’Not Giving Up Just Yet’ is the title of a ‘Bluey’ episode we enjoyed in Music this week. The relatable scenario of failing at something, feeling defeated, problem solving and then succeeding, had a very special music score underpinning the emotional journey of the characters: Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ from 1824. All the students responses were insightful and inspiring as they shared their connections and reactions to this episode and its music.
’The ‘Ode to Joy’ was like the sound of courage’, Kaan: Yr 4.
‘This music was beautiful, it makes me feel like I can do the monkey bars’, Astrid: Prep.
Van from yr 1 thinks that the ‘Ode to Joy’ could be called the ‘I Can do Anything Song’.
The ‘Bluey clip represented resilience’, Alessia: Yr 4
The students also enjoyed watching a Flash-mob orchestral performance from the streets of Nuremberg in Germany. The performance begins with a little girl playing the ‘Ode to Joy’ on her recorder for a gentleman who appears to be busking on his double bass. Before long, the local orchestra and choir arrive as the melody’s orchestration builds. The local townsfolk gather around and join in with their singing, and there is a magnificent swell of unity and joy. Students expressed how they wished that they could be there, playing their instruments or joining in with the singing. They commented on the body language of the musicians and the townsfolk and how it was so welcoming and happy. Everyone said that this music made them feel happy and optimistic, and that it gave them hope. These are the very ideas that Beethoven was wanting to evoke when he wrote this music in 1824. He wanted this music to express everyone’s right to freedom and equality, and for people to be united through happiness. It is astonishing to think that by the time Beethoven had written his Symphony No 9, in which the ‘Ode to Joy’ features, he had gone completely deaf.
What I loved about this activity was that it brought everyone together across the school because everyone had a connection to this music. With its stepwise melody, this song is usually amongst the first that students of music will learn to play and sing, and this music appears in so many different contexts that we seem to know it from somewhere. We also enjoyed hearing the ‘Ode’ in a performance with the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. For this concert, the orch invited the audience to bring along their ukes and there were 1,000 ukuleles playing the ‘Ode to Joy’.
This week in music, we have been reflecting on two songs which are both dedicated to Father’s and were written for different audiences and in contrasting styles.
Frances England is a singer songwriter for children. She is a Mum and musician who adores connecting children to music through their experiences. Two years ago, we shared her beautiful lullaby ‘Here With Me’ for Mother’s and Carer’s Day, and this year we have enjoyed her song ‘Daddy O’. The younger students have been singing the catchy chorus line to share with their family on Sunday, and the older students have been reflecting about what makes this song so accessible for young children. They have commented about Frances’ nurturing singing voice, gentle rolling guitar duo accompaniment, and the stories she shares in her lyrics of camping and bike riding. Theo from Yr 4 wrote ‘ I thought ‘Daddy O’ was a happy song because lots of little kids would have enjoyed it’.
The other piece of music we have been responding to in the senior school is a fabulous Jazz number: Horace Silver’s ‘Song for My Father’. This tune, written for Jazz loving audiences, is inspired by Brazilian rhythms and the melodies of Portuguese folk music. The students viewed and listened to a live concert performance from Copenhagen in 1968 of Horace Silver’s Quintette. It’s an 18 minute immersion in improvisation and virtuosic brilliance, and I have really enjoyed a broad spectrum of responses from students. Whilst some students are acknowledging that they felt nothing much from this music, others were wishing that they could play like these musicians or at least be in the audience. What is most exciting for me is hearing students explore why they respond the way they do. I understand that it’s not always easy to find language to describe experiences which are outside one’s usual groove, so It is also really encouraging that students are keen to share this music with their families. I hope that they do, and that through discussion they will develop a deeper connection to their musical experiences.
Thank you to everyone for engaging with Music Online. Many thanks to all the parents and carers for helping the students with their online learning. I wish you all a lovely week end and a Happy family day on Sunday.
Take care, and enjoy this warmer weather. Cheerio🌈🥰😺Deb.