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

DM-K Mrs. S’s AM class 10/23/15

ogden harp
(Photo courtesy holywellmusic.co.uk.)

Today in Mrs. S’s class I brought in a small lever harp. Seeing it in it’s black zipper case, the children wondered what it was. Some children knew. “How did you know?” I asked. “Because of it’s shape!” a little girl volunteered. It is fun to see what music children have been exposed to in their young lives.

We began class singing the DM theme song, and then we sang our Solfa scale “up and down the mountain” (an ascending and descending scale, beginning with middle C as Do). I sang slowly, as they had just begun learning the hand signs two weeks before. I took one girl and one boy volunteer to perform in front of the class. If a child does a sign wrong, I sometimes take the time to correct it–just in a little way to help them learn it. For example, if their fists are up high, I’ll say encouragingly, “Move your fists down by your belly button. Good job!” Or if “Ti” is difficult, I say, “Make some glasses in front of your eyes with your hands. Now POP the first finger up! And then move your hands back out in front of you. That’s right!”

After our scale, I reminded the children how we talked about each note having it’s own name and it’s own voice, just like each of them have their own unique voices, like we talked about last week. Some notes are higher and some are lower. I picked two notes (starting with “Daddy Do” and “Baby Do”) and asked which sound was higher and which one was lower. Daddy Do! I pointed out that “Daddy Do” is taller than “Baby Do” and showed them this by pulling the individual bells out and standing them up next to each other in front of me for the children to see.

I told them that each note sings its voice and we hear different notes because of the vibrations. (One little girl reminded us that “sound is vibrations that travel through the air to your ear that sends a message to your brain.” (I am always amazed at how much young children can remember even with such few repetitions and so much time elapsing in between lessons.) I explained that vibrations can travel at different speeds. “What is speed?” I asked. I ran fast across the front of my teaching space, and ran back the other way. Then I walked slowly back and forth. We talked about fast and slow. I asked them if they had ever seen a speed limit sign (I forgot my visual of one). It shows how fast you can drive your car down a road. “Do you ever say to your Dad or Mom, “Dad! You’re driving too fast!” (I always like getting the children to smile.) We tell cars how many miles per hour they can drive. We can also tell how fast or slow vibrations are going, and that is what gives them their PITCH. I had them repeat that word two or three more times. Pitch is how fast or slow the vibrations are going per second. Middle C (“Daddy Do”) is 256 Hertz, or oscillations per second. So there are 256 sound waves passing by in one second. Wow! That’s fast! Some pitches are a lot slower, like 80 Hertz, or a lot faster, like 440 Hertz. Symphonies tune to A at 440 Hz or above (A above middle C).

I took the cover off of the harp and pulled it to the front. As some of the strings were out of tune, I got out the tuner and started to tune them. One of the children guessed that the red strings were Do (C), and she was right! I showed them how each of the red strings had the same pitch, except that some were lower and some were higher. I meant to show them that the longer strings had the lower pitches and the shorter strings had higher pitches, but I think I might have forgotten that! (You can ask your child.)

I showed them a glissando going up the harp from low to high and going down from high to low. I told them that harpists do not use their pinkies to play the strings–only their thumbs through fourth fingers. I had them all come up and play a glissando on the harp. Then they sat back down and watched Chanson dans la nuit” (French for Song in the Night) by Carlos Salzedo and played by Yolanda Kondonassis (video here). I told them that the song was describing sounds that you might hear at night, such as wind. I asked them what they hear at night. They answered crickets, ants, birds, trees, dear (“reindeer”), bears. So we listened and they loved it. “Can we watch it again?” one little boy asked. I wished! We were out of time, and we sang our goodbye song.

(Glissandos begin at 3:00. Lots of technique talk until then.)

