Thursday, April 24, 2014

Playlists...for Books!

A student shared that she had recently read a book that included a playlist to go along with certain points of the story.

Hmmm...that's a novel (pun intended) approach to including music with literature.

It got me thinking.

Would the Laura Ingalls Wilder books be more interesting if appropriate music was chosen to be played at certain points during the stories?

Other than Mr. Edwards singing "Old Dan Tucker" and Pa's fiddle music I don't recall too many references to music so there is a LOT of room for musical enrichment taking advantage of a bit of dramatic (or musical) license.

Dance scenes, of course, would have appropriate dance music from the time period.

Worship scenes could make use of hymns.

Perhaps Native American music when the family was frightened by the Indians when Pa was away.

You get the picture?


I must admit that at the moment my remembrance of this set of books is blurred by the beloved TV series.

(I am a product of pop culture!)


But how about applying this idea to other books?

Wouldn't it be interesting if, as you read a book, you'd come encounter pages on which you would find suggested listening examples to enrich your reading.

Of course, the listening material could be found online - perhaps on the author's website?

Thus making the process of reading a book not only mental, but aural as well.


As a musician and music educator I believe a person can never listen to too much music.

Nor can a person read too many books.

What do you think?

What book would YOU choose to select music for?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Musical Treasures From The Past

I've written before about purchasing lots (as in collected items and sold as a "lot") of sheet music.

Despite the mustiness of the pages I find myself eager to pore over each page and look forward to playing through each one.

Today's lot included sheet music from the first half of the last century. 

Wow! I find it hard to state a particular era, especially one nearly a century ago.

As I lifted the music from the box I came across an envelope which I set aside because my hands were filled with sheet music.

I just had a feeling I wanted to look closely at its contents.

I found a book for beginning violin. I have many instruments, but I don't have a violin.

At least when (not if) I get a violin I'll have a method book to work from.

I found a commencement program from Hunter College dated 1944. I scanned it quickly to see if I recognized any names. 

I didn't.

Finally I got to the envelope. 

It was fragile.

It was OLD.

Inside I found a duet of Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite.

I put it with the other music.

There appeared to be something else in the envelope.

Ever mindful of possible spiders, I tentatively put my hand further in the envelope.

No spiders!


I found a smallish book-like item.

My heart leapt thinking it might be a mysterious passport from the past.

It wasn't.

It was the book shown below.

Army Song Book.

The cover is loose, but present.

I found a couple torn out pages.  

It seems I'm missing the title page for the front and a couple songs from the back of the book.

The book contains patriotic, sentimental, and church songs.

It's nearly complete and looks pretty good for being perhaps nearly 100 years old.

I find myself curious.

Who carried this particular book?

Did he like to sing?

Did this book survive a battle?

What countries was it carried to?

I'll never know, but I am thankful for this mysterious treasure from the past.

Someone else made it last this long.

Now it's my turn to continue its journey.