Lesson 1.1.8 Worksheet songs

Here are the songs that you should listen to, write down first in Solfa and then in rhythm notation. The answers are here.

The EXAMPLE looks and sounds like this:

d            m          f           m

d     m     f    m   dm  fm d

dmfm example





Here are the rest to notate in Solfa and rhythm:





Thirds, Fifths, and Triads

We have started planting interval seeds. Last week we learned about seconds, thirds, fourths, and fifths. We practiced fifths (d-s) all week.

This week we’re focusing on thirds (d-m and s-m). There are two kinds of thirds we’re going to plant in our brains: major thirds (d-m or m-d) and minor thirds (m-s or s-m).

snowman triad


And last of all we’re going to plant a triad seed in our brain. A triad is a major third (d-m) plus a minor third (m-s), which makes the fifth (d-s) that we learned last week. When the notes are stacked up on top of each other like a snowman (d-m-s), it’s a chord called a triad. We call the do of any triad the ROOT. (Great word for planting a triad in our brains, right? From seeds sprout roots! I love it!)




Here are some songs you know that will help you remember the sound of thirds in music:

Major third: “Mary Had a Little Lamb” or “Do a Deer” (the lines that say “a female deer”)

Minor third: “Rain, Rain” or “So Long, Farewell” (from “The Sound of Music”)

And here’s a song my daughter brought home to learn for her choir recently. In googling a video of it, I realized that this song has been sung by gospel choirs around the globe! . But the song originally was “a 1967 gospel music arrangement of an 18th-century hymn” (Wikipedia) that Edwin Hawkins wrote for his group, the Edwin Hawkins singers.

The first 4 notes are thirds–la to do is a minor third and do to mi is a major third. (“Oh, Happy Day”) (la-do-do-mi).

Here’s the same song sung by a boy in Brazil. At about 0:49, you’ll here some more familiar intervals you might recognize! What do you hear?

Here’s a song written just about major and minor thirds! It gets a little confusing until you understand that he’s singing about the middle note (mi) of the triad, and whether it’s minor or major. We’ll learn more about that another day!

Bow hold video

One of our students made a “How to hold your bow” video to earn extra smiles! Way to go!

It’s not hard to make a video! All you need is someone who has a smartphone to record you. Then you can email it to me, and I’ll upload it to YouTube, and post it here! Remember: Your video doesn’t have to be “perfect” since none of us is a “perfect” musician yet! But we can give each other good ideas and help each other learn by sharing what we know!

Music and the weather

Music can help us express how we experience the world around us. I especially enjoy music about the weather! Here is a list I found today of some great songs that reflect the many moods of our natural world (google any one of these to find a video you enjoy!):


Antonio Vivaldi – “The Four Seasons”

Astor Piazzolla – “Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas,” or “Four Seasons of Buenos Aires”

Joseph Haydn – “The Seasons”

Alexander Glazunov – “The Seasons,” Op. 67

Piotr Tchaikovsky – “The Seasons,” Op. 37b

Jean-Baptiste Lully – “Les Saisons”

John Cage – “The Seasons” (1947 ballet score for Merce Cunningham)

James DeMars – Piano Concerto, “The Seasons”

Charles-Valentin Alkan – “Les Mois”

By individual seasons


Robert Schumann – Symphony No. 1, “Spring”

Johann Strauss II – “Voices of Spring,” waltz

Christian Sinding – “Rustle of Spring”

Edvard Grieg – “To Spring”

Igor Stravinsky – “The Rite of Spring”

Ludwig van Beethoven – Violin Sonata No. 5, Op. 24, “Spring”

Richard Strauss – “Fruhling,” from “Four Last Songs”

Benjamin Britten – “Spring Symphony”

John Knowles Paine – “In Spring,” symphony

Claude Debussy – “Rondes de Printemps” for orchestra, from “Images”

Aaron Copland – “Appalachian Spring”

Richard Wagner – “Du bist der Lenz,” from “Valkyrie”

William Bolcom – “Spring Concertino” for oboe and small orchestra


Felix Mendelssohn – “Midsummer Night’s Dream” overture and incidental music

Hector Berlioz – “Les Nuits d’Ete,” song cycle


R. Strauss – “September,” from “Four Last Songs”

Grieg – “In Autumn,” overture

Debussy – “Feuilles Mortes” or “Dead Leaves,” from Preludes, Book II


Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 1, Op. 13, “Winter Dreams”

Franz Schubert – “Die Winterreise,” song cycle

Wagner – “Wintersturme,” aria from “Valkyrie”



Beethoven – Symphony No. 6, Op. 68, “Pastoral”

Gioacchino Rossini – Overture to “William Tell”

Wagner – Prelude to “Valkyrie”

Beethoven – Piano Sonata No. 17, Op. 31, No. 2, “Tempest”

Wagner – Opening of “Flying Dutchman”

Giuseppe Verdi – Storm in “Otello”

Vivaldi – Concerto “La Tempesta di Mare”

Berlioz – “Royal Hunt and Storm,” from “Les Troyens,” Act IV


Haydn – “Four Last Words of Christ”


