You can hear it here sung by students and teachers at King's College Cambridge. Lots of you know it from the Big Sing and it will be great for next Tuesday at 7pm because so many people in your street will know it too. You might look at different instrument parts too - can you play them on your instrument? How do they sound?

5th May - Two pieces for VE day and our National Anthem

This piece was written in 1942 by American composer Aaron Copland, in response to the United States coming into the Second World War. The US joined on the side of the Allies which included us (the United Kingdom), the USSR (Russia and other states), the Philippenes, Mongolia, China, Free Poles, Free French and armies from India, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the West Indies. We are celebrating The Allies' victory over fascism this Friday with VE (Victory in Europe) Day. While the war went on in the far East, people in Europe were celebrating the end of a war that had begun in 1939 and engulfed the world.

The link above is the New York Symphony Orchestra but if you fancy a different take, check out this version with 1970s rock trio Emerson, Lake and Palmer hooking up with the New Philharmonic Orchestra of Frankfurt.

A fanfare is a short piece, often used to introduce something else. Most war music celebrates great generals, victories and armies but Copland's piece celebrates all those ordinary folk who supported the war effort, made huge sacrifices and worked together to defeat Hitler's Nazi regime which had overrun much of Europe. This is a bit like us coming out on Thursday to clap and appreciate the key workers in the NHS, police, schools and food suppliers who are all keeping us going. I'm using the Fanfare here to introduce one of the most famous pieces of music about peace, brotherhood (and sisterhood) in music.

There is no point in going to the trouble of winning a war if things are not better for people after it, and certainly no point in celebrating or commemorating it. On 8th May 2020, VE Day (VE stands for Victory in Europe) is very much worth commemorating. After the second world war things were, and still are, so much better in Europe; our continent has enjoyed the longest period of peace in its history. When countries come together and talk, they are less inclined to sort out their differences with fighting (it's the same in school too when people fall out). Our wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill said ‘Meeting jaw to jaw is better than war.’ After the war, institutions were set up to promote European cooperation and friendship: one of these, the United Europe Movement, was fostered by our own prime minister, Winston Churchill.

I know it's Beethoven two week's running but a celebration of the end of a war in Europe and the beginning of the longest period of peace in European history could not go without Beethoven's Ode to Joy, written in 1824 and the finale (last bit) of his ninth symphony, also called the Choral Symphony. Beethoven lived at a time when wars were common in Europe and he was passionate about European countries cooperating and working together. This is why the European Union use Ode to Joy as the European anthem. The version we have linked above was recorded in March 2020 in Leipzig, Germany, in response to the current coronavirus and the importance of men and women working together and helping each other through these difficult times. Mrs W has arranged some scores for Ode to Joy and it would be fantastic to play on VE day along with another tune to play on VE day this Friday at 7pm.

Everyone should know their National Anthem too and Kingsmead children generally know more than one verse, (unlike most of the rest of the population, Mrs W is known to opine). Mrs W has made scores for you. This clip is from 2016 when we played Germany in the Euros. National Anthems are played at international sporting events and it's important to know them so you can join in. If any Kingsmeaders ever become England footballers, they will know all the words and will be able to sing up if England make it to the finals in a World Cup or Euros!

On VE day this Friday, how about a 6pm doorstep rendition of God Save the Queen (singers welcome) with two verses to commemorate the Allies' victory in Europe, followed by Ode to Joy to celebrate the following most peaceful time in European history? Sound like a plan? We can do the whole business again the following Tuesday for the Tune on Tuesday concert at 7pm.

Originally in German, 99 Red Balloons was a big hit for Nena in the 1980s and was number 1 in the UK too. It's a song for peace, against the Cold War and encouraging people to think more deeply before they act.

America and their allies (including the UK) and the Soviet Union (Russia) stopped being allies and fell out very badly soon after the Second World War ended. The time was called the Cold War, I lived in it and at times it was really very scary. Both sides built up massive arsenals (look

up this word!) of weapons, weapons even more destructive than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945.

This led to lots of people joining a world wide peace movement and marching and writing music about a better future. The cold war came to an end, but there are still lots of things we could think more deeply about and protest about. What would you want to be different today? How can you tell people? You might write a poem, a song, an article or make a poster. There are lots of ways of telling people what you think and it's always better to do it after you have thought deeply.

The tune Mrs W has arranged this week is Over The Rainbow; you will probably know it as a song supporting our NHS but other groups, including the LGBT community use it as an anthem not celebrating the current world we live in, but the one we want to, a better world. And as humans, we have a special responsibility to make that world.

