Choose your language here

This column has new documents for practicing the ukulele, piano, recorder and guitar.

Happy music making! Mr Bradley.

23/03/20 Here is the first tune for you to try if you have a ukulele.

24/03/20 Here is the warm up to get your fingers moving across all the strings.

25/03/20 Here is our own dinosaur song to go with the videos for today.

27/03/20 Here's the music for today's music video link. You can play just the melody or add the harmony part as well. Can you sing and play together?

30/03/20 Here are the melody and the full lyrics for Everyday People.

As we say at Birchfields; 'Everyone is different but we are all equal'.

31/03/20 Two songs today for our friends in Reception. 

I have added some extra lyrics to the first song. Can you learn these as well?

The second song uses words from a lovely book called 'The Something' by Rebecca Cobb.

01/04/20 A fun song today about food. Even though it's a bit silly the song is a useful reminder about eating healthily. Can you make up anothe verse using a different vegetable?

02/04/20 Having seen a lovely video on the school Twitter of a pupil playing the guitar I thought I'd add some sheets to help everyone who has a guitar at home. Try to practice a little bit on most days and you'll find you get better very quickly.

When you're reading the guitar music (we call it TAB) remember that the horizontal lines represent the strings and the vertical lines are the frets. Your fingers go inbetween the frets.

09/04/20 Let's give you plenty to do over the long weekend!

Here's a set of chords for the piano. It's called a Pop Turnaround and is used in lots of songs. Try to follow the colours in your right hand. Remember, a chord is a group of notes played together so press your fingers down together. If you can add the left hand harmony part, it's just one note at a time. can you hear the difference between the major chords (C, F and G) and the A minor chord?

09/04/20 Here's a picture of a piano keyboard with all the notes on to help you as well.

09/04/20 Here's another guitar tune. Don't forget - the lines (TAB) represent the guitar strings and the numbers tell you which fret to put your fingers in.

09/04/20 If you have a recorder at home, here's the fingering and a couple of melodies for you to practice.

16/04/20 Here are the lyrics for Arroz Con Leche. They're written in English and Spanish. They are also written out phonetically to help with the Spanish pronunciation - what you see is what you say.

16/04/20 Here's the melody and a simple harmony part for the song. I haven't written the letters on this so you'll need to work them out first to help you play it. If you scroll back up a little bit, you'll see a picture of my whiteboard with the recorders drawn on it. Along the top of my whiteboard are the notes in treble and bass clef. This will help you work out the notes.

16/04/20 The last one for today is the guitar and bass version of the melody, written in TAB. Remember, the lines are the strings and the numbers tell you which fret to put your fingers in.

17/04/20 Here's Three Little Birds by Bob Marley. The letters above the lyrics (the A, D and E) tell you which chord to play on the guitar or ukulele. The chord shapes are on the sheet below.

17/04/20 Chord shapes for A, D and E major on ukulele and guitar.

20/04/20 Here are the lyrics and chords for today's video. Underneath is a sheet with all 6 chords. You can practice this song on the keyboard, guitar or ukulele.


Taylor Swift - Shake It Off

Here's a great pop song that you can play along with on your ukulele.

If you have a guitar or keyboard and know your chords, you can play along as well.

If you need them, the ukulele and guitar chords are on the sheet above.

22/04/20 Another recorder tune for you today. This one is a little longer than some of the others but it still only uses the notes E, G, A, b.

If you look, you will see some bars are repeated. This makes it easier to play. Remember to count the crotchets (Doos) and quavers (DooDays) carefully. The notes that aren't coloured in are longer sounds (minims).

The fingering chart is below as well.

23/04/20 It's taken me a little while but I've finally finished putting some of Miss Coleman's brilliant acrostic poem into a song. I couldn't make all of the words fit; I've added the lyric sheet below so you can see which parts I've used. Try listening to it a few times and have ago at learning it. Maybe we can use it as a school song in a singing assembly.

Don't forget to have another look at Miss Coleman's poem on the school Twitter:

Miss Coleman's acrostic poem

25/04/20 Here's the piano and guitar music for Pachelbel's Canon. Try playing one line at a time then put different lines together.

27/04/20 Here's the message from the staff to our pupils with a song playing in the background. Well done to Miss Campbell, Miss Coleman and Mr Pickering for playing and singing. They each recorded their part separately, which is very hard to do. Any mistakes are down to me not doing so well in the mixing of it! Lyrics and chords are below.

29/04/20 Here's the music for a very simple version of the Tallis Canon. Look carefully if you're playing it on the piano because it uses Bb - B flat - which is the black note to the left of B. The melody will sound strange if you get it wrong!

The guitar and ukulele parts are beneath as well. Remember, the lines are the strings and the numbers tell you which fret to put your fingers in.

30/04/20 Here's the lyric sheet for Lean On Me.

01/05/20 To go with the videos for the maypole dancing, here's a lovely traditional lullaby, which first appeared in around 1600. If you're playing it on the piano, watch out for the C# - the black note to the right of C. Guitar and ukulele sheets are attached as well.

04/05/20 Hello Star Wars fans!

Here's a short and simple version of the main theme. Watch out for the notes with the number 3 written above them, called triplets. You play them a little quicker than the notes around them.

In your head, think of the word 'Chewbacca' when you play them; three notes, three syllables - Chew-bac-ca.

May the Force be with you!

05/05/20 I've simplified the Seneca Canoe Song (Kayawajineh) and it's here for piano, guitar and ukulele.

06/05/20 Here's the music for one of our short assembly songs called It's A Lovely Day. As I write this, the sky is beautiful and blue with not a cloud in sight. There's even a little breeze.

11/05/20 Rock & Roll music is based on the 12 Bar Blues, which normally uses a three chord pattern. Here are the chords for piano in the correct sequence.

Practice the chords with your right hand first then add the single note (C, F, G) in the left hand.

Guitar and ukulele chords are below.

12/05/20 Year 6 are heading for Double Trouble....

Watch out for the sharps and flats - they are the black notes.

13/05/20 Today's new song might help year 6 with their literacy work this week. When you play the melody, look carefully for the sharps - they are the black notes on the piano to the right of the white notes.

Guitar and ukulele parts are below. Remember - the lines are the strings and the numbers tell you which fret to put your fingers in.

14/05/20 A song to help year 3 with their geography project. If you're playing it on the keyboard, watch out for where your fingers move around.

16/05/20 Here's another recorder melody. This one uses a wider range of notes so look carefully at the fingering chart at the bottom of the sheet.

18/05/20 Here's a song for you to learn all about the special people we know and love. Maybe you can learn to sing it, record yourself and share it on Twitter.

Thanks to Miss Coleman, Mrs Porteous & Mr Pickering for their great work in learning and recording the song for us.

When you're practicing it, watch out for the F#. It's the black note to the right of our normal F. Also look carefully at the structure of the song. There's a note on there telling you in which order to play the sections.

Guitar and ukulele sheets are shared below as well.

20/05/20 If you check back to when we put Everyday People on the page for you to work on, there's a audio clip of this next song. It's called Different And Equal. Here's the audio clip again with the music. It's only very short but the message reminds us to be kind, honest and respectful towards each other.

22/05/20 Here's a nice, simple song for you to practice over the weekend. It's a special weekend for everyone celebrating Eid - perhaps you can sing this song together.

01/06/20 Here's a slightly simplified version of Stravinsky's Firebird theme. If you've listened to the recording of it, you'll hear that the opening theme is repeated at a higher pitch so make sure you move up on the keyboard. Guitars & ukuleles - the numbers tell you which fret to use and for this piece you have to go quite far up the neck.

