Elementary School Music Library

One of the first tasks of creating a music program in a school is to begin building a music library. As with anything, you start where you are and use what resources are available to you.

When we started to build our children’s elementary school library, I did a little investigating to see what our school already had. I found a place to store the music in a closet. I reached out to people that I knew had taught elementary school choirs and used wonderful music and asked them for sheet music suggestions. Some people, when they heard what we were trying to accomplish, donated music to us.

We held a fundraiser (a concert and art show) and raised money to buy music and art supplies. We split the funds that we raised between the two programs, and we purchased music stands and sheet music, and that’s how it all began!

Here is the library that after five years or so of building, we have ended up with. (I have posted it here to give ideas for some music that is available for elementary music programs.)

13 flexible black binders

My First Piano Adventure: Lesson Book A: Pre-Reading (with CD)
Steady Beat On White Keys
Introduction To The Black Keys
Forte And Piano
The Quarter Note
The Half Note
The Whole Note
The Music Alphabet- A B C D E F G
The C 5-Finger Scale
Staff Preparation
My First Piano Adventure: Lesson Book B: Steps On The Staff (with CD)
Review Of Book A
Orientation To The Grand Staff
Reading Steps In The Bass Clef
Time Signatures:4/4 and 3/4
Eight Notes On The Grand Staff
Nine Notes On The Grand Staff
C 5-Finger On The Grand Staff
Tie And Quarter Rest
My First Piano Adventure: Lesson Book C: Skips On The Staff
Review Of Book B
Skips For The Right Hand
More Skill With Skips
Three New Terms: Ritardando, Accent, Tempo
Skips For The Left Hand
Space-To-Space Skips
More About The Bass Clef
Hands-Together Playing


The Complete Choral Warm-Up Book

I Believe In Springtime(40 copies) by John Rutter (includes orchestration for violin I, II, & III, viola, cello, bass, flute I & II, oboe, clarinet I & II, French horn I & II, and harp–for an intermediate orchestra)

Foothill School Song (“The Explorers”) by Shawna Belt Edwards and Liz Livingston (available online)

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes by Mack David, Al Hoffman, and Jerry Livingston (3 copies)

All Things Bright and Beautiful by John Rutter (3 copies) for Two-Part Choir with Keyboard

America the Beautiful arr. by John Kinyan (3 copies) Two-Part with Piano

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy by Don Raye and Hughie Prince, arr. by Ed Lojeski (SSA) (3 copies)

Best Friends Music by Carmino Ravosa Words by Margaret Jones

Billboard Song/Music and Lyric Sheet

Boy’s Songs from Musicals includes CD with accompaniment tracks; includes the following songs:
Casey Junior
Catch a Falling Star
I Need to Know
I’m Late
Let’s Go Fly a Kite
Never Smile at a Crocodile
Prince Ali
The Unbirthday Song
The Wells Fargo Wagon
The Wonderful Thing about Tiggers

Chase Your Blues Away by Patsy Ford Simms (2-part) (3 copies)

Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy by Harry Stonet and Jack Stapp (3 copies)

Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep by Irving Berlin, arr. by Cristi Cary Miller (2-Part) (3 copies)

Cover the World with Love (optional sign language) by Jerry Estes (2-Part SSA with Piano) (3 copies)

Duetto buffo di due gatti (Duet for Two Cats) by G. Rossini (2 copies)

Evening Prayer by Engelbert Humperdink arr. by Audrey Synder (3 copies)

Family Favorites: The Best of Tom Chapin  includes the following songs:
Alphabet Soup
The Backwards Birthday Party
Family Tree
Good Garbage
Great Big Words
Happy Birthday
Library Song
A Mozart Duet
This Pretty Planet
Together Tomorrow
Uh Oh, Accident
What Is A Didjeridoo?

