Music @ Home

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


Musicians (past and present) are warmly invited to learn a tune each week and on the following Tuesday at 7pm, share with each other and neighbours from our doorsteps. Because we can't play together everyone has the tune but this means an important thing - not all instruments will sound well together so perhaps, if several of you are in earshot of one another, you might want to form an orderly, socially distanced queue and play one instrument after the other. Remember to listen nicely and give your friends and neighbours a clap!

Mrs W is thinking of you and has made sure you all have some music to practice while we are largely confined to barracks. It's a shame we can't meet up and ensembles are off the menu for now. We know that practice is not so much fun as when we all play together but just think how AMAZING we will be if we all practice Tuesday tunes, orchestra or band pieces for around 5-10 minutes a day.

Your neighbours may be sad indoors on their own. If it's a nice day, you might want to practice in the garden and cheer them up. Perhaps you could share your Al Fresco practice with Kingsmead Parish Council. Get your folks to send Ms S a short video and I'll tweet you and post on our Virtual Gallery.

Don't stop the music! - Ms Stewart :-)

Music Scores

The music scores above have suggested instruments but the important thing is to find one you can play. If your instrument isn't on a set, have a look and see if there's another part you can play.

Learning at home with

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.

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.

This person looks familiar...

It's Mrs W on the cello! Out on the street for VE day and like our musicians, playing GSTQ (along with other music from the war years). Socially distanced but still sharing the music!

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!

previous tuesday tunes to enjoy

19th May 2020

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 you 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 made by Nial 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.

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.

5th May 2020

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.

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?

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:

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.

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.

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.

Ms S was five when this came on the Mama Cass. 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. Ms S read that she 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. 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.

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?