02/06/20 Another tune for our recorder players. As we've gone through the recorder tunes they have become harder and are using a wider range of notes. Use the picture with the fingering to help you. Remember to blow gently and cover the holes.

03/06/20 Just an image today, to go with the Home Learning Thought for the Day.

While you think about it and discuss it with your family, have a look at today's music video as well.

04/06/20 Today's tune is part of the Petroushka ballet music (check the column on the right for videos of Petroushka). Look carefully at the music - you play it through twice. First time round, use the bar that has the square bracket & number 1. Second time round you skip that bar and jump to number 2. Simple!

04/06/20 A song for our friends in Reception today. In January, Year 2 did a project on pirates and they learnt this song. Here are some of the children singing it for us. Can you learn it?

05/06/20 A song today for our friends in year 1 who are doing their art project on flowers. This one is about the Enchanted Forest where there will be lots of lovely plants to see.

08/06/20 Mediaeval Mayhem!

To help year 2 with their project this week here's a little song that teaches us a simple fact about the Mediaeval Period. The lyrics are in English and Latin.

Latin was a language that was spoken across many countries.

09/06/20 Mattachins (Sword Dance). See if you can make up your own dance for this lively tune.

10/06/20 Here's a simple version of a really old tune from the Mediaeval Period. It is called Sumer Is Icumen In (Summer has arrived).

12/06/20 Today's piece is called the Saltarello, which is a Mediaeval dance. There are examples in the column on the right.

15/06/20 Today's piece is here to help year 3 with their science project. Please let me know if you find out anything about shadows....

16/06/20 Another little tune for year 3 called Oh, Oh, Oh. It's about my shadow and lots of you will know this song.

17/06/20 I've made a simplified version of the Refuge song. It's a tricky tune to play so listen to it first and you'll get to know how it goes - there's a video of it in the column on the right.

If you're playing it on the piano, watch out for the low pitched A. It has its own little lines and it sits underneath the five lines of the stave. On the piano it sits 2 notes lower than middle C

18/06/20 Happy birthday to Paul McCartney

Here's a song by The Beatles called Let It Be. The letters above the lyrics (the C, D, G  and Em) tell you which chord to play on the guitar or ukulele.  Remember the 'm' next to the E means it's a minor chord. The other chords are all major.

There's a video of the song in the column on the left so you can listen to it before you work on playing it.

The chord shapes are on the next sheet below.

22/06/20 Year 6 are looking at propaganda from World War II this week in their project. This piece of music , Beethoven's 5th Symphony, was used by the British and the Allies as propaganda.

Beethoven - Symphony No. 5

During World War II, the opening motif of Beethoven's 5th Symphony became a powerful symbol for the Allied forces. The short-short-short-long rhythmic pattern matched up with the Morse code for the letter 'V' for Victory.

In Morse Code it looks like this:

Here's the music for the opening motif (The short musical phrase). Watch out for the flats that are used. If you don't plat them, the piece won't sound correct.

I've also added sheets showing the notes in treble clef (right hand) and bass clef (left hand), including the flat (black notes) you need to use.

23/06/20 This is the riff from Mars, Bringer Of War. The video is in the column on the right so listen to it a few times so you get the timing then work on it yourself. If you say the words while you are listening to the piece you'll get the idea of how the rhythm goes.

The line of music at the bottom of the image has an 'x' instead of a musical note. You would follow this line if you play the riff on a percussion instrument like a drum, triangle, shaker or saucepan lid.

24/06/20 A year 3 jungle song today. It's very simple so I think you could make up some extra lyrics.

I don't even think there are alligators in the jungle....

Listen carefully to the melody first.

25/06/20 Year 4 are using aliens as inspiration in their writing this week.

Here's a spaceship song for the recorder that might help them with today's work on creating an advert.

Listen carefully to the melody before you play it.

26/06/20 A new song with a simple and positive message.

It's a bit tricky to play on the piano as there are different flats (black notes on the piano). Remember a flat is the black note to the left of the white note. I've written out the first section of the song for you to learn.

Here's some children performing the whole song.

30/06/20 To go with the Thought of the Day discussion you've been having about the apartheid regime in South Africa, here is the South African national anthem.

It's a mix of older songs from South Africa and some of the most common languages spoken in South Africa. It only came into being (in this form) after apartheid ended.

The first verse is written below. It has the words in Xhosa and Zulu along with the translation as well as a phonetic spelling to help you pronounce the words - it's tricky at first!

South African national anthem - Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrica

This video has the lyrics on-screen for you to follow.

if you play it on the piano, watch out for the F#, the black note to the right of F.

If you play it on the recorder, F# might be a new note for you so look carefully at the fingering chart to help you.

01/07/20 Let's start July with a lovely piece of Classical music. It's the opening theme from a ballet called Swan Lake by the Russian composer Tchaikovsky.

Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake - Scene 1

Here it is played by a full orchestra.

Underneath here is a simplified version. If you're adding the harmony part on the piano, watch out for the sharps and flats. On line 2 of the harmony part it also says F#' and F. On the music is another sign, called a natural. All this tells you is to go back to the normal (white note) F.

02/07/20 Here's a simplified version of The March Of The Women by Ethel Smyth.

I've altered it a tiny bit as it's quite a long and complicated tune. I'm sure Ethel wouldn't mind.

03/07/20 I've added another piece from Tchaikovsky today. Here is a simple version of the Theme from Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto in B Flat Minor.

A Concerto is when there is an orchestra and a solo instrument, for example a piano or a violin. They mostly take it in turns to play the main sections of the piece. In this Concerto, the orchestra play the theme first then the piano plays it.

Listen to the simplified version first so you can hear how it goes. Then listen to the version on the YouTube link and you'll be able to pick out where it comes.

Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto in B Flat Minor

We've seen this soloist perform before. I love the way she's watching and communicating with the conductor and the orchestra all the time.

The simplified version is just here.

Here's an image of a keyboard showing you which notes to use. Watch out for the flats, which are the black notes. They've got arrows pointing towards them.

06/07/20 Something different today.

Here's a chance to do some composing for yourself.

Read the sheet (below) carefully and make up your own Minimalist music. You can use an instrument to compose a short melodic idea (a tune) or you can use anything to come up with a Minimalist rhythm.

Watch today's video in the column on the left for one example of Minimalist music. Feel free to explore some of the other composers mentioned on the sheet below.

07/07/20 Here's a simple version of Ennio Morricone's theme to The Good, The Bad And The Ugly.

Make sure you listen to one of the version's in the column on the right. This will help you with the timing (it's a bit tricky).

Here's a keyboard showing you which notes to use.

10/07/20 This is the music for The Best Of Friends from the film The Fox & The Hound. It links with Mrs Campbell's Thought of the Day for today.

Look carefully to see where you repeat a section of the music. Also, watch out for the little curved lines. They are called ties & join notes together.

Here's the keyboard showing you which notes to use. The melody is below for piano, guitar and ukulele.

13/07/20 Here's the music to go with the videos you watched over the weekend. 

Beethoven's Ode To Joy is a very famous tune and it's quite easy to play.

14/07/20 For Bastille Day here's the beginning of La Marseillaise, the French national anthem. More information about Bastille Day is in the column on the right. Look carefully at the keyboard to help you play the correct notes - some of them are low pitch and go below the five lines of the stave.

15/07/20 One last melody for our friends who play the recorder. It's a simple song that has a positive message, especially if you're practicing on your instrument!

If you look carefully you will see it only uses the notes A, G and E so you should be able to learn it from memory.

17/07/20 The music to one section of Handel's Water Music is attached below. Make sure you listen to it a few times first so you know how it will sound when you play it.

