Lieder Project

We were incredibly lucky to take part in a musical project on Monday. Lieder is a type of classical music where poetry is interspersed with music to create fantastic stories. The session started with Rachel and Phil singing piece of music in German. Even though we didn’t understand the lyrics, we were still able to construct the story through their mannerisms and voice.

We then spoke about different musical aspects that can vary music such as tempo, dynamics and pitch. As a group, we then created our own verse that will appear as part of a much larger piece. We composed our lines to fit the music of German composer Franz Scubert.

Musician of the Month: ABBA

ABBA were formed in Sweden and were comprised of Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus,  Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad. Benny and Björn had started writing songs to be included in the Eurovision competition from 1969 but had failed over and over again. In fact, those early failures were key to the formation of ABBA. They came 3rd for Sweden in 1973 and eventually made the finals in 1974 with Waterloo. They went on to become winners of the final leading to world-wide success. 

It was unusual for a pop group to have so many songs in the minor key which adds a sense of sadness and loneliness underneath the glamour of the disco sound they had. Perhaps the best example of this would be The Winner Takes it All which was reputedly written by Bjorn, about the breakdown in the relationship with Agnetha with the latter singing on the song.   

Their music has taken on a whole new dimension thanks to the musical Mamma Mia named after one of their biggest hits and featuring tracks from their back catalogue. It is still played in theatres where it is now the seventh-longest running show in West End history. In 2008, a film of the same name was made starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth. 

Year 6 – Bandlab

Year 6 have been working on a remix of Nina Simone using Bandlab. The children learnt about sampling (the reuse of a portion of a sound recording in another recording) and the way electronic artists use this to create new pieces of music. The children sampled Nina Simone’s vocals in ‘Feeling Good’ and added drum patterns to compliment their sample.

Lloyd’s Remix
Grace’s Remix

Musician of the Month: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

​​Born in Salzburg, Austria in 1736 he is perhaps one of the most recognisable names in classical music with a canon of works that has influenced and inspired many composers who came after him.   

Mozart was son to a violin teacher called Leopold Mozart who also wrote pieces such as the ‘Trumpet Concerto’ and the’ Toy Symphony’. It was still remarkable though, that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was able to start composing so young and with such accuracy. He had an incredible ability to remember music. By the age of 3, Mozart had learned to play a clavier, which was an old-fashioned stringed instrument that had a keyboard. By the age of 5, he was playing the harpsichord and violin. He was playing in front of royalty when he was just 6 years old.

Mozart’s music was of a Classical style and he composed in many different forms: opera, chamber music, symphony and solo concertos. These forms were not new, but Mozart added a level of emotion and technical brilliance which stood him above other composers. He produced 626 works in total.

Mozart is said to have had a major influence on classical music, particularly after his death. Even during his life, he received some fame and success and was seen as a major influence on one of the world’s greatest living composers, Ludwig Van Beethoven. Even 100 years later, composers were still creating works in honour of him such as ‘Mozartiana’ written by Tchaikovsky in 1887.

Musician of the Month: Aretha Franklin

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A in 1942 Aretha Franklin has become synonymous with soul music. Her breathtaking performances twinned with her impeccable stage presence have made her an icon.  

The world had not heard a voice like Franklin’s — one that felt so modern and captured the range of emotions felt by the U.S.A. at the time, especially during the political, cultural and racial difficulties of the 1960s and ’70s. Her voice was characteristic of her gospel upbringing. It was her ability to use her powerful gospel voice, and bring elements of jazz and blues into her songs, which stood her out from the crowd. One of her most recognisable songs is Say A Little Prayer which is about a woman’s concern for someone who has gone to the Vietnam War.

Aretha spent much of her life involved in the struggle for both civil rights and women’s rights. She gave money to civil rights groups. She also performed at benefits and protests. Her songs “Respect” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” became anthems of these movements for social change. She was also a strong supporter for Native American and Indigenous Peoples’ rights worldwide.

Musician of the Month: Elton John

He was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on March 25, 1947, in Middlesex, England. He showed his musical talent from an early age and was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music at 11!

He has written so many hit songs including, Your song, Goodbye yellow brick road, Rocketman, I’m still standing, Tiny dancer and Don’t let the sun go down on me, however he is no lyricist. The majority of lyrics that you can hear in his songs have been written by long term collaborative partner, Bernie Taupin, but he has also worked with other famous lyricists like Tim Rice, most notably on The Lion King soundtrack, for which he won an Oscar! 

Big Samba

On Friday, our brilliant samba band went to the John Charles Centre to play alongside several other schools. It was a pleasure to see the children taking part in a large scale musical event after so long away. The day saw the children play the pieces they had been learning with Mr Mercer and collecting the Music Champion Award on the school’s behalf. Special thanks must go to Mrs Linsley and Miss Nwaesi who took centre stage following Mr Ash’s isolation.

Musician of the Month: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda is an American actor, singer, songwriter, rapper, director, producer, and playwright (he keeps himself pretty busy!). Children may know him from the 2018 film Mary Poppins Returns, where he played Jack, a lamplighter (the new Dick Van Dyke character) Here he is – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZ9WKQmcX2k. Adults may know him from Hamilton (which he starred in and wrote) or His Dark Materials on BBC which he was in before Christmas.