!Viva Musica!

 
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Hola Amigos! Hold on to your Sombreros as we explore music from Latin America and Spain, including traditional and modern folk songs. Students will create connections with Spanish vocabulary, learn musical meter through Flamenco and Andulusian dances, and explore classical music featuring the guitar.

As we explore the music and culture, we’ll land on the beautiful coastlines of Spain, where  Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo, takes us through the country with Concierto de Aranjuez- a piece that established his reputation as one of the most significant Spanish composers of the 20th century. The Concierto de Aranjuez was inspired by the gardens at Palacio Real de Aranjuez, the spring resort palace and gardens built by Philip II in the last half of the 16th century and rebuilt in the middle of the 18th century by Ferdinand VI. The composition attempts to transport the listener to another place and time through the evocation of the sounds of nature.

This month, our students focus on Meter: a tool used to organize rhythmic patterns, accents, and beats. The meter of a song is usually indicated at the beginning of the piece with a pseudo-fraction. This fraction indicates how many beats the performer can expect in each measure. Meter can also give insight to the strong and weak beats in the music and how they should be inflected when played. Mastering meter ensures our young musicians are able to read rhythm confidently and perform various styles of music.

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Students in the Autumn/Winter classes will learn the differentiation duple (4/4) and triple (3/4) meter through the exploration of strong beats and weak beats.

Vivaldi Seasons students will finish their journey with basic spanish vocabulary, including counting, greetings, and parts of the body. Throughout the month they’ll have practiced rhythm recall, identifying patterns, and tactile repetition. 

We look forward to a festive month of celebrating Independence Days for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras,  Nicaragua,Mexico and Chile! 

 !Viva la Musica!




 

Houston, We Have Take Off!

To celebrate the recent 50 year anniversary of the Moon landing, Vivaldi Seasons blasts off on a rocket ship to explore “The Planets” through Gustav Holst’s famous orchestra suite. This month students will also learn folk and modern songs about the moon, stars and space, and discover musical dynamics, including how they are created, notated, and identified. So grab your space suits and hop on for Vivaldi’s trip to outer space!

This month students will continue to practice  Steady Beat, Rhythmic Recall, Rhythm Reading and Solfeggi Activities while incorporating space themed songs. “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” will be taught using abbreviated sign language and “Zoom Zoom Zoom” will expand students rhythmic recall skills. While songs like, “Starlight Starbright” and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” will be used to introduce the piano and how it can be played, including the variety of sounds the piano can make and which actions result in which sounds.

English composer Gustav Holst’s famous orchestral suite “The Planets” will be a large focus for the month. The seven movement suite has each movement named after a planet we share the solar system with.  This composition will help students explore how instrumentation, dynamics, and musical content can create images and moods.

Commence Countdown to Seasons Fun.

Happy 4th of July!!

Summer is in full swing and our Vivaldi Seasons classes are celebrating Independence Day this month by learning all about the musical history of America. Students will explore our country by taking a tour across the USA through George Gershwin’s classic work “Rhapsody in Blue”, they will also hear historical and modern American folk songs, and study all things piano.

She’ll be Coming Around the Mountain”, “Yankee Doodle” and “This Land is Your Land” are just a few of the many songs the Seasons classes will hear this month. Don’t forget you can find the entire playlist for each month on our Spotify profile.  All of the folk songs heard in July will expand students’ vocabulary associated with America, patriotism, and American folklore as well as help students identify patterns and practice rhythm recall in different musical pieces. 

George Gershwin’s 1924 musical composition “Rhapsody in Blue” will be a big focus in classes this month. This classical and jazz combination piece of music will teach students to discover the ways music can be used to represent different moods, personalities, cultures, and experiences. This Gershwin classic will introduce students to the piano, it’s sound and how it can be played. They will learn the variety of sounds the piano can make and be able to start note identification and begin to learn finger patterns on the keys.

We look forward to seeing you in class!!


Grab Your Safari Hats...

 
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Because Vivaldi Seasons is going to Africa to explore all the wonders found on the second largest continent on the planet! This month students will learn about the West African drum tradition, discover the animals of the safari, learn folk songs from the Congo all the way to Morocco and explore all things percussion!

Percussion is a big part of music in many African cultures and in our Seasons classes this month students will explore a variety of percussion instruments. A percussion instrument is a musical instrument that is sounded by being struck, scraped or rubbed by a beater, hands or another similar instrument. The percussion family is believed to include the oldest musical instruments, following the human voice. The most popular and well known of the percussion family, the drums, will be utilized to explore three different pieces of African drum music "West African Drum Music," "Congo," and "Sky" to learn about different rhythmic interest and articulation and the way rhythm can be used to illustrate mood or tell a story.

Africa is home to the largest-remaining populations of lions, elephants, rhinoceros, cheetahs, hyenas and leopards.

This month Seasons students will hear African folk songs in their native tongue, including A Ram Sam Sam (Morocco), Kye Kye Kule (Ghanian), and Funga Alafia (Yoruba). They will also learn about the geography, music, and vocabulary associated with Africa and the Safari. We look forward to starting summer off with lots African Safari Music Adventures!