You can hear the melody at 19'16' in the video I've used in the column on the left. Be prepared! They play it jolly fast!

Watch out for the difference between the note 'B' and the note 'Bb' (B flat).

The B flat is the black note to the left of B. I've marked it on the keyboard below with a little arrow.

Disclaimer: Birchfields Primary School is not responsible for the content of external sites such as YouTube, although we endeavour to make sure all our links are safe and rely on parental supervision to help us achieve this. 

Children under 13 should not use YouTube without parental supervision.

Keep In Touch 

Please email us at 

to let us know what you are up to and how you are getting on. You can even send us pictures of your work!

This column has videos to watch, links to activities for you to do and words to learn.

Happy music making! Mr Bradley.


23/03/20 Music word of the week: Tempo

                                                                                                                              23/03/20 Music app of the week:

  Novation Launchpad

You can find this on the App Store. Use it to create your own backing tracks. Try changing the track while it's playing.

23/03/20 Music video of the day:

Vivaldi - Spring

This is called 'Spring' from 'The Four Seasons' by an Italian composer called Vivaldi.

This performance is by a violinist called Nigel Kennedy.

Vivaldi wrote music to go with a set of poems. The Spring poem goes:

Springtime is upon us.
The birds celebrate her return with festive song,
and murmuring streams are
softly caressed by the breezes.
Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar,
casting their dark mantle over heaven,
Then they die away to silence,
and the birds take up their charming songs once more

Can you hear how the music matches the words?                                                                                                                                                                                             

24/03/20 Music video of the day:

2Cellos - Thunderstruck

Today's video is a bit of fun. Lots of you have seen this before and enjoy watching it.

It mixes a piece for the cello written by our composer from yesterday, Vivaldi, with a song called Thunderstruck by a rock band called AC/DC. I hope it makes you smile!

25/03/20 Music video of the day:

The Dinosaurs Song

StoryBots - T Rex Song

Here's two videos that we've watched in class when our project was Dinosaurs.

Can you learn the chorus for both songs?

Which dinosaur would you be?

26/03/20 Music video of the day:

Simply Three - Happy

This is a bright and breezy cover version of a brilliant pop song.

We look at this video when we do our string lessons in class. It's a tune that's really easy to dance to - go on, give it a try!

27/03/20 Website link of the week:

Out Of The Ark - free resources

Here's a link to the Out of The Ark website. They make lots of great resources,especially songs - we use them in school. Go to the website and click on the link to 'free resources'. We've also put the link on the school app. Have a good explore!

27/03/20 Music video of the weekend:

KAOS signing choir - Build It High

This is one of our songs about the school Values that will keep you singing all weekend. I've posted the music for those of you who have a keyboard or piano at home. Can you learn all of the sign language too?

30/03/20 Music word of the week: Dynamics

30/03/20 Music video of the day:

Sly & The Family Stone - Everyday People

Good morning everyone. Today's song is another one that we've used as a Values song. Everyone is key stage 2 learnt this back in the autumn so see if you can still remember it. The lyrics and the melody are in the column on the left.  

30/03/20 Music app of the week:

  Apple GarageBand

Many of you will already have this on your Apple tablet but this message might remind you to have a go at using it!

31/03/20 Music video of the day:

John Denver - The Garden Song

To go with the two Reception songs for today, here's John Denver and the Muppets singing about the garden.

01/04/20 Music video of the day:

Puppetoon - Tubby The Tuba

Here's a funny but moving little piece of music for April Fools' Day that tells the story of Tubby the Tuba.

02/04/20 Music video of the day:

Tina S - female guitarist

An inspiring guitar video today from a little girl. It shows how she has progressed as she's grown older and what you can achieve over time with lots of practice.

03/04/20 Music videos of the weekend:

Here are some videos to keep you busy over the weekend.

Claire Crosby - Can't Help Falling In Love

The first is just lovely. In it, a little girl is playing the ukulele and singing a song by Elvis Presley - do you remember the big Elvis poster in my classroom?

On her ukulele is a capo (the metal clamp on the strings). This is used to make the pitch of the strings higher, which then makes it easier for her to sing the song.

The Young Person's Guide

The second video is much longer.  It is called 'The Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra' and shows us the four families of instruments in turn. It's a great way to get to know all of the different instruments and the sounds they make. The lady talking also helps to identify them all.

The original music for the piece was written by a very famous English composer called Henry Purcell. His tune can be found on this web page from the BBC:

BBC Ten Pieces - Purcell

There are lots of terrific videos on this page. Perhaps you'll have time to look at a few of them.

Happy viewing!

06/04/20 Music word of the week: Pitch

06/04/20 Music app of the week:

 Memory Color - Mind and brain training
There used to be a handheld game called 'Simon', where players tapped the colours in different sequences. Here's the modern version. How many can you remember in one go? It's a similar idea to the game Bop It.

06/04/20 Music video of the day:

Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No.3

A lovely bright and sunny piece to listen to today. This was written by a man called Johann Sebastian Bach, who has been possibly the single most influential composer we know of. Even now, pop music uses ideas from Bach. I like today's video especially because you can see the musicians really enjoying what they're doing - watch how they keep looking at each other and smiling while they're playing.

07/04/20 Music video of the day:

Gershwin - Rhapsody In Blue

A longer video today where a cartoon story matches what's happening in the music. It is set in New York and we follow four characters as they go through the day. The music was written by the American composer George Gershwin and is called Rhapsody In Blue. The cartoon is from a longer Disney film called Fantasia (2000). There are two Disney animated films called Fantasia - one from 1940 and the other from 2000. They both use a fantastic selection of classical music.

08/04/20 Music video of the day:

Copeland - Fanfare For the Common Man

A stirring video today from another American composer.  Aaron Copland wrote The Fanfare For The Common Man in 1942. How does it make you feel? It makes me think of someone doing something heroic. This video fades out before the ending so perhaps you'd like to find another video of the longer tune.

There's also a version by a rock band called Emerson, Lake and Palmer. You could compare both versions and see which one you prefer.

09/04/20 Music video of the day:

Anna Kendrick - Cups (When I'm Gone)

Today's video is a blast from the past. It's great fun and all you need is a cup....

09/04/20 Music videos of the weekend:

For all the aspiring rock band musicians and singers here's a few videos for the songs we've been working on. Can you learn all of the lyrics from memory?


Coldplay - Tiny Desk Concert

Coldplay - Viva La Vida - live performance. The song starts at 2 minutes 54 seconds but the whole video is worth watching because the playing and singing is fantastic.


Blur - Song 2

Blur - Song 2 official video


The White Stripes - 7 Nation Army

The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army official video


Oasis - Wonderwall

Oasis - Wonderwall lyrics and guitar chords

13/04/20 Music word of the week: Melody

13/04/20 Music app of the week:

Don't Tap the White Tile promo art.png  Piano Tiles

There are several versions of this to download nowadays but they all use the same idea of tapping the moving tiles. Great fun.

13/04/20 Music video of the day:

Roger Glover & Friends - The Butterfly Ball

Here's a weird and wonderful little video for today. It's shows all the creatures going to a party. Of sorts....

14/04/20 Music video of the day:

Bernstein: West Side Story: Mambo

Today's video is so lively I bet you can't sit still. 

Mambo is a dance style from Cuba. This one comes from the musical West Side Story, which is a modern re-telling of the Romeo & Juliet story. In the movie, this mambo section depicts competitive dances between two gangs - the Jets and the Sharks.

15/04/20 Music videos of the day:

Footloose - old movie stars dancing

I think this video is amazing. First we have a great pop song from a movie that came out in 1984. Then we've got some fantastic clips of  dancing from a selection of old movies.

