Enter a world of musical fun and learning for students, parents and teachers. This interactive site offers students resources for learning about composers, their works, the logistics of orchestra seating, the functions of different instruments, and music periods. Look for games, activities, and a library of music clips highlighting composers, instruments, musical notes, and national anthems from selected countries. A teachers' lounge provides interactive lesson plans and links to valuable resources. For parents there are activities to do at home, such as building your own xylophone or making a tin-can telephone.
What is music? Is playing a garbage can different than playing a drum? This site is all about learning about the science of music, offering online exhibits, films, and questions that explore the science of music. Features include clever activities that lead to writing, mixing, and experimenting with music, videos that explain tuning, stepping (or rhythmic movement), instrument building, and the changes music makes when played in different kinds of spaces, and with entertaining questions and answers that keep things light. Find out the different ways that music is in all of us.
This interesting website provides information regarding the brain’s relationship to music. The brain interprets the music we listen to, allowing us to decipher which and what kind of music we like and dislike. Damage to our brain, particularly the temporal lobe can greatly affect our ability to listen, perform and even translate what we hear within the music we listen to. Discover information about the Mozart Effect, or the school of thought that listening to certain types of music is a good way to improve memory and increase intelligence. The site includes links to various “brain songs” as well as to other experiments and activities.
"I'll get by with a little help from my friends..." is one of the songs written by Ringo Starr. Starr was the drummer for the Beatles joining his musical counterparts John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison. This is an in-depth resource
featuring the revolutionary Beatles who paved the way for rock and roll. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame provides a timeline, photos, biographical data. Starr coined the phrase, "A Hard Day's Night," which was the title of the band's third album. Students studying history and culture of the 1960's or music history will dig the story of the Beatles and their contributions to the music world.
Why not introduce the sounds of the orchestra to your students? This site, from the National Arts Centre of Canada, explores the instrument families of the orchestra where you will learn about the entire orchestra. You'll be listening and virtually handling instruments from the strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion sections. You'll also discover facts about your favorite instruments from the violin and cello to the flute, tuba, and drums. You can even watch members of an orchestra demonstrate their instruments. Develop an appreciation!
Known for his legendary melodies, Stephen Foster is featured on this
University of Pittsburgh site. Learn about this musical icon, including his biography, common myths about him, and a detailed list of his songs, by perusing the modules provided on the left. Stephen Foster, a man most well known for songs like "O Susanna," "Beautiful Dreamer," and "Camptown Races," has a remarkable story. Growing up in a large family and being privately educated, Foster was himself a "beautiful dreamer" in the way he viewed his own education and life.
Musictheory.net is a great reference site for music students and teachers. The online resource begins with an explanation of music staff, clefs, and ledger lines to establish a solid foundation in music theory. Once your lessons are finished, you will understand Neapolitan Chords. Each step of learning gives a verbal explanation, a pictorial demonstration, and at times an auditory example. You can utilize various parts of this site to demonstrate elements of music theory in class, or perhaps assign a section to students for review as a study guide. Once a lesson opens take note of the little keyboard in the upper right corner. Click on it and open a playable keyboard in a separate window.
Here's an extensive site that will inform you of how Broadway musicals are made from the inception of the idea through the final production. You’ll find out about the elements of a musical. The musical score, a central part of the musical, is explained. Each main essay has several parts, so when investigating the score, there is information about the structure of show tunes, the types of songs that are most memorable, where songs should be placed within the musical, and and the effectiveness of rhyming or not rhyming the lyrics. There is so much to learn from this site that by the time you are finished exploring it, you may want to try your hand at creating one!
Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony give students a chance to explore Beethoven’s life and the Eroica Symphony. Start with the interactive timeline that shows important events in the composer’s life. Besides learning about Symphony #3, the Eroica, you can hear bits and parts of Beethoven’s other symphonies. Read about the dedication of the Eroica, and explore the score of the symphony itself in great detail as you follow along with Maestro Thomas conducting the orchestra.
Here's a great mini clip of how each orchestrate member was seated during the Baroque Period, through the Classical, Romantic, and Modern periods. Watch how the orchestra expands with the number of orchestral members and the addition of new of instruments. In the beginning sparse seating was utilized in the time of Johann Sebastian Bach. Soon the addition of brass instruments joined the orchestra under Classical composers such as Johannes Brahms. During the Romantic period Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, and Richard Wagner added depth to the sound of their compositions with tubas, trombones, and more percussion. You can print out each seating chart for more class discussion.
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Valerie Bourbour is a certified educator and past Co-Director of The Academy of Ormond Beach. Ms. Bourbour has experience in online learning platforms and aims for student success.