During this unsettling time music can bring a huge amount of comfort and happiness, and fortunately for us it can all be accessed from your own living room!
With many parents juggling working and 'home schooling' we thought it would be helpful to signpost to a few musical resources that are worth investigating whilst staying safe at home...
1. Myleene's 'Music Klass'
Myleene Klass is teaching music lessons online, via Youtube, Instagram and Facebook. She has chosen to teach without instruments with the aim of making music learning as accessible as possible - she doesn't want to counteract any techniques teachers may have been working on, and also wanted to bring music to those who don't have an instrument right now.
2. David Walliams' Marvellous Musical Podcast
You may already have your wee ones tuning in to David Walliams' free 'elevenses' stories every day. If they enjoy those, they are bound to enjoy this podcast series which seeks to educate children about classical music. There are 10 podcasts to listed to which cover a 'musical journey' from the history of music – meeting characters such as Ludwig ‘Grumpy’ van Beethoven to 19th-century rock star Franz Liszt.
You can listen to the full series by visiting globalPLAYER (NB - if you have an Alexa, or other smart device, you can add the global player as a skill and use this to stream direct 👍 )
3. BBC's Ten Pieces
BBC Ten Pieces was designed to open up the world of classical music to the next generation through selecting, yep you guessed it, ten pieces of music.
There are great introductory videos, animations and explanations for each piece of music which you can access here, such as Khalil Madovi introducing John Adams's exciting Short Ride in a Fast Machine.
Ten Pieces challenges students to rethink orchestral music - what it sounds like, who can make it, and how it's used - through composers and their music. If your children enjoy these there are a few live lessons that are worth a watch too, you can access those here.
4. West End and Broadway's Musicals
With musical theatre shows having been cancelled, audiences are being given a treat by many of these great shows being aired online for free. Whilst some of them may not be suitbale for young audiences, there are many that are - for example Peter Pan, a family-friendly, Tony-Nominated Broadway revival of the classic tale, is being streamed for free from Broadway. You have to subscribe for a free trial, but even one show is worth that!
Alternatively you could chose the 2017 production of Kenneth Grahame’s whimsical river bank tales, Wind in the Willows, performed live at the London Palladium. This one is completely free, or you can make a donation if you wish.
For a comprehensive list of musicals available you can visit Classic FM's website.
5. CBeebies Music and Proms
For the younger members of the family, CBeebies Music topic has a variety of fun games and activities to get little ones moving! You can dance with Rastamouse, boogie with Justin and friends and go on musical adventures with Melody.
You can also access the very popular CBeebies prom. The current prom theme is 'Off to the Moon' - a musical journey to the Moon celebrating 50 years since the first Moon landing. The CBeebies Prommers become Musical Astronauts and go on an imaginary journey to the moon using the power of music.
6. Instrument DIY
There are a huge range of resources on the BBC's Bring the Noise page. One of the Musical activities to try at home is having a go at making your own musical instrument. Of course, homemade shakers of bottles filled with rice, and saucepan drums are always a classic, but YolanDa Brown goes one step further and challenges her Mighty Music Makers to create musical instruments with items found around the school, in a market, at home and in an allotment.
The episodes are fun and although some instruments are harder than others, they should spark some inspiration in how to make sound using every day objects.
There are also a variety of home musical instrument ideas here.
7. Warwick Music Group's Online Music Festival
Our team at Warwick Music Group is filled with teachers and parents. We understand that many children who play an instrument would have been working towards something special, and are bound to be disappointed when it was cancelled.
We therefore came up with the idea for an online music festival; an opportunity for children and amateurs who wish, to perform whatever piece or pieces they have been working on. It maybe something from their graded music exam, maybe something they were going to play at an end of term concert with their band, maybe something from a school recital.
We don’t mind what you play – just that you enjoy making music and know that your hard work will be listened to, appreciated and recognised! Get your children playing their piece, record it and send it in! Visit our online music festival page for more details and how to enter.
8. Create your own composition
For older children which might not be so excited by a DIY instrument, icancompose.com has some great resources. There is lots of free content for listening & composing and they are offering a free voucher code for one of the premium courses too.
Suitable for GCSE and A-Level, the 'How to get started' lesson above is free, and will get the creative juices flowing...
Alternatively there are lots of great apps available. Garageband for Apple and Soundtrap or Band Lab for IOS & android are designed so pupils can sequence and record in their ideas from their tablets to multitrack and record pieces.
Last but by no means least if you don't have an instrument, you can use the app pictured above to turn keyboard keys into a melody - you can even choose which instrument sound you want to use!
9. Learn about Orchestras through games
The New York Philharmonic Orchestra has a great variety of activities to help you learn all about Orchestras. You can play games or watch some orchestra performances in the ‘Young People’s Concerts Play section.
Activities like matching composers, scavenger hunts, puzzles and quizzes should keep you and your occupied for at least a couple of hours! visit the website https://www.nyphilkids.org/
10. Take a pop quiz with a classical twist!
Can you recognise famous pop songs if they have been given a classical arrangement? This quiz turns popular songs into classical pieces - how many can you get right?
Or - can you guess which pop songs have inspiration from classical pieces? A few of these might surprise you!
We hope these ideas have inspired you - do share with us any you have come across that we haven't mentioned!
If you enjoyed reading this, you might also find our School Closure Musical Activity Pack helpful.