Fill the World With Love by Lesile Bricusse (2 copies)

A Gaelic Blessing by John Rutter (3 copies) for upper voices (SSA) with organ

Getting to Know You by Rodger and Oscar Hammerstein  (3 copies)

Glorious by Stephanie Mabey, arr. Masa Fukuda

Home by Greg Holden and Drew Pearson (2 copies)

Homeward Bound by Marta Keen arr. Jay Althouse (1 copy) (SSA) with Piano

I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing by Bill Backer, Billy Davis, Roger Cook, and Roger Greenway and arr. by Greg Gilpin (2-Part), (3 copies)

I Got Rhythm by Ira and George Gershwin

It’s a Small World by Richard and Robert Sherman arr. by David Fiorenza

Look to the Rainbow by Burton Lane and E.Y. Harburg (3 copies)

Music K-8 Volume ? No. ?
I Spy
The Body Rock Song
She Made Henry Eat Onions
We’ll Remember You
The Kindergarten School Song
We Can Make A Difference
The Future’s Calling Us
Wide Open Spaces
It’s A Fine Day
This Flag We Fly
Dare To Dream
He’s There For Me
Nothing Rhymes With Orange
Furry Leez
A Bunch Of Animals
Happy Kitty/Woeful Kitty
Chicken Rap
¡Hasta La Vista!

The Music Connection 2, includes the following songs, (with accompanying CD, Teacher Resource Book, Orff Orchestrations, and Listening Guide)
Down, Down Baby
Springtime Has Come
Shake Hands, Mary
Let’s Go Fly A Kite
Oh, Watch The Stars
Shake Them ‘Simmons Down
Rock About My Saro Jane
Old Dan Tucker
One, Two Three, Alary
How Good And Joyous
Waddaly Atcha
Ise Oluwa
Old John Braddelum
Michael, Row The Boat Ashore
Little Boy Song
Lone Star Trail
My Twenty Pennies
Counting Up The Dinosaur
Get On Board
Little Wheel A-Turnin’
From A Lovely Root
Mama Paquita
If All The Raindrops
Temple Bell
Hawaiian Rainbows
Cradle Hymn
Don Alfonso
Animals On Parade
The Sun
Chatter With The Angels
Rabbit Footprints
Circus Parade
My Father’s House
Good Mornin’, Blues
Falling Rain
It’s Me!
Way Down Yonder In The Schoolyard
Best Friends
That’s What Friends Are For
Donne-Moi La Main
I’m Flying Home
Same Train
Come Sailing With Me
The Crocodile
I Had An Old Coat
The Flower
Sweet Potatoes
My Farm
Awake! Awake!
Ev’rybody’s Welcome
Mission Control
San Severino
Working Together
Ribbon Dance
Ball-Bouncing Song
Che Che Koolay
A Whale Of A Tale
Recycle Rap
From Sea To Shining Sea
It’s Raining, It’s Raining
There Once Was A Witch
Halloween Is A Very Unusual Night
Over The River And Through The Wood
Jingle Bells
Jolly Old Sint Nicholas
La Piñata
Silent Night
Zumba, Zumba
Free At Last
Oh, Freedom
Chinese New Year
Las Mañanitas
America, I Hear You Singing
Ev’rybody Smiles In The Same Language
You’re A Friend Of Mine
People What’s A Teacher To Do
We Speak The Same Language
A Little Bit More A Love
Proud To Be An American
Miss White Had A Fright
Bobby Shafto
Rain, Rain
Pease Porridge Hot
Bounce High, Bounce Low
Rocky Mountain
Here Comes A Bluebird
Are You Sleeping
I See The Moon
Yellow Bird
I Bought Me A Cat
Old MacDonald
Bow Wow Wow
Knock The Cymbals
Hot Cross Buns
Frosty Weather
Let Us Chase The Squirrel
All Around The Buttercup
Jim-Along, Josie
Christmas Day Is Come
Santa’s Arrival
Bye, Bye, Baby
Suo Gan
When I’m Dancing
Great Big House
Button, You Must Wander
Little Spider
Rocky Mountain
Somebody Loves Me
Leila A Pretty Girl
Dog And Cat
Old Ark
Canoe Song
My Owlet
Come Out Tonight
Hush, Hush
Black Snake
Cut The Cake
I Want To Be A Farmer
Peas In The Pot
My Mama’s Calling Me
Mystery Song