Alfredo Catalani – Opera “La Wally” ends with an avalanche


R. Strauss – opening of “Thus Spake Zarathustra”

Maurice Ravel – “Daphnis et Chloe”

Haydn – Symphony No. 6, “Morning”

Ferde Grofe – “Sunrise,” from “Grand Canyon Suite”


Debussy – “La Terrasse des audiences du clair de lune,” from Preludes, Book II

Debussy – “Clair de Lune” for piano, from “Suite Bergamasque”

Beethoven – Piano Sonata No. 14, Op. 27, No. 2, “Moonlight”


Frederic Chopin – Prelude, Op. 28, No. 10, “Raindrop”

Debussy – “Jardins sous le pluie,” from “Estampes” for piano

Grofe – “Cloudburst,” from “Grand Canyon Suite”

Johannes Brahms – Violin Sonata No. 1, Op. 78, “Regenlied,” or “Rain Song”


Debussy – “West Wind,” from Preludes, Book 1

R. Strauss – “Alpine Symphony”

Alkan – “Le Vent” and, from Op. 39 Etudes, “Comme le Vent”


Debussy – “Nuages”

Franz Liszt – “Nuages Gris”


Leopold Mozart – “Musical Sleighride”

Debussy – “Footsteps in the Snow,” from Preludes, Book 1

Debussy – “The Snow Is Dancing,” from “Children’s Corner,” for piano


Debussy – “Brouillards,” from Preludes, Book 2

1.1.7 Let’s Eat!

For this week’s practicing, I have prepared some audio files of folk songs (click on the link) that you will do on your worksheet. (You can also find this page under the FREE MUSIC tab.) I’ve also made some audio files of our songs to which you can practice. I hope you will use both of them!

d-s interval (5x) 

Apple Seed 

Secret Recipe 

Making Music (for those of you who have the other two songs down correctly at 60 bpm) 

Happy Practicing!

Mrs. Livingston 🙂



Two voices at once

I was completely delighted to receive an email from one of my students’ families this week with a link to a podcast interview with Simone Dinnerstein, a pianist who loves to go “Bachpacking,” or visiting public schools to share her love of Bach and his “Inventions” (short pieces he wrote to help piano students as exercises, kind of like our “What’s My Secret Recipe?” song, but TONS better.)

Listening to that podcast led me to Simone’s website, on which is a video. Please click on that link and watch this video since she talks about how the two hands in the invention she plays are playing two separate songs at the same time. That is just what we are trying to learn to do in Beginning Orchestra!

Our “Apple Seed” and “Recipe” songs are nothing like Bach’s! They don’t even sound perfect together! But they help you to learn to listen BOTH to yourself AND to someone else at the same time.

This is a really important skill that you will need to learn as you play in an orchestra (or sing in a choir, or accompany someone in a song, or have someone accompany you…). Learning to LISTEN makes you a good member of any kind of ensemble (=French for “together”) group. (A musical ensemble can be a duo, trio, quartet, chamber orchestra, orchestra, symphony, choir, etc.)

Notice how they try to sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and “Twinkle, Twinkle” at the same time? 🙂

So when you practice singing your songs together, one thing that can help you hear yourself if to put one finger in one ear while you sing. It will seem to amplify your voice within your head while still allowing you to hear the other person.

Here’s perhaps the first classical music video I’ve ever seen. It’s Simone performing a piece an album she recorded of from Bach and Schubert (two great classical composers) while showing photos and video from her life:

One of the things I love about this video is the QUIET–no words–just the lovely music. So you can THINK. Lots to think about!

(This was the kind of music I was fortunate enough to fall asleep to at night, played by my mother on our piano in the family room beneath my bedroom. Now you know why I love it!)

Quick, quick, slow and some (Africanized) eighth notes

Yesterday we learned about eighth notes. When we sing or play to notes to only ONE beat, we know these are eighth notes. Why? We have just divided our one (quarter) note in half. And that’s just math: divide 1/4 in half and you get 1/8. Picture cutting an apple into 4 pieces. Each piece is 1/4 of the apple. Then cut the 1/4 slice into two pieces, and you have two 1/8 slices. That’s the same as dividing a quarter note beat in half.

We can sing it “tee tee” or “quick quick” or “ap-ple” or the whole “quick, quick slow” (eighth, eighth, quarter) as “cherry pie.” (Cherries kind of remind me of 2 eighth notes joined together.)








Remember when we sang the ABC song in class? Our metronome was sounding off the beats for us, and each letter got one beat, until we got to “G,” which got two beats, so we knew it was a half note. Then we keep singing at one letter per beat until we got to “L-M-N-O.” “L-M” and “N-O” are all eighth notes, and when you write it down, be sure you remember to join the sticks at the top with a bar like it shows below:

notes notation


(Remember that this is not the way the notes look on a piece of sheet music; this is just how we write it down when we’re composing music or writing down something we’re hearing, so we can be faster.)



