The Music Workshop Company Blog 

Each month the Music Workshop Company publishes two blogs. One blog, written by the MWC team addresses a key issue in Music Education or gives information about a particular genre or period of music. The other blog is written by a guest writer, highlighting good practice or key events in Music Education. We hope you enjoy reading the blogs. 
 
To contribute as a guest writer please email Maria@music-workshop.co.uk 
Fanny Mendelssohn’s music is now reaching a wider public, having been overshadowed by her more famous brother, Felix Mendelssohn both during her lifetime and in subsequent years. Despite periods of her life where she was unable to compose, Mendelssohn established herself as a composer, conductor and performer in a largely male-dominated environment. Her life highlights some of the challenges female composers have faced throughout history.  
 
We explore her Piano Trio in D minor, Opus 11, which is suggested in the Model Music Curriculum as a piece suitable for Year 5, and offer some activities to help you study the composition. 
 
 
"Fanny-mendelssohn-9ba7472d-18ca-43cc-9f62-85362217db2-resize-750" by Wikiludiki is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/?ref=openverse. 
 
Photograph of Stuart Hancock compser
From hobbyist to professional: my musical journey as a composer 
 
This month on the blog, composer Stuart Hancock tells us how he first began playing and composing music, and the light-bulb moment that led to his career. Stuart also gives us a sneak preview into what promises to be a special event this November: a series of family performances of the classic Oscar-winning film Peter and the Wolf, complete with live orchestra. 
 
MWC is pleased to be able to offer our blog readers a discount on tickets for the 18th November Peter and the Wolf performance - see the end of the post for details. 
A photograph of Saint-Saens
This month, in preparation for Halloween – our blog explores the spooky Danse Macabre by Saint-Saëns.  
 
The composition is familiar to listeners all over the world, thanks to its use on film and TV soundtracks, where it has frequently been employed to instil a sense of the uncanny. 
 
With its inventive instrumentation, cleverly arranged to evoke a scene of the dancing dead, the work is suggested as a piece suitable for Year 3 and above in the Music Model Curriculum. 
 
We suggest activities linked to the piece. 
This month, music psychologist Dr Dawn Rose tells us about Songlines for Parkinson’s, an innovative project she and her research team have been working on with The Music Workshop Company’s Artistic Director, Maria Thomas.  
 
Dawn explains how the course offers a new way of using music to help people with Parkinson’s to manage some of their symptoms. 
A photograph of Gustav Holst
The Planets is probably Gustav Holst’s most famous work. It captures the essence of each Planet brilliantly; the musical themes are well known and have influenced later works. The piece has been described as an “orchestral suite” but it includes a wordless female chorus alongside the large orchestra. Holst is sometimes described as an underappreciated composer, but The Planets is a piece that’s still very popular – with Jupiter reaching number 7 in the Classic FM Hall of Fame in 2023. It’s a piece that is recommended in England’s Model Music Curriculum. 
 
 
Image: By Herbert Lambert (1881–1936) - National Portrait Gallery - Portrait NPG Ax7745; Gustav Theodore Holst, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7667183 
A photograph of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor seated looking at the camera.
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor is a composer whose popularity has grown and receded many times since he achieved fame with his trilogy of cantatas The Song of Hiawatha, which premiered in 1898. The Model Music Curriculum suggests listening to his Symphonic Variations on an African Air and possibly learning to sing the main melody, but this could also be a good introduction to starting to read a musical score. 
 
British musicologist Herbert Antcliffe commented: "To those who really wish to know Coleridge-Taylor... no single work of his will reveal him more fully." Here, we explore the work and the man behind the music. 
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