The Music Collection:Bridges To Asia (With Accompanying CD)
Jan Ken Pon
Hitotsu Toya
Niu Lang Zhi Nü
Yüe Liang Wan Wan
Yü Guang Guang
Go Hyang Eü Bohm
Dok Djampa
Cho’i Hát Bôi
Bat Kim Thang
Chim Da Da
Orphan’s Song
Santa Clara

My Favorite Things by Hammerstein and Richard Rodgers

No Man Is An Island by Joan Whitney and Alex Framer, arr. by Wlater Ehret, Two-Part SA (3 copies)

Orpheus and His Lute 

Over the Rainbow by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, arr. by Audrey Synder

Pure Imagination by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley (3 copies)

Shake the Papaya Down  by Ruth E. Dwyer and Judith Waller, Three-Part Treble Voices with Keyboard accompaniment (1 copy)

Silver Burdett Centennial Songbook  includes the following songs:

This Land Is Your Land
My Country, Tis of Thee
America, the Beautiful
Yankee Doodle
It’s a Small World
The Star-Spangled Banner
This Old Man
Don Gato
Battle Hymn of the Republic
Erie Canal
O, Susanna
She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain
If You’re Happy
Jingle Bells
Polly Wolly Doodle
Over the River
Skip to My Lou
Old Joe Clark
You’re a Grand Old Flag
Blue-Tail Fly
Mister Frog Went A-Courtin’
Marching to Pretoria
Best Friends
Old Dan Tucker
Little Ducks
Old MacDonald
I’ve Been Working on the Railroad
Silent Night
All Night, All Day
When the Saints Go Marching In
Michael, Row the Boat Ashore
Eensy Weensy Spider
Mama Paquita
He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands
The LIttle White Duck
Hush, Little Baby
Billy Boy
Skin and Bones
Clap Your Hands
John Henry
Shoo, Fly
If I Had a Hammer
Scratch, Scratch
Home on the Range
Going over the Sea

Simple Gifts arr. by Ruth Elaine Schram (SSA) accompanied, with optional flute (1 copy)

Solos from Musicals for Kids  includes CD with accompaniment tracks and vocal tracks; includes these songs:
The Bare Necessities
Be Kind to Your Parents
Beauty and the Beast
Born to Entertain
Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep
Gary, Indiana
I Whistle a Happy Tune
Part of Your World
Where Is  Love?

There’s A Frog On The Loose!
There’s A Frog On The Loose
The Grasshopper and The Frog
Squid and Froglegs
My Guppy
There’s A Big Alligator
There Once Was A Hippo
Lazy Animals
I Had A Cow
My Pig
Stepped On A Beetle
Squirmy Caterpillars
Lady Bug
Funny Little Goat
One Little Chicken
Come Along Myra
Farmer Brown Has A Headache
My Little Dog
My Hound’s Just A Whinin’
Dumplin’ Stew
Miss Nudgley
Sally Brown
Jennifer Allen

We’re Building a Musical Legacy (written for Foothill Choirs and Orchestra) (also available online)

When You Believe (from the movie “Prince of Egypt”) by Stephen Schwartz, arr by Audrey Snyder and John Moss, 2-Part (3 copies) (has a section in Hebrew)

You Can Count on Me by Sammy Cahn and Norman Monath arr. George Swietlicki for SA and Piano (3 copies)

You’re a Grand Old Flag words and music by George Cohan, arr. by Greg Gilpin

You’ve Got Gold Inside of You by Liz Livingston, Tanya Barkdull, and Barbara McConochie (available online at www.freedeliciousmusic.org).

Zum Gali Gali  2 Part with drum and flute, arr. by Greg Gilpin


A Special Night by Don Besig (Christmas; Two-Part)

December’s Keep (Two-Part) by F. Chopin words and arr. by Greg Gilpin (3 copies)

Dona Nobis Pacem

Dormi, Dormi (Sweetly Slumber) Italian carol, arr. by  Mary Goetze (Unison)

Heri Za Krismas (Christmas; Two-Part)

I’m Gonna E-Mail Santa by Benson, Morton, and Chowning, arr. by Jerry Ray (2-Part) (2 copies)

