For Children

Miss Hill’s Valentine

Mildred J. Hill's Valentine Although she is known as the composer of “Happy Birthday to You,” Mildred J. Hill wrote numerous children’s songs for her sister Patty’s Kindergarten School. You might be surprised to know that she also composed many other works now available online. Some are sketched in pencil, others penned as manuscript, and several [...]

By |2020-02-13T20:55:12-05:00February 12, 2020|0 Comments

Classic Children’s Poems for Spring

Classic Children's Poems for Spring Here is a trio of classic children's poems that can make beautiful little studies for classes in music and/or dance. You could focus on the rhythms, create a movement study with students, or lead them to sing the verses with melody or to add a percussion accompaniment. Or, why not [...]

By |2019-05-11T16:29:35-04:00May 11, 2019|0 Comments

The Cat is in the Snow

January, 2019 The Cat is in the Snow This song, "The Cat is in the Snow," came to me through an old family book. I brought the book to school to share with my students one day. It was a kick for them to see something so old that I’d had it as a child myself. [...]

By |2019-02-16T22:33:16-05:00January 26, 2019|0 Comments

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 |2019-04-17T10:19:38-04:00May 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 |2017-01-24T23:19:26-05:00January 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 |2018-06-18T13:51:21-04:00January 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 |2015-12-04T01:39:04-05:00September 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 |2015-09-13T20:24:01-04:00August 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 |2015-08-29T19:39:11-04:00August 29, 2015|0 Comments

“Honeybee”

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