Following on from yesterday's assembly which was about how we belong to a mahoosive Nature family with all life on Earth, our massive family of Humankind and our smaller still family of Kingsmead Primary, I thought today is a good day to celebrate your smaller still families at home. This version of We Are Family, written by Nial Rogers, is by disco legends Chic but Sister Sledge and other artists have covered it. Click here to hear a mix on the theme of unity (togetherness) from Nial Rogers (can you spot two homophones in this sentence?). If any of you have caught Sophie Ellis-Bextor's kitchen disco online (it is great!). We Are Family could be great for a kitchen disco at home.

Mrs W has written out parts for the song We Are The People of Tomorrow. Year 3 and 4 have sung this at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. It's a song about the environment and the words connect to our assembly theme of our Nature Family, our cousins don't have language so we must speak for them and stick up for them, just as we would our baby brothers and sisters who can't speak for themselves.

I have chosen Pa-Pa-Pa-Papageno this week as it's one of the most joyful duets in music, and we need a bit of joy right now (I am sure it's been played in assemblies so hope some of you remember it). It's the end of the Opera, Prince Tamino and Princess Pamina are together. Papageno, the bird catcher, is sad as there seems to be no one for him. Then Papagena appears, at first disguised as an old crone. Mozart brings pa-pa-pa birdsong into the music beautifully. And it also shows how there really is someone for everyone out there. So, thinking of Monday's assembly, if you were worried about coming back into school and maybe not being able to play with your usual friends yet, you may well find someone in your group of 15 who you really spark with and you'll be singing like Papageno and Papagena with before too long!

Still on the theme of birdsong in music, Mrs W has written out La Coucou for you to play next Tuesday night at 7. Tonight we are celebrating Family from last week with People of Tomorrow.

Some music is really evocative - it tickles the memory and takes you somewhere. For Ms S, this song is evocative of happy holidays in Cornwall, when Maggie was young Maggie and we spent hours and hours on beaches, making sandcastles and hanging about in the waves. Happy days! I wonder if you have a special piece of music. I wonder what music has special memories in your family. I wonder what music you love now that will be special to your folks in the future, that reminds them of now, when you are young.

Mrs W has written out some parts for some tunes our musicians may recall from their pre-school days. Nursery rhymes can be really evocative of our earliest childhood. Are there any that resonate with you? How many can you learn to play next Tuesday. I hope lots of you will be out and ready to play La Coucou tonight. Ms S used to hear cuckoos quite often along the river but hasn't heard one for years; these intriguing birds are now endangered. We hope all our children will get to hear a real cuckoo in the wild one day.

Here's an interesting thing: when lockdown started people were saying the birdsong was much louder than they'd heard it. But, when scientists actually measured the decibels (how we measure sound) of the birdsong it was, in fact, quieter. The birds didn't need to sing so loud to be heard over the traffic and we could hear them better because the streets were quiet.

This folk song is a bit of a mystery. We don't know exactly where it came from but it is thought to be African American. One theory is that it was "originally sung by an African American slave who could not take care of her baby because she was too busy taking care of her master's child. She would sing this song to her master's child". The names of most African American slaves have been forgotten but their music still enchants and inspires musicians today.

Mrs W loves this version sung by Alfred Deller. Listen out for some nifty recorder playing. Mrs W and Ms S love the sound of a counter tenor (a man singing in a super high voice. It's quite an unnatural sound, strange, haunting and quite beautiful. Andreas Scholl singing Three Ravens is one you may have heard back on 7th April.

Here it is sung by Joan Baez, Ms S loves Joan Baez and this song was recorded in 1968, the year Ms S started school.

On Monday's assembly we were thinking about the markings of the year and we had a look at Stonehenge, built 4 and half thousand years ago and where every year on the Summer solstice, the sun rises between two giant stones. The Earth's tilting on its axis means that here on Earth we have different seasons, with different weather and longer and shorter days. It is not the tilt but the spin of the Earth though that gives us day and night over the 24 hours the Earth takes to make one full spin. When it's our daytime, the side of the Earth we happen to be on is facing towards the sun; as it moves away from the sun at night the day turns to night and we might see the moon reflected in darker skies. Massive Attack's song The Hymn of the Big Wheel is about this strange phenomenon - here we are stood here on Earth, feeling solid and still, but in reality we are hurtling through space, spinning, travelling, moving. In truth the Earth is never still, whatever we might feel it is doing!

  • What do you think the 'Big Wheel' is?

  • What does the lyric 'One man struggles, while another relaxes' mean to you about what you know about night and day and how they are part of the Earth turning in space?

Mrs W has arranged the Swallow Song for you. Swallows never get to experience a Winter Solstice as they spend their whole lives in Summertime. These tiny birds make a marvellous migration from the UK and will leave us before Winter arrives to the UK, heading South for an African summer. While we are hunkering down for the long winter months the swallows will be sunning themselves and feeding on insects in the Southern hemisphere. Once the African summer is on the wane, they will make the long journey back to the UK and will be with us for our long summer days. Look out for their forked tails as they flit through the skies.

