For Children

Raisins and Almonds and Mother’s Day

Wanting to post something for Mother's Day, I looked through various Wegenlieder, Berceuses, and skipped past the countless WWI-era soldiers' songs for their mothers. Eventually, I thought I'd write something related to my own mother. She was a pianist, with long fingers I wish I'd inherited. Born Claire Marie Christy in rural Ramona Oklahoma, she was encouraged by her teacher to [...]

By | 2018-06-18T14:01:39+00:00 May 14, 2017|0 Comments

Bill T. Jones and Winterreise

In New England, deep snowfalls were frequent when I was a child. Wearing rubber galoshes that  went on over our shoes, my sisters and I lifted our knees high to puncture the icy crust. It helps, when you're small and the snow is above your knees, to step inside the leg-holes your older sisters have already [...]

By | 2017-01-24T23:19:26+00:00 January 24, 2017|0 Comments

Roses in Winter – An Art Song Unearthed

Roses in Winter You might not agree that this little art song is anything special, but it captivated me. “Roses in Winter” is another result of my internet archeology via IMSLP. Composed by Arthur Foote on a poem by Philip Bourke Marston, it's a piece I can't find a recording of anywhere -- which makes it more [...]

By | 2018-06-18T13:51:21+00:00 January 9, 2016|0 Comments

A Piano Piece I call “Debbie Downer”

I LOVE browsing The International Music Score Library Project !! It's like rummaging through music at an antiques shop, but without the dust (well, hopefully). This little piece  (<- click for the PDF) by Finnish composer Erkki Melartin had me laughing by the second phrase. I'm not sure what he had in mind, but it reminded me of Debbie Downer (who even has her [...]

By | 2015-12-04T01:39:04+00:00 September 14, 2015|0 Comments

“The Charming Shepherdess” for Piano

(Originally posted January, 2007) What's in a title? Sometimes, inspiration! Here are a few playful ideas for piano students who enjoy creative play at the piano, or for yourself -- whether for your own enjoyment or to add to a lesson for your classes. Among my antiquarian music collection are pieces with titles that are funny [...]

By | 2015-09-13T20:24:01+00:00 August 29, 2015|0 Comments

“Little Ants”

Here's a tune from 1893, adapted slightly to create a miniature solfege study for young children. The song was originally designed as a fingerplay: closed hands make the ant hill; fingers open one at a time on the numbers. It's still useful that way, especially for teaching finger numbers. As a variation, assign five children [...]

By | 2015-08-29T19:39:11+00:00 August 29, 2015|0 Comments


Here's another treasure from the past, found in Robert Foresman's First Book of Songs (American Book Company). Based on a German folk song, "Honeybee" uses a consistent rhythmic pattern, entirely anapestic (short-short-long). The pattern occurs within each beat in the first measure of each line, and then it's augmented to span two beats for the second [...]

By | 2015-08-29T19:38:04+00:00 March 9, 2015|0 Comments

Winter: Two Rounds

These rounds are from a 1906 school music book, "New Educational Music Course: First Reader" (Ginn & Co.). "The Winds" "The Winds" makes an interesting study, not only for its use of beat and multiple together, but also for the three personalities of the West, East, and South winds. The lyrics and dynamics of each [...]

By | 2015-08-29T18:11:03+00:00 March 9, 2015|0 Comments

March: Ten Variations for Marching

Ten Variations on "March" I like the idea of playing with the "march" in March. Children enjoy the relation of the words, and for classes that began in the Fall, the month of March is a good time to revisit this familiar movement with new variations -- particularly those exploring spatial design, and direction. Some [...]

By | 2015-08-29T15:46:43+00:00 March 9, 2015|0 Comments