So the first part of the ABC song up until “P” would look something like this:

ABC song first line notation







ABC song notation with letters







Now, here comes the fun part: Listen for those “quick quick slow” rhythms in the music you hear! Today I heard it in this song by Alex Boyé and The Piano Guys. See if YOU can hear it! (Pay attention at 1:10…)

Don’t you love that beautiful playing?  Notice the way the performers all show how they feel about their music?  How do their expressions make it more fun to watch? Remember how we raise the bow at the end of a song to let the sound ring? Yep. So when you practice (violinists and violists), “zip and step” your feet and be firmly rooted to the ground like a tree so that you can sway with the “breeze” of your music as you feel it! Cellists, sit up tall and show you are proud to play! Have fun!

P.S. Want to see another cool “Africanized” song? Here’s a children’s choir singing with Alex Boyé the song “Let it Go” from “Frozen.”


Can you hear any eighth notes? 🙂

Tempo: in a heartbeat

Tempo means “time” in Italian, and it measures how fast or slow the beat of a song moves.

We measure tempo in beats per minute (bpm). This is great, because we all can relate to how many beats per minute our heart is beating.

We know that a resting heart rate should be slower than when we get up and walk, jog, run, or sprint. (Here’s a fun activity for you: print out this chart and find your heart rate during these activities.)

Sometimes there is a quarter note followed by a number that you might see at the beginning of a song, like:

quarter note=120

That tells how fast the beat goes in that song. Also, you might see other “tempo marking” terms that describe how fast or slow a piece should go. Here are a few you may have heard of before:

lento (=rather slowly, around 40 bpm)

adagio (=slowly, around 60 bpm)

andante (=walking pace, about 75 bpm)

andantino (=a little faster than andante, about 80 bpm)

moderato (=moderately fast, about 90 bpm)

allegro (=quick and cheerful, around 120 bpm)

vivace (=quick and lively, around 140 bpm)

presto (=fast, around 170 bpm)

prestissimo (=very fast, 180 bpm or more)

(For more terms, go here.)

Look at this piece of music (click on the link to view). Can you find a tempo marking, either in the number of in a word?

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik sheet music page*

See anything on this page**?

Why do you think they didn’t include a tempo marking?

How do these terms match up with your own heart rate doing different activities? When you run, is your heart rate allegro?

You can understand why different pieces of music are named after their tempo marking, such as in a concerto. Here’s an example in a famous piece by Mozart called “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.” It has more than one part to the piece. This part is called “Allegro:”

The song begins at 2:12. But there is lots to learn from watching before the music begins, such as from which side of the stage the musicians enter, how they tune, how the conductor enters, what he does before he begins conducting, etc.)

Antonio Vivaldi wrote some songs that he called “The Four Seasons” and named them each after a season. Notice the tempos he chose to describe each season.

In this video, Spring is played at 96 bpm (andante). Summer begins around 74 bpm (adagio) and then picks up up 108 bpm (moderato), then slows down again. Fall begins and stays at about 114 bpm (moderato) until it takes a big drop in tempo for a while before speeding up to around 134 bpm (allegretto). Winter stays at around 152, except for a little slowing towards the end, followed by accellerando to about 160 bpm at the very end.

If you were to write a song about a season, which tempo would you pick?

When you write your next song, be sure to choose a tempo for how slow or fast you want your song performed!

*This music comes from this webpage.

**This song came from this website.

Lift, place bowing: Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp K.299, Andantino

When you watch the violinists at the beginning of this piece, did you notice them lifting and placing their bows?

Did you see their bow holds? What about their shoulders?

Did you notice how the bows are going parallel to the bridge and the end of the fingerboard?

The violinists (and other string player) sometimes wiggle their left hand as they play. That’s called vibrato. (We learn that later on, after we get really good at placing each finger and moving our fingers around the fingerboard.)

Did you notice that everyone waited for the conductor and that the conductor looked to the soloists (the flute and harp players) before beginning the piece?

Did you see that everyone is dressed in black?

This lovely piece of music is part of a concerto, which is a song made up of 3 parts, or “movements.” The movements are named after the feeling or tempo of the part. Andantino means “slightly faster than walking pace.” Do you remember which language these musical terms comes from? Yes! Italian!

Mozart wrote this concerto, and this video is the movement andantino. Can you close your eyes and see if you can figure out the approximate bpm (beats per minute)? Remember that 60 bpm is 1 beat per second, so something slower than one beat per second would be fewer beats per minute and something faster than that would be more beats per minute. Andantino is often around 80 bpm (just a hint!).

The K in the name of this piece (K.299) stands for Köchel, the last name of a man (Ludwig von Köchel) who made a chronological list of all of Mozart’s pieces (“works”). The number stands for the number of the piece in that list. There are 629 works catalogued on his list!

Here’s some trivia for you: notice which fingers the harpist uses when he plays? Never the pinky finger! Also, did you know that flutes can be made out of nickel, silver, brass, and wood, or some are even made of gold! (A famous flutist named James Galway wrote a book about his life and career called The Man with the Golden Flute. He has a photo of himself holding his golden flute on the cover.)

Here is a video of a young harpist playing another Mozart concerto. (Check out the pinkies!) You can just leave this on as fabulous background music if you don’t want to watch it all…