The MWC Playlists – Listening Resources for You
Posted on 15th January 2018 at 16:00
Listening to music is beneficial for many reasons. It can be a relaxing pastime in itself, inspiring, soothing and uplifting, or it can be a focused learning activity that has many positive influences on social and academic development. The benefits of music have been widely reported for years, marketed by companies selling the concept that a baby who listens to Mozart will grow up to be more intelligent. There’s some truth in behind this belief: Research indicates that music lessons change the course of brain development and are likely to influence children’s success in other, non-musical tasks (read our guest blog from Dawn Rose to find out more).
Last term MWC launched our new Spotify playlists. We will be adding more throughout the year but wanted to introduce you to some of the new listening resources that we have recently shared and offer you the chance to contribute ideas and requests.
As discussed in our blog, A Focus on Listening, there is still debate as to whether young people should be exposed to full symphonies, suites or operas.
But for our playlists we have put together a series of short pieces or movements of larger works to create selections of music on specific themes, or to showcase the work of particular composers and artists.
The idea behind all of our MWC resources is to make teachers’ lives easier. While some music teachers’ knowledge is encyclopaedic, covering a range of genres and styles, others come to take on responsibility for music in a school based purely on enthusiasm or having learnt an instrument when they were younger.
All of MWC’s free resources aim to support novices and experts alike. Check out our free online resources on our website to see the full range.
Our playlists have been developed to help in a range of ways. Perhaps some of these suggestions might inspire you:
1. Play music as students enter and leave assembly or another school gatherings. This gives them something to focus on, discourages talking and can be used as a starting point for assembly topics or classroom activities
2. Use music listening as a starting point for a number of subjects, particularly for Early Years and Primary children, for example:
Maths – counting beats in a bar
Literacy – using music as the inspiration for writing a story,
Nature – exploring how composers have characterised animals, birds and weather through music
Geography – listen to music from around the world
History – make a timeline of music influenced by historic events, or compare how music styles fit with historic culture, fashion and politics
Science – looking at the phenomena of sound and acoustics
Social skills – discovering how making a simple piece of music together requires teamwork and empathy
3. Playlists can also be useful when the children arrive or leave for the school day. The MWC team are great believers in “send them out singing!”
Our most recent listening selection is based on the seasons of the year, a topic that has inspired composers for centuries. One of the most famous depictions of the changing weathers is Vivaldi’s Four Seasons written in the 1720s. Vivaldi’s work is a series of four violin concerti, representing Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, each of which is preceded by a sonnet describing the piece. This is thought to be one of the first examples of “programme music” – music that has a narrative.
The playlist takes us through the year, beginning with the popular Largo from Winter from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. The sonnet preceding the movement is:
"Passar al foco i di quieti e contenti
Mentre la pioggia fuor bagna ben cento."
Our favourite translation of this is:
"To rest contentedly beside the hearth, while those outside are drenched by pouring rain."
We move on to Spring as portrayed by Leroy Anderson, Delius, Coates, Vivaldi and Piazzolla.
Summer is represented by works by Gershwin, Coates and Autumn by Delius and Grieg.
In anticipation of our forthcoming February blog about Welsh music, we have put together a playlist of traditional Welsh songs to help you celebrate St David’s Day on 1st March. Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus!
Our March blog will celebrate Debussy, commemorating 100 years since his death. We’ve put together two Debussy playlists, one showcasing his orchestral music, and the other featuring his piano music. Debussy is one of the composers most associated with Impressionist music and his work has been extremely influential.
Check out these and other playlists on our MWC Playlist page.
If you would like a playlist on a particular theme or genre, email your request to Maria at music-workshop.co.uk…
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