John Cage – Sept. 5

Born Sept. 5, 1912 in Los Angeles, California Died Aug. 11, 1992 in Manhattan, New York “There are two things that don’t have to mean anything; one is music, and the other is laughter.” – John Cage, paraphrasing Immanuel Kant. (Cage agreed with Kant that music and laughter don’t have to mean anything in order … Read more

Darius Milhaud – Sept. 4

Born Sept. 4, 1892 in Aix-en-Provence, France Died June 22, 1974 in Geneva, Switzerland   “Don’t be afraid of writing something people can remember and whistle. Don’t ever feel discomfited by a melody".  Milhaud to his student Burt Bacharach Milhaud was a student of Charles Widor, Vincent d’Indy, and Paul Dukas.  A member of Les … Read more

Opera for Kids: Free Resources from the Met

 Educator Guides to the Operas Plan an opera study unit for your students based on one of the operas in the 2010-11 Metropolitan Opera season, climaxing with a Night at the Opera in a local movie theater or at your school. The Met Live in HD series offers free opera-specific educational guides you can use … Read more

Catch the Met’s 2010-11 Operas in Movie Theaters

The fifth season of the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series is coming to a movie theater near you! Enjoy front row seats at these live opening night productions. It is so easy to feel more engaged with opera on a large screen, where you can see everything “up close and personal.”  Feel the pre-performance … Read more

World Cup Music: Shostakovich’s Soccer Match

Don’t underestimate the power of either sports or music when it comes to exciting a crowd. Even as a tormented composer writing under the harsh restrictions and demands of Communism, in his 1929 ballet  The Golden Age big-time soccer fan and sometime soccer referee Shostakovich recreated a soccer match. In this ballet, a communist soccer team … Read more

Hidden Musical Code in Plato’s Writings

A scholar in England just announced his discovery of a secret music code in the writings of Plato.  As a closeted follower of Pythagoras, whose heretical beliefs threatened traditional religion, Plato believed that music and mathematics were closely related, and that music was a reflection of the mathematical principles that governed the universe. Pythagoras codified … Read more

Copyright Laws vs. Teens: The Battle Rages

When famed Broadway songwriter Jason Bert Brown discovered his songs were being “traded” freely online by those who had never purchased a legal copy, he thoughtfully requested that the traders stop the illegal trading. Read this fascinating exchange with a recalcitrant yet extremely bright and articulate teenager. Eleanor’s teenage sense of entitlement is absolutely breathtaking. … Read more

Jazz Festivals 2010

Here are links & dates for jazz festivals around the world, so plan a trip around an  enticing jazz venue that beckons you to kick back and enjoy live jazz at its convivial best. Jazz Festivals in USA Jazz Festivals in Canada UK Jazz Festivals European Jazz Festivals Worldwide jazz festivals are also listed geographically, … Read more

Vienna Vegetable Orchestra: Veggies Never Sounded So Good

Since 1998, the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra has performed on musical instruments they make from fresh vegetables. (I couldn’t make this up.) They shop for veggies at the local produce market, spend a few hours making their vegetable instruments, then after their concert, they throw them into the pot and serve up vegetable soup. Contrary to … Read more

The Met Brings Opera into the Classroom

Bring full-scale Metropolitan Opera productions into your classroom! The free Live in HD school program from the Met is now available in some school districts around the country, and online educational guides put the icing on the cake.  Teaching guides for each Metropolitan opera production include classroom activities, musical highlights, story synopses, accompanying audio clips, … Read more

The Fine Art of Listening: for Musicians & Audiences

Listening skills should be stock in trade for musicians, but experienced musicians face the same challenges of concentration and active listening that audiences do.  Timothy Walker’s keynote speech at Great Britain’s ISM (Incorporated Society of Musicians) hopefully didn’t fall on tin ears. Walker, Chief Executive of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, realistically addresses the difficulties musicians … Read more

Arts & Language Requirement for High School Graduation at Risk in California: Fight Back!

These are hard times, especially in nearly bankrupt California. But are we content to see the California legislature gut the heart (i.e., the arts) out of education? The arts and foreign languages are fundamental to education, especially in the world we live in today. If creative thinking and global communications were ever needed in this … Read more

Enjoy Operas from the Met: At the Movies or Online!

Can’t go to the opera? Does your busy schedule or a pinched pocketbook or an illness make you miss the magic of the live performance? While there is nothing like the excitement of being in the theater for the real event, there are now 2 wonderful and affordable alternatives: Option 1. Opera Night at the … Read more

Boomwhackers on Steroids: Plastik Musik

If you thought boomwhackers were just for kids, think again. Better still, listen to the percussion group Plastik Musik in their astounding Boomwhacker performance: The first time I met Craig Ramsell, creator of the Boomwhackers, was  in Phoenix, Arizona, about 15 years ago at a music education conference.  At the time, I knew his newly … Read more

King Henry VIII: Better Musician Than Husband

King Henry VIII, famous for his marriages on the rocks (and the blocks), is lesser known for his talent as a musician and composer. Tall, handsome, and charming in his youth, he played several musical instruments, and was a skilled singer and dancer. Some of his musical compositions are still performed today.

Picasso and Music

Three Musicians by Picasso  After a day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, mostly spent in the special Picasso exhibit (the largest ever), I was virtually blinded by “the embarrassment of riches” he left to the world. The chronological exhibit of his works gave cohesion to his life and his many artistic … Read more