The ABC's of Chamber Music:
A Program for Elementary School Children
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In this interactive musical program, the American Chamber Players introduce youngsters to the concept of chamber music – and to the joys of classical music in general. After an upbeat musical introduction – and after telling the children a little bit about ourselves – we demonstrate the sounds and capabilities of our individual instruments (including some of the more unusual sounds our instruments can make...), and then show how the instruments sound in various combinations.
Often we will break down a section of a specific piece to show how the parts fit together: how the parts sound individually and how the music sounds as additional parts are added. As a treat, we often demonstrate the process by having the children themselves be the performers – we divide them up into sections, assign different singing, clapping, and humming parts, and then put them all together!
As we perform music by different composers, we demonstrate different styles and musical languages while emphasizing that no matter the style – or whether a piece was composed last year or 200 years ago – the composer’s ideal is always to take us on an emotional journey. The journey may be happy, sad, exciting, scary, a little strange, or some combination of all those qualities, but the goal is always to touch our feelings. Throughout the program we welcome the children’s questions and reactions, and those reactions invariably lead to discussions along paths that are fascinating, funny, unforeseen… and wonderfully rewarding.
Recommended for children Grade 3 and higher.