If you watch the dancing carefully, you can see where people like Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake got a lot of their moves from. I'm already tapping my foot!


Manchester Camerata - Mini music makers

This is a longer video that will give you plenty to do. It's been made by an orchestra called Manchester Camerata and features one of their musicians, a lady called Kate. In it she shows you how to do a little bit of singing, make a really simple shaker, draw a picture and play along with her. You also get a look inside her piano. This might keep you busy for quite some time today.

16/04/20 Music videos of the day:

Arroz con leche - children's song

Arroz con leche - Koufequin y La Impertinente Señorita Orquesta

Arroz con leche - Rock & roll

Three versions of the same song today. This is a little Mexican tune that we looked at when Year 6 did their Hola Mexico project.

First is the traditional children's song - we learnt the first part in class.

In the second version, they've written their own lyrics. You can also see the different instruments they're playing. We use all of these in school. Can you name them?

The last version is great fun. Now it's time to get rocking.

If you scroll down the column on the left you find the lyrics we used as well as the melody and a simple harmony part. The lyrics are written phonetically, which means you say what you see, as well as in English and Spanish. However, you'll need to work out the letters for the music first.

17/04/20 Music video of the day:

Bob Marley - Three Little Birds

A really relaxed video today with a lovely positive message. This style of music is called Reggae and suits a bright sunny day.

I've put the lyrics in the left hand column; there are letters on the sheet to show you where to play the chords on either a guitar or a ukulele. To help with this I've also added a sheet showing you how to play the chords. Relax and enjoy!

18/04/20 Music videos of the weekend:

Peter & The Wolf ballet

Here's a cracking version of Peter & The Wolf by the Royal Ballet & the Royal Ballet School. The music is great - can you hear the different themes for each character? There is a narration to help us follow the story and the dancing is terrific.


Manchester Camerata - Mini music makers

The second video is another of the Mini Music Maker programmes by the Manchester Camerata. Today we are with Gemma, a violinist so get ready for body percussion, singing, drawing and listening.

20/04/20 Music word of the week: Harmony

20/04 20 Music app of the week:

BEAT MP3 2.0 - Rhythm Game - Apps on Google Play

BEAT MP3 2.0 - Rhythm Game  Beat mp3 2.0

If you are familiar the Guitar Hero type game this is similar. It can get quite tricky so it's definitely good for your brain!


20/04/20 Music video of the day:

Bruno Mars - Count On Me live

Today's song has such a powerful and positive message that we can all share. The first video is a live performance by Bruno Mars. Listen carefully to the lyrics so you can hear his message. I've put the lyrics below. The chords and lyrics are in the column on the left so you can play the song on your keyboard, guitar or ukulele.

The Bankesters - Count On Me

Here's a cover version of the same song. Lovely harmonies from the ladies when they  are all singing. Can you identify the instruments they are using?

Jet Jurgensmeyer & Nikki Hahn - Count On Me

The last version has two children singing and playing their guitars. They must have worked so hard to be this good!

21/04/20 Music video of the day:

Make 'Em Laugh

Here's a song from one of the great musicals, Singing In The Rain. The slapstick humour is guaranteed to make you smile. The actor, Donald O'Connor, did all the stunts himself too. If you can find it, try watching the whole movie; every song is a classic.

22/04/20 Music video of the day:

Everybody Wants To Be A Cat

Here's another song from a musical. This one is an animation called The Aristocats and the song is called Everybody Wants To Be A Cat. If cats are this cool, I definitely want to be one.

23/04/20 Music videos of the day:

Shakespeare - Twelfth Night

This is not strictly a music video. However, the music in this animation really helps create the atmosphere. The story is called Twelfth Night and is a short re-telling of a famous play by William Shakespeare. I've put this video here because today is the day Shakespeare was born and died.

George & The Dragon

Today is also St. George's Day and this video is a cute version of the story of St. George and the Dragon.

24/04/20 Music video of the day:

J. S. Bach - Two Bourees

Here's a lovely bit of cello music for you. It is a pair of dances called Bourees.

A Bouree is a plain and simple type of dance. No fancy moves, just good old jumping around.

When I watch this video it feels as if the man (his name is Yo-Yo Ma and he's a very famous cellist) has just sat down and is playing his cello for the sheer pleasure of it.

There are two main sections in this piece:

Bouree 1 is a happy, bouncy piece, which has two small sections that are repeated. Bouree 2 also has two small sections that are repeated.It is slightly sadder in feel - it's in a minor key. Then Bouree 1 comes back again to lift the mood. So, overall, the structure is ABA (Bouree 1/Bouree 2/Bouree 1) and within that, Bouree 1 goes AABB and Bouree 2 goes AABB. Phew!

25/04/20 Music word of the weekend:  Ostinato

25/04/20 Music videos of the weekend:

Pachelbel Canon - graphic score

Our first video is a graphic score. This is where signs and symbols are used to represent the notes.

The piece is called the Canon in D Major and is by Johann Pachelbel. It's a very famous tune and  the structure - the way the chords are played in a sequence - has been used in lots of different ways. 

Pachelbel Canon - period instruments

Here's a live recording of the Canon using instruments from the time Pachelbel was alive (1653 - 1706). He lived during a period called the Baroque era.

The Farm - All Together Now

This video is a pop song by The Farm. It was a top ten hit in 1990. Listen carefully to the beginning and you will hear the chord sequence is exactly the same as the Canon.

The Pet Shop Boys - Go West

A different pop song by the Pet Shop Boys from 1993. It's a cover version of a disco song called Go West, originally by the Village People (they did YMCA). Again, as soon as the song starts you can hear the chord sequence.

Dragonforce - Valley Of The Damned

Wow! |This is totally different. A heavy metal song called The Valley Of The Damned by Dragonforce. You might love it, you might hate it but you'll still hear the chords from Pachelbel's Canon!

Oasis - Don't Look Back In Anger

The last video is for a song that lots of you will recognise. Don't Look Back In Anger by Oasis doesn't stick completely to the Pachelbel chords as it changes in the chorus. But it uses them as a starting point and that's a good enough reason to have a listen!

27/04/20 Music word of the week: Duration

27/04/20 Music app of the week:


Chord Player Keyboard by Jochen Falck 

Chord Player Keyboard. A clever little app that plays chords at the touch of a button while you can make up tunes. You can change the sound and the tempo. Lots of fun.

27/04/20 Music video of the day:

Paganini - Caprice No. 24

Wow! This is such a difficult piece of music to play.

The lady playing it, Hilary Hahn, is a virtuoso violinist. A virtuoso is someone who has outstanding talent and amazing ability.

The piece is called Caprice No. 24 and was written by a composer called Nicholas Paganini, who was himself a virtuoso violinist. We hear a short melody, which we'll call the Theme. Then we hear different versions of the Theme, which we'll call Variations.

Paganini - Caprice No. 24 - 12 violinists

Here's a version with 12 violinists performing. It starts with a Scottish violinist called Nicola Benedetti playing the theme then each violinist performs a variation on their own.


Many composers have used this short piece as inspiration for their own compositions.

One of the most famous is by a composer called Rachmaninoff, a Russian composer from the 19th Century. It's called the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and is a much longer piece than the original. It has lots of different Variations. One of the Variations has become famous in its own right as being one of the loveliest melodies you can hear.

Rachmaninov: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

This video is a performance by orchestra and piano of the Rachmaninoff Rhapsody. The beginning part has the pianist talking about the piece. This is very helpful for when you listen to it. Try listening to it all but if you can't wait, Variation No.18 is our beautiful melody. It starts around 20 minutes and 20 seconds on the video.         I defy anyone to say it's not fantastic.