A little Christmas Music and lyrics by Jerry Herman

The International Book of Christmas Carols, includes the following songs:
We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Good Christian Men, Rejoice
The Seven Joys Of Mary
This Endris Night
Good King Wenceslas
Coventry Carol
When Christ Was Born Of Mary Free
The Holly And The Ivy
The Friendly Beasts
The First Nowell
Joy To The World
What Child Is This
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks
Gloucestershire Wassail
The Boar’s Head Carol
Wassail Song
The Twelve Days Of Christmas
On Christmas Night(Sussex Carol)
Blessed Be That Maid Marie
A Virgin Unspotted
Once In Royal David’s City
Sleep, Holy Babe
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
As With Gladness Men Of Old
Angels From The Realms Of Glory
Masters In This Hall
I Saw Three Ships
Deck The Hall With Boughs Of Holly
The Snow Lay On The Ground
Baloo, Lammy
I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
All My Heart This Night Rejoices
Away In A Manger
There’s A Song In The Air
It Came Upon The Midnight Clear
O Little Town Of Bethlehem
Everywhere, Everywhere, Christmas Tonight
We Three Kings Of Orient Are
Gather Around The Christmas Tree
Jingle Bells
Up On The Housetop
Jolly Old Saint Nicholas
‘Twas In The Moon Of Wintertime
Behold The Star
Rise Up, Shepherd, And Follow
Mary Had A Baby
Go Tell It On The Mountain
O Po’ Little Jesus
Hush, My Babe, Lie Still And Slumber
Brightest And Best (Star Of The East)
We Sing In Celebration
He Is Born, The Holy Child
Angels O’er The Fields Were Singing
O Come Away, Ye Shepherds
The Sleep Of The Infant Jesus
What Is This Perfume So Appealing?
Neighbor, What Has You So Excited?
O Holy Night
Ballad Of Jesus Christ
Although You Still Are Weak And Helpless
Christmas Comes Anew
Sleep, Little Dove
Shepherd, Shake Off Your Drowsy Sleep
Whence Comes This Rush Of Wings Afar?
Bring A Torch, Jeannette, Isabella
Whence Art Thou, My Maiden?
O How Joyfully
O Christmas Tree
Ring, Little Bells
O Come, Little Children
In Bethlehem So Lowly
While By My Sheep (Echo Carol)
Joseph, Dearest Joseph Mine
The Christmas Tree With Its Candles Gleaming
Come Running, You Shepherds
Shepherds’ Cradle Song
Dear Nightingale, Awake
Maria Wanders Through The The Thorn
From Heaven Above To Earth I Come
Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light
Beside Thy Cradle Here I Stand
How Brightly Shines The Morning Star
Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming
As Lately We Watched
The Twilight Is Falling
Above, On The Mountain
Silent Night, Holy Night
A Baby In The Cradle
Still, Still, Still
The Simple Birth
Today We Welcome A Tiny Child
The Happy Christmas Comes Once More
Lovely Is The Dark Blue Sky
Child Jesus
A Child Is Born In Bethlehem
Yuletide Is Here Again
When Christmas Morn Is Dawning
Thy Little Ones, Dear Lord, Are We
You Green and Glittering Tree, Good Day
O Christmas, You Season Of Childlike Delight
I Am So Glad On Christmas Eve
Jesus Holy, Born So Lowly
O Come Rejoicing
O Star O’er Bethlehem Shining
Christ Is Born This Evening
Shepherds Came To Bethlehem
Only A Manger Bed
Carol Of THe Hay
In Midnight’s Silence
Polish Lullaby
Praise To Jesus, Our Salvation
We Are Going To The Stable
Rocking Carol
We Have Heard In Bethlehem
From Out The Forest A Cuckoo Flew
I Go To Bethlehem
Sweet Mary Sings Her Babe To Sleep
Come, Hear The Wonderful Tidings
At The Gate Of Heaven Above
Angels From Heaven
Carol Of The Bagpipers
From Starry Skies Thou Comest
Jesus, The New-Born Babe
Sleep, O Sleep, My Lovely Child
A La Nanita Nana
Come, My Dear Old Lady
Thou Art Well Content
Foom, Foom, Foom
The Son Of Mary
Holy Joseph And Mary The Maid
King Herod
The Icy December
Carol Of The Birds
We’ll Speak Very Softly
O Bethlehem
A Fire Is Started In Bethlehem
O My Loveliest One
In Bethlehem’s Cradle
The Holy Child
At The Hour Of Midnight
Song Of The Wise Men
Shepherds In Bethlehem
Happily Singing
We Are Singing
As The Frightened Baby Jesus
The Journey
Going To Bethlehem
Pray Give Us Lodging
The Babe
Hasten Now, O Shepherds
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Of The Father’s Love Begotten
A Boy Is Born In Bethlehem
Whom Of Old The Shepherds Praised
O Come, All Ye Faithful