And don’t forget, the Vivaldi Seasons Winter class (ages 4-6) will perform on Sunday, June 23rd at 2:00 pm at the University of St. Thomas - Cullen Hall. The students are preparing for the performance in their weekly classes. This is a great opportunity to give them a recital experience and to expose them to instruments by being able to see students in private lessons perform.  If your student is in the Summer, Spring, or Autumn class, you are always welcome to attend the recitals to help gauge which instrument your little musician is interested in starting once they graduate from the Seasons program!





Come One, Come All

 
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Vivaldi Seasons classes are taking a trip to the CARNIVAL OF ANIMALS this month! French composer Camille Saint-Saëns’s famous ballet suite - the “Carnival of the Animals” has inspired us to explore the world of the circus and learn about the music inspired by these festivities and the creatures that can be found within them.

Seasons students will hear folk and modern songs like “Animal Fair” and “Baby Mine” from Dumbo that tell the tales of life in the circus. These songs and many more will be used in activities to introduce the names of lines and spaces of the musical staff. Learning and identifying these lines and spaces are a key element in students beginning the music reading process.

“Baby mine, Don’t you cry
Baby mine, Dry your eyes
Rest your head close to my heart
Never to part
Baby of mine”
— Mrs. Jumbo, Dumbo

As mentioned, the humorous suite “Carnival of the Animals” inspired our journey this month and will be a big focus for our Seasons students. This fourteen movement piece was arranged with a large orchestra in mind with a variety of instruments. All fourteen movements use these different instruments to personify an array of carnival animals including elephants, donkeys, swans and many more.

So step right up to Vivaldi Seasons’

GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH!





 
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Bonjour Spring!

April is the time of year when everyone starts to take off their winter scarves and jackets and head outside to enjoy the wonderful weather that Spring brings. Flowers are starting to bloom, birds are starting to chirp, and a bottle of sunblock is always nearby. In Texas, April is all about Bluebonnets, Indian Paint Brushes, and enjoying outdoor activities before the sun gets too hot!

Our Seasons classes are celebrating this time of year by taking a trip through Paris to enjoy all the musical inspiration that has come from the City of Love in full bloom. Our Seasons students will be learning traditional French folk songs like the famous Frère Jacques and the classic lullaby Fais Dodo as well as learning about the history of traditional French works that were inspired by Springtime. Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique and Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring are two major works by French composers that capture the beauty of spring and will encourage our Seasons students to take notice as the seasons change.

Legato & Staccato

Legato and staccato are musical techniques that your kids will be tackling in Seasons classes over the next few weeks. Staccato (Italian for "detached") and legato (Italian for "connected") are paired terms used to describe the way notes are articulated when played or sung. Mastering these musical techniques will help students determine the affect and mood of a piece, develop their very own personal musicality, and be able to perform a variety of styles and genres as they continue their musical journey.

So buckle up, s’il vous plaît, and let the world of Pari’ take you away!










 

Howdy Partners!

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There’s nothing quite like Houston in March! The weather is perfect as The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo rolls in bringing with it all kinds of musical talent and wild west fun! In honor of Houston’s rodeo, our Seasons classes will be exploring songs about life on the farm and all things Texas.  

Our Seasons students will continue to work on rhythm reading, solfeggio and aural skills, as well as musical coordination and listening skills through classical and regional folk music. Students will listen to famous folk songs like “Home on the Range”, “Old Texas”, “Pretty Little Horses” and, of course, “Deep in the Heart of Texas”.

Aaron Copeland was an American composer who was referred to by his peers and critics as "the Dean of American Composers". The open, slowly changing harmonies in much of his music is typical of what many people consider to be the sound of American music. This sound creates images of our Country’s vast landscape and pioneer spirit. Works in this vein include ballets like Appalachian Spring, Rodeo and “Billy the Kid”; the last of which can be found on our Seasons Spotify playlist. Copeland’s pieces will will be played in many of the Seasons classes this month to get everyone in the cowboy spirit!

So grab your boots and spurs and head on over to the Seasons Corral!!


Amore, Grá, Grádh, Amor, Amour, Love!

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February is known as the month of love, sweets treats, and of course, the Super Bowl! Most importantly, February is also Black History Month. This month we celebrate love and recognize the achievements and heritage of African Americans throughout U.S. History. Vivaldi Music Academy celebrates this month by teaching our Seasons students the history of Jazz music and why it is an important aspect of music history.

Our faculty will share with our Seasons students various Jazz artists including Bobby McFerrin, Ella Fitzgerald, and Scott Joplin as well as Ragtime favorites like Fats Waller and Jelly Roll Morton. You can find all of these various artists on our Seasons Spotify Playlist for your enjoyment!

Jazz and Ragtime are a great way for your kids to learn a different type of rhythm - syncopated rhythm. Syncopated rhythm is the interruption of the regular flow of rhythm or, simply put, emphasizing the the upbeat rather than the downbeat. Practice as a family finding the syncopated rhythm in songs on the radio to help your child understand the importance of both the down and up beats!

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, love is in the air!  We are hearing love songs everywhere! Harmony is a common music tool used in love songs and another aspect of music our Seasons students will be learning about this month. Ella Jenkins uses harmony a great deal in her music. An excellent example from our Seasons Playlist favorites is her song Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.

We look forward to hearing all our wonderful Seasons students harmonize this month as we sing about love and All That Jazz!