28/04/20 Music video of the day:

Train - Play That Song

Only listen to this if you're ready to spend all day singing it. This song must have one of the catchiest melodies there is.

This video is called Play That Song and is by train, an American pop band. It's based on a song from 1938 composed by Hoagy Carmichael with lyrics by Frank Loesser.

If you want to play it yourself, the chords are over in the left hand column on 9th April, where it's called the Pop Turnaround. Hundreds of songs use these chords,which is one of the reasons we like the sound of it so much.

Pop Turnaound on keyboard

Here's a lovely version of the tune that shows the chords and the melody.

Well done, guys!

29/04/20 Music video of the day:

Thomas Tallis - Canon

Today's song is very calm - great for a few moments of mindfulness. See if you can find a quiet place, close your eyes and let the music relax you.

The song is based on a song from the bible, known as a psalm. It is generally called Tallis' Canon. Thomas Tallis was a very important English composer who lived during the Tudor period. He wrote music for Henry 8th, Edward 6th and Elizabeth 1st. He must have been very good at his job!

A Canon is very similar to a Round, such as Frere Jaques or London's Burning. Different people sing the same song but starting a different times. Listen carefully and you can hear them joining in.

SPS Madrigal Singers - Tallis' Canon

Transept & the University of South Dakota Concert Choir - Tallis' Canon

These versions show very clearly the Canon, where different groups are singing the different parts at the same time. The first one has a small group of singers, the second has a very big choir.

All three versions are sung A Cappella, which means you can hear just voices. There are no other instruments playing.

A simple copy of the music is in the column on the left. 

30/04/20 Music video of the day:


Lanarkshire NHS Choir - Lean On Me

An important message today. This first video is a virtual choir from NHS workers in an area called Lanarkshire, in Scotland. The song is called Lean On Me by an American singer/songwriter called Bill Withers.

Bill Withers - Lean On Me lyric video

Here's the lyric video. The lyric sheet is also in the column on the left.

YOUnison, an American student run organisation, is targeting April 30 as a “Worldwide Day of Gratitude,” inviting teachers and students, as well as the general public, to learn how to play the classic song Lean On Me. It’s a great idea that is musical, educational, humanitarian and just positively uplifting. They’ve even partnered with a music publisher to give you the tools to learn the song on an instrument:

ArtistsCAN - Lean On Me

Here's a version recorded by Canadian pop and rock stars, including Avril Lavigne and Justin Bieber.

01/05/20 Music video of the day:

Skippers Hill School - The Twister

To celebrate the start of May, here's a video showing some children maypole dancing.

This is a very old tradition, dating back around 700 years in the British Isles. Maypoles would be raised in the village to celebrate the return of warmer weather.

It has generally been the tradition that children would dance around the maypole. Watch carefully and you'll see the ribbons make patterns on the pole. Some of the dancing is quite complicated. The whole village has turned out to watch the dancing. The ensemble playing is a traditional brass band.

British Pathe - May Day Celebrations At Elstow

The second video is from 1939 and shows a whole village watching and taking part in May Day celebrations, including the May Queen and some very complicated maypole dancing. Strange to see the old fashioned clothes but it's similar to the first video as everyone is there to watch or take part.

02/05/20 Music videos of the weekend:

Saint Saens - The Aquarium

Saint Saens - The Elephant

Two videos to watch and compare over the weekend. Both are from a suite written in 1886 called the Carnival of the Animals by a French composer called Camille Saint Saens.

First is a delicate piece called The Aquarium. Can you hear how the music matches the fish floating, darting and gliding around? Can you picture yourself floating around under the water?

The second piece is called the elephant and is played on the double bass. Why do you think Saint Saens used this instrument for this piece?

Altogether, there are 14 pieces in the Carnival of the Animals. Perhaps you can investigate some of the others as well.

04/05/20 Music words of the week: Melody, Harmony, Interval

04/05/20 Music app of the week:

Groove Coaster 2 - Apps on Google Play 

Groove Coaster 2. Tap and hold while following the lines. Keep to the beat.

04/05/20 Music video of the day:

SpongeBob Song - Thank Gosh It's Monday!

To start the day, here's a gloriously silly song. Turn it up and sing along. It could get stuck in your head all day long!

05/05/20 Music video of the day:

Pete Seeger - Kaiyowajineh

This is totally different from yesterday's video. T

Today we see the legendary American folk singer, Pete Seeger, in an interview about how he came to learn a Native American song called Ka iyo wa jin eh. It's from the Seneca tribe and is a song they would sing when they paddled their canoes up and down the river.

What makes this short video really great is the way he goes from talking to singing in a heartbeat. To him there is clearly no difference between the two and he has no embarrassment about singing in front of people at all. Something we could all try perhaps!

A simplified version of the song is in the column on the left. Maybe you could make up a canoe dance as you pretend to paddle down the river.

06/05/20 Music video of the day:

Jimmy Cliff - I Can See Clearly Now

A lovely, positive song for today. This is Jimmy Cliff's cover version of I Can See Clearly Now, which was originally recorded in 1972 by Johnny Nash. It's great on a bright, sunny day like today and goes nicely with one of our assembly songs called It's A Lovely Day. You'll find the music for this in the left hand column.

07/05/20 Music video of the day:

Debussy - Clair de Lune - piano roll

Debussy - Clair de Lune - Kathia Buniatishvili

Today's tune is called Clair de Lune and was written by the French composer Claude Debussy in about 1890 as part of a suite of music. Its name comes from a poem by Verlaine called "Clair de lune", the title of which means "moonlight" in French.

The first video is a piano roll animation where the notes light up to show you which ones are being used.

The second video is a live performance of the piece. Which do you prefer?

Tonight will see the last supermoon of the year.

A supermoon (officially called a perigean moon, but supermoon is easier to say) is when the moon is full and when it's at its closest point to the Earth. It appears larger and brighter in the night sky.

Each full moon through the year is given a different name in various cultures around the world. The May full moon is commonly known as the Flower Moon because it coincides with spring blossoms in the northern hemisphere.

08/05/20 Music video of the day:

Walton - Spitfire Prelude & Fugue

To commemorate VE Day here's a piece written for a film called The First Of The Few.

The music, called the Spitfire Prelude and Fugue was composed by William Walton, who was a leading British composer of the twentieth century.

,The film is about the man who designed the Spitfire aeroplane. His name was R. J. Mitchell. The title of the film refers to a speech made by Winston Churchill about the heroic Spitfire pilots in the Battle of Britain: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few".

This is a short audio clip of part of Churchill's speech.

Remember that it was made in 1940 at the time of the Battle of Britain.

09/05/20 Music videos of the weekend:

Holst - Jupiter

A joyous piece of music for the weekend. This is Jupiter from The Planets Suite by the English composer Gustav Holst (1874-1934)

The sound of the music reflects the fact that Jupiter is the fastest spinning planet in our solar system; can you hear how quickly the strings are playing a three note pattern at the start? Jupiter is also the biggest of our planets and Holst uses the whole orchestra to create big sounds..

There are various themes you can pick out as the music goes on. One theme that is particularly lovely (and famous) comes about 3 minutes in. The music slows down and a gorgeous melody appears.

Holst rewrote this section of Jupiter to fit a poem by Sir Cecil Spring Rice called 'Urbs Dei'. The song (or hymn) became known as I Vow To Thee, My County and is very famous in its own right.

Holst - Jupiter - woodwind ensemble

This is an interesting version of Jupiter, which has been rewritten for a wind ensemble. Can you name the instruments?