Noel Noel two-part and Flute (1 Copy)

No School Tomorrow lyric page

Peace, Peace by Rick and Sylvia Powell, arr. by Fred Bock (Two-Part; optional obligato by flute, violin or other C instrument)

Reader’s Digest Merry Christmas Songbook (includes a CD and lyric booklet and the following 100+ songs: All Hail To Thee
(All I Want For Christmas Is) My Two Front Teeth
Angels From The Realms Of Glory
Angels We Have Heard On High
As Lately We Watched
As With Gladness Men Of Old
Auld Lang Syne
Away In A Manger
Blue Christmas
Brazilian Sleigh Bells
Break Forth, O Beauteous, Heavenly Light
Bring A Torch, Jeannette, Isabella
Buon Natale (Merry Christmas To You)
Burgundian Carol
Carol Of The Bells
Children, Go Where I Send Thee
Christians, Awake, Salute The Happy Morn
Christmas For Cowboys
Christmas In Killarney
Christmas Is
Christmas Song, The (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)
Christmas Waltz, The
Coventry Carol, The
Deck The Halls
First Noël, The
For Thy Mercy And Thy Grace
Friendly Beasts, The
Frosty The Snow Man
Go Tell It On The Mountain
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
Good Christian Men, Rejoice
Good King Wenceslas
Happy Birthday, Jesus
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Here Comes Santa Claus
Here We Come A-Caroling (The Wassail Song)
Hey, Ho, Nobody Home
Holly And The Ivy, The
Holly Jolly Christmas, A
I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
I Saw Three Ships
I Wonder As I Wander
I’ll Be Home For Christmas
It Came Upon The Midnight Clear
It’s Beginning To Look Like Christmas
Jing-A-Ling, Jing-A-Ling
Jingle Bells
Jingle-Bell Rock
Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mild
Joy To The World
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot, The
Little Drummer Boy, The
Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming
March Of The Kings
March Of The Toys
Marshmallow World, A
Mary’s Little Boy Child
Mele Kalikimaka (The Hawaiian Christmas Song)
Merry Christmas Polka, The
My Favorite Things
Night Before Christmas Song, The
Nutcracker Sweets (Waltz Of The Flowers/Arabian Dance/Trepak)
Nuttin’ For Christmas
O Christmas Tree (O Tannenbaum)
O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)
O Come, Little Children
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
O Holy Night
O Little Town Of Bethlehem
O Sanctissima
Once In Royal David’s City
Out Of The East
Over The River And Through The Woods
Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers
Peace Carol, The
Ring Out, Wild Bells
Rise Up, Shepherd, And Follow
Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
Santa Claus, Indiana, U.S.A.
Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town
Silent Night
Silver Bells
Skaters Waltz, The (Les Patineurs)
Sleep Well, Little Children (A Christmas Lullaby)
Sleigh Ride
Suzy Snowflake
Sweet Little Jesus Boy
Take Me Back To Toyland
That’s What I Want For Christmas
‘Twas In The Moon Of Wintertime (The Huron Christmas Carol)
Twelve Days Of Christmas, The
Up On The Housetop
Virgin’s Slumber Song, The
We Need A Little Christmas
We Three Kings Of Orient Are
We Wish You A Merry Christmas
What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve
What Child Is This?
When Santa Claus Gets Your Letter
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night
Will Santy Come To Shanty Town?
Winter Wonderland

Star Bright by Lorin F. Wheelwright (Christmas; SA)

Stars that Twinkle and Shine, arr. by Joyce Eilers Bacak (2 part and 3 part mixed)

The Polar Express: A Choral Medley by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri; arr. by Teena Chinn (Christmas; Two-Part; optional bass, guitar, drums acc.)  This medley includes the songs “Believe,” “The Polar Express,” “When Christmas Comes to Town,” “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” “Hot Chocolate,” “Rockin’ on Top of the World,” “Winter Wonderland,” and “Spirit of the Season.”

