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

“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

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


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

Exercise from Emile Jaques-Dalcroze

Plastique Exercise from Emile Jaques-Dalcroze Originally posted October, 2006. This is an interesting exercise from Jaques-Dalcroze's "Exercices de Plastique Animee," Vol. I.1 Piano accompaniment for the melody is contained in his previous Marches Rhythmiques,2 and I'm also including that music here (with free PDF download). Let's start with the main exercise from the Plastique volume, [...]

By | 2018-06-18T13:53:59+00:00 March 8, 2015|0 Comments

February: Games For President’s Day

For President's Day (Originally posted in February, 2007) While I don't like the idea of using music primarily to teach "academics," I do think incorporating non-musical themes and topics in music classes can add interest. Here are a few ideas for Presidents Day which I've tweaked or made up, in hopes they're useful to readers. [...]

By | 2015-08-29T18:20:04+00:00 February 6, 2015|0 Comments

Three Clock Songs

Songs about clocks are a familiar way to teach beat, division and multiple. Here are three clock songs for various age groups. The three durations invite all kinds of possibilities. For example, create three groups of children to enact them, each taking a different role; provide a different instrument for each (such as cymbal, triangle, [...]

By | 2015-08-29T17:32:15+00:00 September 2, 2013|0 Comments