"You'll Never Walk Alone" is a show tune from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel. It is a rousing tune and the words encourage in times of difficulty. Barbara Streisand sang it after 9/11 and has released this video to show her support for essential workers during the current Coronavirus pandemic. It was back in 1963 after Liverpool band Gerry and the Pacemakers' hit with their version that the song took off at Anfield and became the Liverpool FC anthem. For fans wanting to learn all the words check this video out.

Now we know that there are musicians at Kingsmead who support Other Teams and many aren't fagged about football at all. This year in school you can hear Tranmere on the trombone; Man U, Man City and Liverpool fans can be found in the trumpets (all getting along very nicely), Man City is on Tenor Recorder and Liverpool on the cello. Many musicians don't seem to have a football club and were there a Venn Diagram of Musician/Football Fan, there would be not so many of us in the middle. Which is neither good nor bad but is rather interesting! It is for this reason among others that Mrs W has not arranged YNWA for you to learn this week. Instead she is taking us on a tour of our British Isles.

Many great footballers and football managers came down to England from Scotland and have made great contributions to the English league: Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish as well as Alex Fergusson, David Moyes (now at West Ham) and Matt Busby at Man U. So our tour of the British Isles starts on the West Coast of Scotland, looking out over Kyle of Lochalsh to Skye. The song remembers when Bonnie Prince Charlie who had led the Scottish Jacobite rebellion south as far as Derby. After his defeat in 1746, he legged it back to France via the Isle of Skye. But that's another story. The Skye Boat Song is beautiful and musicians will know the tune.

Our tour of the UK which began in Liverpool and headed North to the Isle of Skye on the West Coast of Scotland, heads south once more to Wales, to the west of the British mainland. Like You'll Never Walk Alone, this tune is one heard at sporting events. It was first called Glan Rhondda (Banks of the Rhondda), when it was composed. It's name changed to the more famous "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau" and it has been used as an unofficial Welsh anthem since 1905, when it was first sung by fans at rugby games. "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau" became more popular than official anthems and 1975 sports officials decided that "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau" should be sung alone. Like other British anthems, it has not been established as a national anthem by law, but it has been used as a national anthem at official governmental ceremonies, including the opening of the Welsh Assembly, the parliament in Wales. It is recognised and used as an anthem at both national and local events in Wales.

Opera singer Sir Bryn Terfel, winner of Cardiff Singer of Year, sings it in celebration of his homeland.

Here are the Welsh Rugby team singing it at the Six Nations in 2019.

And you may remember singing it in Big Sing with Mrs W! The scores are here for you to play. I know a lot of you are looking forward to days out and holidays in Wales, so here's a tune to get you yearning for The Valleys!

Johnny Cash and Eva Cassidy are just two artists who have recorded this traditional Irish tune. This new arrangement is a version from 2016. Also called the Londonderry Air, it is said this is the only Irish tune where a father declares his love for his son. It is particularly loved by Irish American and Irish Canadians, descendents of immigrants who crossed the Atlantic to America, often to escape poverty and famine in Ireland. Many people in the United States and Canada are the descendents of refugees and asylum seekers. You may have heard us play it in Band where it has been a firm favourite and part of our repertoire over many years.

Mrs W has made three new folders of music: Cockles and Mussels might remind you of the seaside, Leaving of Liverpool is what we hope Jurgen Klopp will never do and Seed Song and Old Macdonald are seasonal as the harvest comes in and we get ready for the Autumn term.

orchestras and ensembles shared their love of music in lockdown

Make a hosepipe horn

Listen to some virtuoso spoon playing, raid your cutlery drawer and play the spoons!

OAE tots - for the youngest music lovers from 2 years old from from Sunday 3rd May at 10.30.

Musicians On Call - a small group of OAE musicians visiting care settings around the UK to perform, talk and make music with the residents in an informal way. We play a wide variety of music, from renaissance to baroque to folk.

Kingsmead culture correspondents Joe and Mollie enjoyed the royal ballet school / Royal Ballet performance of Peter and the Wolf.

Peter and the Wolf performed by The Royal Ballet was very engaging to watch. I liked how all the different characters have different instruments that they performed to. My favourite character was The Duck because she had a little tail of feathers that she kept waggling. I thought if you didn't have the narrator you could still sense what was happening. It was a very good performance from the Royal Ballet and if someone said 'Peter and The Wolf', I will forever think of that performance.

Thank you Mollie and Joe. We hope your review will encourage others to enjoy the performance and some of you may have fun getting your teddies to play the different parts. You could give your folks a concert!