The Jesus Gift by Gilbert M. Martin (3 copies)

Were You There on that Christmas Night by Natalie Sleeth (Christmas; Unison or Two Parts; optional 3-5 oct. handbell accompaniment)


Christmas Kaleidescope

Strictly Strings

We’re Building a Musical Legacy by Nathan Hofheins and Liz Livingston


18 Fake Candles

4-15-16 Building a Musical Legacy

Today I taught the second verse of the song we are learning as a school, “We’re Building a Musical Legacy,” to one of the kindergarten classes. The children remembered the first verse after I had taught it to them 2 weeks ago–the day before spring break. They hadn’t sung it in 2 weeks. That is how fresh and bright and capable young children are to learn! We spent maybe 15 minutes on the first verse then and then 15 minutes today on reviewing the first verse and learning the second verse. I marvel at the minds of young children!

The music was written by a musician friend of mine for our school back in 2012.  This was one in a number of small songs for which I have written lyrics for the elementary school.  Others–friends and family!–have helped with the music side of the songs. I am grateful for the teamwork that has been involved with each song production. I have learned, via these experiences, that creating music and giving it as a gift that brings a sweet feeling. I am not a professional musician, so I needed the talents that others had to complete the project.

That is what I hope Delicious Music will someday become: a place where people can share what they have created to help elementary school children have free access to music for their classrooms, choirs, and orchestras. Children need good music with solid, positive ideas to help them in their journey. Please share your talents with us! Feel free to email me music that you would like to share! (All music must be original and copyright free or with permission to use.)

DMK 1.2 What is Music? Mrs. Livingston

Today was a blast! It was week 2 of teaching Mrs. S’s AM kingergarten class, and the children were bright and beautiful and wiggly: perfect for music time!

I never follow my lesson plan exactly, but today was pretty close. We didn’t get the name song made last week (I had to teach a 20 minute lesson, so I saved that until this week). After I reviewed the ascending and descending Solfa major scale on the bells with them singing, and then I put the notes up on the board to show the change in pitch. The resulting image looked like a “mountain,” I pointed out, so we stood up and “hiked” up the mountain by marching in place, singing up and down the scale as I pointed to each note. Then we “ran” back up and down. It was a nice movement to music in the middle of the exercise.

(The only challenge about moving to music is that the children can sometimes be wigglier at the end than when you start, so it kind of has to be used with that in mind.)

One little girl asked when we are going to write our own songs? “Soon!” I told her, but we were going to write our own song right then with our names. I showed them a piece of sheet music that had lyrics, and how the notes on that music were just black, whereas ours were colored(!) (More fun!) and how the lyrics were written in a line below the notes. Then I got out Mr. Owl and we sang “Whoooo are you?” a couple of times and then started writing the children’s names under the notes. I told them which note they were so that after we sang it once, I had them pop up and sing their name when we got to their note. By the end of the song, everyone was standing.

Joshua Bell Romance of the Violin

After doing the name song, in which I started learning their names, we moved to “I Got Rhythm” played by Joshua Bell (album: Romance of the Violin). We contrasted that with “Nocturne,” (from the same album) and discussed which song was slower and which was faster, and how one was kind of chipper and upbeat and the other slower. We did a little ballet to “Nocturne.” I just go with the movement–whatever seems appropriate. We have a good time.

Then we talked about what music is. One child said, “A note!” I agreed and said that we did that earlier when we put notes up on the board to create our song. “Notes all together makes music! But what makes the sound of each note? How do we hear sound?” Then I explained using the visual that I had put up on the board. We repeated “Sound is vibrations that travel to my ear that sends a message to my brain to tell me what I hear” several times until they could almost say it without my help.

I showed them the little wave demonstration from the OMSI online exhibit where you can click on a circle to make a sound and waves emanate out from the circle. I didn’t have time to do the rubber band or pebble dropped in a bowl of water. (I’ll save that for next time!)

