Category Archives: The Teaching Artist

Missives from the world of teaching music / theater to the young ‘uns

PRE-K 2 GOES ITS OWN UNUSUAL WAY – a surprise diversion in the ongoing saga of Mr. Danny’s Most Sung Song

  Another year and another group of Pre-K students are learning “We’re Singing” AKA Mr. Danny’s Most Sung Song – this would be the third yearly installment in what is evidently and unexpectedly turning into a continuing series (the first … Continue reading

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN with Notes from a Composer

As Halloween falls on a Monday this year, I think it makes sense to call this a long Halloween Weekend.  Much costumed celebrating and ghoulish goings-on will have already begun yesterday and continue through today and Sunday into the official … Continue reading

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NafC Classic: 5 X FUN with LUDWIG’S 5th

Let’s have some fun with Beethoven!   Specifically the 1st movement of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, easily the most famous piece of classical music in the world.  The indelible Duh Duh Duh DAH motif that opens and shapes the movement may … Continue reading

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NfaC Repost and Update – Mister Danny and His Most Sung Song

Today I repost one of my first and still most popular “teaching artist” posts, featuring the Pre-K standard “We’re Singing” (well, standard in my Pre-K curriculum).  This year’s Pre-K classes at the Children’s School have taken to the tune with … Continue reading

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NfaC Repost: The Sound of Music: Embracing the “Sugarcoated Lie”

This article was one of the first ever published on “Notes from a Composer” and quickly became one of the more popular during the first months of the blog’s existence.  I thought I would repost it so newcomers to the … Continue reading

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TROUBLE BUBBLES – The Songs from Childhood that Loom Large All One’s Life

I was three years old when Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was released and became the one of the most popular songs of its time.   One of my earliest memories is of me, small boy hardly taller than … Continue reading

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FIRST GRADE OPERAS: New Similarities and Differences

When all three first grade classes chose “Magic” as the theme for their original operas I worried that the three pieces would all end up being too similar.  However, the three “Theme Sentences” (for 1-1: “Magic can control people’s minds”; … Continue reading

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FIRST GRADE OPERAS: It’s MAGIC time, times three!

It’s a whole new season of First Grade Operas at the Brooklyn Children’s School.  The three first grade classes have all begun the process of creating their own original opera, or musical, with performances set for the end of March.  … Continue reading

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4th Grade POWER OF PROGRESS – The Immigrants

Last spring the full 4th grade of the Brooklyn Children’s School presented “The Power of Progress 1840 – 1920”, a multi-media, multi-disciplinary event where different groups of children created presentations and performances on such topics as Suffragettes, Newsies, Tenement Buildings, … Continue reading

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WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY when he makes his Kindergarten debut? – The Fairy Tale Opera 3

I’ve discussed how certain characters are most likely to make the cut when the Kindergartners vote on their three chosen Fairy Tale Opera protagonists/antagonists.  Dragons are extremely popular, being regularly featured, and populating two of the three Fairy Tale Operas … Continue reading

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THE ENDURING POPULARITY OF DRAGONS IN KINDERGARTEN – The Fairy Tale Opera 2

Every year when I start the Fairy Tale Opera project in Kindergarten (at the Brooklyn Children’s School), I ask the class to make a long list of characters that appear in fairy tales.  Then the kindergartners choose three characters around … Continue reading

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MERMAIDS AND WIZARDS AND DRAGONS: The Kindergarten Fairy Tale Opera Project

I have already written about how First Grade Operas are created by the students at the Brooklyn Children’s School, and posted one, two, three examples.  If the First Grade Opera Project is the creating original music theater equivalent of riding … Continue reading

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5 X FUN with LUDWIG’S 5th

Let’s have some fun with Beethoven!   Specifically the 1st movement of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, easily the most famous piece of classical music in the world.  The indelible Duh Duh Duh DAH motif that opens and shapes the movement may … Continue reading

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FIRST GRADE OPERA #3: Mermaids and Blue Sharks and Red Sharks, Oh My!

“And when a mermaid bumps Into a blue shark They kiss” Class 1-3’s opera this year opens with a rather prettily moody song* (for first grade) about the Mermaid Castle and the Mermaids and Blue Sharks who cavort merrily within … Continue reading

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Forbidden Movies, Forbidden Music

I walked out of the Film Forum mind abuzz and guts churning.   I was chewing on a whole lot of food for thought as well as the ice cream melt I bought to soothe my emotion roiled innards. I’d just … Continue reading

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THE SOUND OF MUSIC: Embracing the “Sugarcoated Lie”

Ed and I were in Berlin* a couple years ago visiting my folks when we stumbled upon a German movie from the 1950s being shown on TV.   We missed the first seconds of the credit sequence and so didn’t catch … Continue reading

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