Holst - I Vow To Thee, My Country - flashmob

Here's a flashmob performing I Vow To Thee, My County. From the solo cellist at the beginning to the full ensemble it's just lovely. Also, they must have practiced so much to get it sounding this good.

Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Joybringer

This video is a pop song from 1973 by the band Manfred Mann's Earth Band. You'll hear straight away that it's based on a theme from Jupiter. Love the 1970s fashion!

NASA link

Here's a link to the NASA website in case you want to find out more about the planets.

11/05/20 Music word of the week: Rhythm

11/05/20 Music app of the week:

Magic Tiles 3: Piano Game on the App Store

Magic Tiles 3: Piano Game

Tap the black tiles, avoid the white tiles. Sounds simple!

11/05/20 Music videos of the day:

Little Richard - Tutti Frutti

Little Richard - Long Tall Sally

Following the sad news that Little Richard died on Saturday, here's two of his best known songs, Tutti Frutti and Long Tall Sally. When he burst onto the music scene in the early 1950s, Little Richard was like no-one else and was seen as shocking and wild. Along with Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis he was one of the pioneers of Rock and Roll. However, a song called Rock Around The Clock by Bill Haley And His Comets played a big part in making Rock and Roll popular. But you'll have to wait until July to hear more about that song....

Little Richard - Don't Knock The Rock

Here he is performing both songs with his band in the film Don't Knock The Rock.

Little Richard - Hound Dog

This is Little Richard performing Hound Dog, a song made famous by Elvis Presley.

12/05/20 Music video of the day:

Harry Potter soundtrack - Double Trouble

As year 6 are working on a Harry Potter project this week I thought we'd remind ourselves of a terrific song that looks ahead and sees trouble. Not just trouble but double trouble!

The music is in the column on the left.

Tomorrow I'll put on a new Harry Potter song that might help year 6 with their work.

13/05/20 Music video of the day:

Harry Potter soundtrack - Hedwig's Theme

Here's a full orchestra playing Hedwig's Theme from the Harry Potter movies. The instrument at the beginning is called a celesta.

In the column on the left is a new song about one of the spells that are used in the movies. Perhaps year 6 can make up some extra lyrics as they do their literacy work this week.

14/05/20 Music video of the day:

Mr Parr - Ring Of Fire - Eruption

Mr Parr - Magma Rising Up

Two songs about volcanoes to help year 3 with their geography project today. Mr Parr has very cleverly taken pop songs and changed the lyrics to make them all about volcanoes. There's so much information in these songs!

In the column on the left I've added a volcano song we use in school. It's a bit easier than these two songs!

15/05/20 Music video of the day:

Lady Antebellum - Compass

I've used a bit of poetic licence for today's video.

It's called Compass by Lady Antebellum. I was looking for songs that year 4 might find useful for their geography project. However, this song is not really about geography. Instead it's simply a positive message about the power inside of you.

The lyrics are about following your heart to do the things that make you happy.

Your heart is your compass. Enjoy.

Lady Antebellum - Compass live

Here's an excellent live version that really highlights how good their singing is, particularly the harmonies they get.

Lady Antebellum - Compass - Children’s Hospital Orange County

Warning! This is  an emotional version of the song that was videoed at a children's hospital with the staff and children. It really highlights the positivity of the message, particularly the part about never being on your own.

18/05/20 Music word of the week: Ensemble

18/05/20 Music app of the week:



Just pick your instruments, draw notes, record & sing, and drag & drop one of over 2100 loops or samples. Medly breaks up your song into Sections that you can easily pick up, move, delete, copy, and link together to make loops. It's quite a sophisticated sampler that you can use to create more than just basic rhythms.

18/05/20 Music video of the day:

Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain - Shiver Me Timbers

Here's a a great ensemble piece by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. They are a very clever group who regularly cover songs that you wouldn't expect. It's nice to be surprised by their imagination. Here they are (during lockdown) performing a cover version of Shiver Me Timbers, a song by an American singer-songwriter called Tom Waits. If you're a pirate... get ready!

19/05/20 Music video of the day:

Carole King & James Taylor - You've Got A Friend

To carry on with our link to this week's PSHE work, here's a gorgeous song by one of the greatest songwriters of all time. The song is called You've Got A Friend and was written by Carole King. Here she is performing it with James Taylor. In the introduction, he explains how Carole King let him record the song, which went on to be a huge hit around the world. Listen carefully to the lyrics while you think about your special people.

London City Voices - You've Got A Friend

This is a lovely version of the song by a choir called London City Voices. I love how 'full' it sounds with all those voices. The harmonies aren't too bad either!

20/05/20 Music video of the day:

Toy Story soundtrack - You've Got A Friend In Me

Another video for you to listen to while you do your PSHE work on special people. The lyrics remind us that we can be special to other people as well.

21/05/20 Music video of the day:

Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water live

Continuing with our theme of special people, here's another powerful song. Written by Paul Simon in 1969, the song, Bridge Over Troubled Water, is sung by Art Garfunkel. This is a live version, performed at a free concert for 500 000 people in New York's Central Park in 1981. I'm amazed at the way Art Garfunkel makes the singing look so effortless, standing there with his hands in his pockets!

Originally, it was to be a simple two-verse song with guitar accompaniment. The third verse was added in the recording studio when they felt the song needed a bigger finish. They also swapped the guitar for a piano, to better match the vocals.

Art Garfunkel sums up the message behind the song very simply:

‘Whoever you are, if you need some solace, I will try to be a moment of sweetness for you’. 

22/05/20 Music video of the day:

M People - Search For The Hero

Here's an old favourite from Friday assemblies. This is M People performing Search For The Hero. Again, it ties in nicely with our special people project. 

I love the lyrics where it mentions Aiming High - the song could have been written for Birchfields!

Joe Cocker - With A Little Help From My Friends live

This is terrific. The song is called With A Little Help From My Friends and was written by The Beatles. This performance is by a singer called Joe Cocker, and is from a music festival called Woodstock in 1969. He made the song famous and had a big hit with it. What I particularly like is that he puts everything he's got into his singing. He must be worn out at the end of it.

The message of thee song reminds us that we all need help, and our friends are a very good place to start.

The Main Squeeze - With A Little Help From My Friends

Here's a different version. In this one, the band (called The Main Squeeze) really do get their friends to help out.

23/05/20 Music videos of the weekend:

Peter & The Wolf animation

Here's another great version of Peter And the Wolf. Last time, we looked at a ballet performance. This video is an award-winning animation. Although what you're watching is different the story and the music are the same; can you hear how the instruments are used to identify each character? I think the animation is brilliant, and you can see why the film won awards.


Manchester Camerata - Mini music makers 

Another excellent video from our friends at Manchester Camerata. This time, Dave is playing the French Horn and working on some cyphers & codes.

25/05/20 Music word of the week: Timbre

25/05/20 Music app of the week:

Remixlive - Make Music & Beats on the App Store


A sophisticated little loop and sequencer app. You can play around with the sounds  and alter them in lots of ways to customise your own tracks.

25/05/20 Music videos of the week:

Band On The Wall website

The music venue, Band On The Wall has an excellent page that you can explore that is an exciting programme of music and heritage learning and research. There's loads for you to dive into.

Orchestra Of The Age Of Enlightenment - music theory video

This is the first in a series of videos made by the Orchestra Of The Age Of Enlightenment and it starts a discussion about the theory of music. If you ever wanted to know more about the 'how' and 'why' of music, start here and follow their other videos as they are added.

Manchester Camerata - Mini music makers

Manchester Camerata - Mini music makers

Two more videos from our friends at the Manchester Camerata. Firstly, Ryan shows us his tuba and writes out a graphic score, playing some unusual instruments to get the sounds.

