The children investigating the inner workings and mechanics of a piano.

Today, Studio Workshop was fortunate enough to have an expert musician and jazz historian in class today.  the sessions started out with some basic information about the history of Jazz in the united states, and it’s migration via musical recordings throughout the world.  The children heard several samples of various types of music, including some of the great’s like Louis Armstrong (whom the children immediately recognized).  There were lots of interesting questions, relating to where jazz originated, what the difference between dixieland and swing was, and what some of the traditional jazz instruments were.  Our guest presenter was kind enough to bring in his own equipment, and share some of his musical talents with the group.  After a thoughtful run through the history of jazz, the kids practiced melody making by improvising a simple melody on a keyboard, which the tempo was kept by our presenter.  Blue notes (an additional to standard scales) were discussed, as were the concepts of crescendo, decrescendo, scales and tempo.
Llamas, funny combs, and other shenanigans.

Once the fundamentals were covered, it was time to write a song!  The children were full of creative (if not outright silly) ideas on what the song should be about, and by popular vote the group settled on a “Zebra and a Lice Comb” of all things.  Once the laughter subsided, the group got to making their music, clapping along, laughing and singing along.  The session ended with a question about what the pedals on the piano actually did, and all the kids had the opportunity to crawl up atop the piano to look inside as the pedals were pressed, keys were played, and the mechanics of the piano were displayed.
For those of you interested in taking a crack at some musical composition at home, grab an instrument and play along to this snazzy little loop:
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All in all, an exciting Studio Workshop day!

Jazz, Swing, Dixieland, and a Little Improvisation
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