Tip: If you don’t own a harp (what are the chances?!) or know someone who does, you can Google “Suzuki harp teachers” or “harp teachers locally” or “wedding harpist” and see what comes up! Or check with your local university to see if there is a harp teacher in your area. Inviting teachers or students to come demonstrate their instruments can be good advertising for them and good exposure for your students! (Plus, you don’t have to haul it around!) It is always so beneficial for the students to get to see and touch different instruments, because it influences them on future choices of what they might learn to play later.

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!


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

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…

Pilgrim Song


Last night, I had a hard time sleeping. I remembered the song I posted about yesterday, and I searched for a version of it on my phone. “Where Can I Turn for Peace” came up, and I listened. Wow! I had forgotten what a beautiful version of this song is on this album! I love the arrangement. Her voice is a great example for someone learning to sing to listen to. Wish I had a video of her song to post here.

2_never_give_upIn looking for a video of that song, I discovered another darling song she and her daughter sing called “Come and Play,” from this album, “Never Give Up.” It’s beautiful! If you have ever enjoyed a moment pushing your child in the swing, give this song a try!

There is one more song on that first album that was a part of an etched-into-my-memory moment. Several years ago, I attended my oldest daughter’s choir concert at her high school. Her choir was singing the song, “Pilgrim’s Song,” which I had never heard before, and it was being sung by (I found out later) a young woman who had fought leukemia for nearly 13 years and was just praying to make it to graduation. There was a feeling in that room that was unbelievable. I am guessing I wasn’t the only one with tears streaming down my cheeks. And so it is a special song to me, and when I hear it I think of brave Emily, who passed away not long after her graduation. She made it!

I think “Pilgrim’s Song” would be an awesome song to choreograph a ballet/modern dance to!


Solfa, strings on “Where Can I Turn for Peace?”

Here’s something to give the children a little vision of where learning to play Solfa on their D string can take them.

I sincerely welcome replacement recordings! I am neither a professional singer nor professional violinist. The notes are not perfectly in tune, and the breathing is poor. (I didn’t have time to do retakes.) PLEASE: if anyone would like to re-do these recordings and email them to me, I’d love it!

“Where Can I Turn for Peace” is a hymn in the key of D with no accidentals (no added sharps or flats), so it’s an easy transfer from learning to play a D major scale, beginning on open D, particularly for a child who knows the hymn already in their head.

The Solfa for the hymn goes like this:

s f m f f m
s t l s r
m f s l l l s
f l d r
s f m f f m
s t d’ d’ d
d’ t l s d l
f m r d

Usually, the note the song ends in is the key for that song. So in this song, the last note is do on D, and it is in the key of D.

Kick up your heels

Turkey in the Straw Try “Turkey in the Straw” by Zip Wilson

I love dancing in the kitchen or family room with my children to some lively tunes. Here are some fun tunes that you might consider as upbeat music to enliven those energy slump moments (that’s about 4-6 pm for me) or put a little pizzazz into your Saturday family housework mornings.

Irish Dance CD Try “Slip Jigs” from “Step in Time” CD (Irish dance tunes)

And here’s a change for you! Harmonica and harp! This album has the most amazing harmonica playing I’ve ever heard in my life (and I haven’t heard a lot, but I bet this would surpass any I might hear!). I didn’t even know that there were people who played classical music on the harmonica!

harmonica and harp CD Try “Merrily-Go-Round” from Serenade Vol. 2 by Tommy Reilly and Skaila Kanga

And then there’s always “When will my life begin?” from Tangled. That’s a good dancing song.


Here’s to variety! Share it with your children!

Happy Dancing!


Song Recommendations

I love recommending delicious music, because there is SO much of it! (“Delicious music” fits these standards.)

Here’s a pop song that is so cute: “All the Pennies” by Mindy Gledhill.

Religious music is a huge part of music history and includes some of the most beautiful classical music ever. Tonight a song came to mind that I heard when I was a child and haven’t thought of in years:

“How Lovely are the Messengers” by Felix Mendelssohn

And then I saw a video on the side bar by Kiri Te Kanawa, an world-famous soprano whose amazing voice my parents shared with me (The video is nothing to watch. But the listening is wonderful!):