Secondly, Gemma plays her violin and shows us some puppets.

01/06/20 Music word of the week: Texture

01/06/20 Music app of the week:

djay - DJ App & Mixer | iOS Icon Gallery

DJay is a great app that lets you practice your mixing skills. What I like about this is that if you have songs on your phone, you can use them.  

01/06/20 Music website of the week:

BBC Ten Pieces - Stravinsky

Here's another page from the BBC Ten Pieces site. This one looks at the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky and his piece The Firebird. I've put a slightly simplified version of the theme in the column on the left.

02/06/20 Music video of the day:

Stravinsky - The Rite Of Spring

Another amazing piece of music today from Stravinsky. This is called The Rite Of Spring and it is music from a ballet. It tells the story of prehistoric spring rites (rituals& ceremonies) of ancient Russia and the great sacrifice of a Slavonic tribe.

When it was first performed in May 1913 it was so different from the music people were used to listening to that it caused a riot. Stravinsky used unusual instruments and odd rhythms. At the beginning we hear a solo from a bassoon, which was unheard of.

This video is very helpful because it's a graphic score and shows the different instruments playing their parts and where they change dynamics and duration. I love the part around 3 minutes and 20 seconds - it still sounds strange and unusual now, 113 years later!

Stravinsky - The Rite Of Spring ballet

Here's a live performance of the ballet. It starts with just the orchestra then the curtain goes up on the ballet ensemble after about 4 minutes.

03/06/20 Music video of the day:

Nina Simone - I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free

Although this sounds really upbeat and cheerful once you read the lyrics you realise there's a very powerful message in this song. Nina Simone spoke out a great deal about racism and inequality. Many of her songs addressed  these issues and this one became known in America as a civil rights anthem.

This song links with the Home Learning Thought for the Day.

04/06/20 Music video of the day:

Stravinsky - Petroushka animation

One more piece from Stravinsky. Today we have an animated version of Petroushka. This is a quirky little animated version from 1956. It is a shortened version of the original piece, which was a ballet written in 1911.

Petrushka tells the story of three puppets.

The puppets are brought to life by the Puppet Master during the 1830 ShroveTide Fair in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Petroushka loves the Ballerina, but she rejects him. She prefers the Moor. Petroushka is angry and hurt, and challenges the Moor. The Moor kills him with his scimitar. Petroushka's ghost rises above the puppet theatre as night falls. He shakes his fist at the Puppet Master, then collapses in a second death.

The music used at the 3 minute mark originally showed dancers at the fairground.

Stravinsky - Petroushka fairground scene - ballet

Here's a clip of the ballet scene at the Fairground. The same melody can be heard around the 2 minute mark in this video. The music for this little tune is in the column on the left.

05/06/20 Music video of the day:

RunDMC, Jason Nevins - It's Like That

Here's a remixed version from 1997 of a song that originally came out in 1983. This remix was made by DJ Jason Nevins. It features some terrific dancing.

The song is called It's Like That and is by the rap group Run DMC. It is about life in the area where the group lives (unemployment, prices, death, etc.). Despite protesting those social and political problems, the song takes on a hopeful message encouraging listeners to abandon prejudice and to believe in themselves. 

Run DMC have been a very influential group. They were among the first of a new school of hip hop artists who pioneered new ways of rapping.

Run DMC - It's Like That audio

Here's the audio track of the original song.

06/06/20 Music videos of the weekend:

Our videos for you to listen to over the weekend tie-in with our latest Birchfields competition #birchfieldslove run by Mrs Campbell @MrsCampbell1016

Have a look on the Home Learning page for more details

The first song for the weekend is by Elton John and is called Can You Feel The Love Tonight. He wrote it for the soundtrack of the movie The Lion King.

The Corrs - At Your Side

At Your Side by The Corrs is a lovely reminder that we're here to help and support you - we're at your side. Always.

Louis Armstrong - What A Wonderful World

This song is called What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong.

I love the spoken introduction to this song as he explains the meaning behind the song. The lyrics are just lovely and sooo positive!


08/06/20 Music word of the week: A Cappella

08/06/20 Music app of the week:

U Beats: Beat Maker & Drum Pad ➡ App Store Review ✅ ASO ...

U Beats is an app for creating unique melodies from scratch. You can choose your own style and play with sound effect to create studio-quality tracks.

08/06/20 Music website of the week:

Each key on your computer keyboard has a different drum sound. Once you type something it will keep playing in a loop. See if you can work out some different rhythms using a variety of keys.

BBC Ten Pieces - West Side Story - Mambo

Back in April we looked at the Mambo from West Side Story. Watch this BBC website and do some more exploring around the Mambo. It's great watching the orchestra playing this fast & furious piece. See if you can create your own Mambo in the kitchen!

08/06/20 Music video of the day:

Mediaeval dance

To go with our year 2 Mediaeval song in the left column, here's a short clip of some Mediaeval dancing. Listen carefully to the strange sounding (very old) instruments.

I've watched this video very carefully and I keep thinking the lady in the yellow top looks really similar to Mrs Campbell....

09/06/20 Music video of the day:

Mattachins (Sword Dance)

Another tune that started in the Mediaeval Period although this is a more modern version. The tune is called Mattachins and the name means 'Sword Dance'. In the Mediaeval Period men would put their swords on the ground and dance around them.

It is a very rhythmic piece and I can imagine people dancing to it. In the column on the left I've put a simple version of the melody - can you make up your own dance to the tune?

10/06/20 Music video of the day:

Sumer Is Icumen In

This is a very special tune. It's called Sumer Is Icumen In, which means 'Summer has arrived'.

It's a Mediaeval song that was composed around 1250. As far as we know it's the oldest English song to have been written down.

The first video uses the written music to show how the voices fit together.

Sumer Is Icumen In - Greenleaf Singers

This second performance shows people dressed in Mediaeval costume. You can also see and hear the different singing parts.

Sumer Is Icumen In - Cliar Cu Buidhe (Celtic Band)

The third video is great for hearing the pronunciation of the Middle English, which is how people spoke during the Mediaeval period.

Bagpuss Songs - 01 - We Will Wash It

Bagpuss Songs - 02 - We Will Mend It

The last two videos are from the TV series Bagpuss and feature the mice singing. They sing about washing, cleaning and fixing things. Can you hear them using the tune of Sumer Is Icumen In? Very clever.

I've put a simple version of the tune in the column on the left. See if you can learn it too.


11/06/20 Music video of the day:

Horrible Histories - The Tudor Song

A cracking video from the Horrible Histories TV show. It's funny and informative - they are very clever. See how much you can learn about the Terrible Tudors. This might help some of our friends in Year 2.

For this tune, they've cleverly used a style of pop music called Two Tone, which was popular in the late 1970s and the early 1980s.

A Message To You, Rudy

Here's an excellent example of Two Tone by The Specials with a song called A Message To You Rudy. I also love the trombone solo in the middle of the song!

HORRIBLE HISTORIES - The Wives of Henry VIII (Terrible Tudors)

Here's one more Horrible Histories song. This one might help us learn about the wives of Henry 8th. I don't think he was a very nice man.

12/06/20 Music video of the day:

Saltarello dance

Another Mediaeval tune today. This is a dance called the Saltarello. It is sometimes called the Hopping Dance and I'm sure you'll see why.

Saltarello dance music

This video shows us some musicians playing the music for a Saltarello on instruments that would have been used in Mediaeval times. You can see they are similar to our modern instruments.

13/06/20 Music videos of the weekend:

How playing an instrument benefits your brain

An interesting video about what happens to your brain when you listen to music and when you play music on an instrument. Fireworks indeed!