We had a little impromptu addition to our lesson somewhere in all of this. I told them I wanted to teach them a song (“My Grandma Has a Green Thumb”), and somehow we segued to what a “solo” and a “performance” are. So I told them what a solo is, demonstrated briefly, and explained what audience manners are when someone performs: “You have to sit quietly with your lips zipped and your eyes on the performer. Then, at the end of the solo, you give wild applause, and the performer bows.” We had a little girl volunteer to sing a solo for us. She announced her piece: “You are my sunshine”  and proceeded to sing it beautifully! We gave her an enthusiastic round of applause, and she bowed, just like I had demonstrated. It was terrific! I love spontaneously delightful moments like that!

I taught the children the “Green Thumb” song quickly, sang “Adios Amigos” twice, and said goodbye.

I might have some videos to share along with this post. If you are interested, check back later!


Harvest’s Here


We had a great rehearsal today! The children are doing so well with their new song, Brother John. I’m excited that they are learning it so well. They played it in a round, and it sounded great.

Here is the new song we started learning in class: Harvest’s Here. (Click on the link to print out the sheet music for it or play along with the recording or learn the lyrics. This song is the duet part to Apple Seed. It sounds a lot better than when you play Recipe with Apple Seed!) 🙂

We will play the two songs together in our concert (May 8, 7 pm; call time 6:15 pm), and then Brother John in a round.

Next week is our LAST after school class for the year!

I need to know by next week who is committed to taking Intermediate Orchestra next year. We will meet Wednesday mornings at 8 am. For the summer/fall, you will need to purchase two music books (Essential Elements for Strings, Book One with CD  and Basic Fiddlers Philharmonic: Celtic Fiddle Tunes. See the links that follow). Be sure you get the one for your child’s specific instrument (Essential Elements: violin, viola, cello; Fiddlers-Celtic: violin, viola, or cello)! You’ll need it right away so they can begin working on it as soon as orchestra class finishes. I will also give you a little summer assignments packet to help your child be ready for the fall. It is all very do-able stuff, and your private teacher should be able to  integrate it into her lessons easily. (Remember, if you don’t have a private teacher already, you need to get one. If you’d like any recommendations, just ask!)

So please let me know if you are planning on continuing next fall by next week. (You can text or email me today if you want.) 🙂

Our FINAL rehearsal will be at 8 AM on Thursday, May 8. Remember to wear your orchestra shirt that day! Our performance will be that night.

Thanks so much! I’m getting excited for our performance!!

It’s Recital Time!

I am SO excited for our first recital in Beginning Orchestra! We have planted a bunch of great seeds in our minds this semester, and we’ve been nurturing them with our practicing. We have been able to see the seeds sprouting a little, and that is SO exciting!

We aren’t musical “trees” yet––we have some time to go yet, but we are growing in that direction.

I recently watched this video of a 13-year old who has been playing violin for some years now. She has worked very hard. She gets up very early and practices day after day after day. Her mom helps her, just like in our apple seed, although she doesn’t help her practice every day like she did when she was first starting to learn.

I hope you know how important recitals are. Recitals aren’t about playing perfectly (it’s wonderful when that happens once in a blue moon!). They are about sharing our progress. We need to share our progress so that others can celebrate our hard work with us, just like that potluck picnic we talked about, when everyone brings something to share that they have grown from their garden.

I am proud of each of you for trying to learn to make music better this semester. Thank you for each day that you practiced! Thank you for coming to class whenever you were able to. I hope that the last weeks of orchestra, we will work extra hard to learn “Brother John.” Together, we can do it!


Lord of the Rings

Lindsey Stirling is passionate about moving while she plays her violin. She really feels the music and shows it! But notice that she has learned how to keep her LH (left hand) wrist nice like a slide the whole time (no “pancake” wrist here!). AND she keeps her bow nice and parallel to the bridge the whole time (no crazy “skiing” all over the place bows). If you can get those two things to work for you (your LH and your bow arm) so that you are strong and steady, then you can move your body to the music more freely and joyfully! So keep working on those important posture position skills!

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!

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? 🙂