19 black musicians who have shaped the world of classical music

This is fascinating. Information and videos about some amazing performers. I could spend hours watching hese videos and finding out more about them all.

Watch 'The Wizard Of Oz' musical. This weekend only!

The Wiz Live! is a musical based on The Wizard Of Oz and will be available tonight, Friday 12 June, from 7pm .

You can stream the production via YouTube channel The Shows Must Go On, but you’ll only have 48 hours to view the show. Definitely worth tuning in for!

15/06/20 Music word of the week: Riff

15/06/20 Music app of the week:

Yamaha Synth Book on the App Store

Yamaha Synth Book

This app features a remix pad that you can use to create your own music, a synthesizer keyboard to play on and a complete history of Yamaha Synthesizers. It's an amazing package.

15/06/20 Music website of the week:

CBS News - Steve Hartman Values' Videos

A really interesting website to look at this week. This is not a music site. Instead, it's from a news channel in America called CBS, one of their main broadcasters (like the BBC or ITV). The man on it talks with a couple of children in different videos about a range of Values, just like we have in school. They spend time working out what each one means and how it can apply to us.

15/06/20 Music video of the day:

Mojo Top 10 Guitar Riffs

Here's a video showing a selection of songs that all use a riff. This might help you remember the word of the week.

16/06/20 Music video of the day:

Bon Jovi - It's My Life

An excellent rock song, which also has a cool riff. The song is called It's My Life and is by Bon Jovi, a very successful American group. The song also carries a really strong message. The lead singer, John Bon Jovi says: "The song became an anthem that appealed to many fans. I didn't realise that the phrase 'It's My Life' would be taken as being about everyone –  'It's my life, and I'm taking control.' Everyone kind of feels that way from time to time."

The song was originally recorded in 2000.

Bon Jovi - It's My Life (Live From Home 2000)

Here's a rather different version of the song that the band recorded at their homes during the recent lockdown. This is more reflective, as if the singer is looking back at what's happened rather than looking forward as he did in the original. I like both versions - which one do you prefer?

17/06/20 Music video of the day:

Refuge signed video

A brilliant song by composer Howard Goodall to go with this week's Thought of the Day slides. As we think about refugees, we also need to think about where they might go and who will help look after them - who will be their friend and shelter them. The simple answer is that we will.

Can you learn some of the sign language as well?

18/06/20 Music video of the day:

The Beatles - I Want To Hold Your Hand

Today is the birthday of Paul McCartney, who came to fame as a member of The Beatles. This video is from an American TV show in 1964 and features I Want To Hold Your Hand, one of The Beatles' first No. 1 singles. The Beatles are generally regarded as the most influential band in pop music and Paul McCartney (along with John Lennon) wrote most of their songs. According to Wikipedia, The Beatles are the best-selling music act of all time, with certified sales of over 183 million units in the US and estimated sales of 600 million units worldwide.

The Beatles - Let It Be

Here's one of The Beatles later songs (from 1970), called Let It Be. It's a very simple song with a simple but powerful message. It's also interesting to watch footage of them rehearsing and recording in the studio.

The chords and lyrics are in the column on the left for you to learn.

Wings - Live And Let Die

After The Beatles broke up Paul McCartney formed the band Wings, which also went on to be incredibly successful. Here are Wings performing Live And Let Die. This was used as the theme tune to a James Bond movie and was nominated for an Oscar in 1974.

Paul McCartney - Get Back

Finally, here he is performing Get Back, a Beatles song, in 2013, showing that he's still a fantastic performer.

19/06/20 Music video of the day:

Vera Lynn - We'll Meet Again

Following the sad news of the death of Vera Lynn yesterday, here's a video of her most famous song, We'll Meet Again. This was hugely popular during World War Two. Vera Lynn first recorded the song in 1939 when she was 22.

Speaking about the song Vera Lynn said: 

"Its lyric seemed to me to be a perfect example of what you might call the 'greetings card song'. A very basic human message of the sort that people want to say to each other but find embarrassing actually to put into words."

The lyrics are on the sheet below.

Anton Rubinstein - Melody In F

The melody is loosely based on an older tune by Anton Rubinstein (1829 – 1894) called Melody In F. Have a listen and see if you can hear the similarities between the two tunes. 

A curious fact about We'll Meet Again is that the first recording of the song was accompanied on a new instrument called the Hammond Novachord, the world's first commercially-available polyphonic synthesizer. Polyphonic means it can make many sounds at the same time.

This made the song one of the first pop records (perhaps the very first) to feature a synth. However it was a later recording, backed by a full orchestra, that became more famous.

Here's a short video that helps put the song in context.

20/06/20 Music video of the weekend:

Damh The Bard - Noon Of The Solstice

Here's a great piece of folk music that tells a story about the changing between Winter and Summer. 

On Sunday it's the summer solstice, which is when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky. It is the day with the longest period of daylight. 

Since prehistory, the summer solstice has been seen as a significant time of year in many cultures, and has been marked by festivals and rituals.

Here's a live video feed from Stonehenge, where many people gather to watch the sun rise every year on 21st June.

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England.

Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. 

National Geographic - What Is A Solstice?

This video explains very nicely what we mean by the word 'solstice'.

22/06/20 Music word of the week:  Crescendo & Diminuendo

22/06/20 Music app of the week:

AudioKit Synth One Synthesizer on the App Store

AudioKit Synth One Synthesizer.

Here's a quote from the Apple App Store about this app:

"AudioKit Synth One is a wonderful example of how iPhone and iPad can change the way music is made. This feature-packed synthesizer encourages play and exploration, providing plenty of fully customisable sounds to please even the most cultured of music producers. Built by musicians for musicians, AudioKit Synth One is a must-have".

I've been using it this week and I can only agree that it's terrific.

22/06/20 Music website of the week:

BBC Ten Pieces - Mythical Creatures

Look at the activities for week nine. I also like the NewsBeat activities. Joseph Bologne was an amazing character and well worth investigating.

22/06/20 Music video of the day:

Ronan Keating - Little Thing Called Love

A lovely video from Ronan Keating, an Irish singer who used to be in the band Boyzone.

It's a song that goes well with Father's Day from yesterday. The video is particularly nice because Keating asked his fans to send in videos of their own and he has added them in. It has a feel of being home-made, which is nice. It's also another song that has a cheerful and positive message.

The lyrics are below.

23/06/20 Music video of the day:

Holst - Mars, Bringer Of War

Having had a look at the year 6 project about World War II, here's an angry piece of music for today. This is Mars from The Planets Suite by the English composer Gustav Holst (1874-1934).

The Red Planet (as it's sometimes called) was associated with war in Roman and Greek mythology.

In the column on the left I've put the music for the opening rhythm. Listen to the piece a few times then work on the rhythm yourself. 

Mars, Bringer Of War animation

This version of Mars is most unusual. The animation tells a very strange story and I still can't work out if the main character is underwater or out in space. Can you decide?

24/06/20 Music video of the day:

The Jungle Book - The Bare Necessities

With year 3 planning a trek through the jungle I thought we could sing this song as we go. It's always important to remember the necessities, even if it's only the bare essentials!

In the column on the left I've added a simple jungle song, to which you might be able to add some extra lyrics.

25/06/20 Music video of the day:

Wham! - Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

Today would have been the birthday of singer/songwriter George Michael. Here's a brilliant pop song from Wham!, the band George Michael formed with his childhood friend, Andrew Ridgeley. The song is called Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go and the story behind how is was written is brilliant.

The inspiration for the song was a scribbled note that Andrew Ridgeley had left for his parents, intended to read "wake me up before you go" but with "up" accidentally written twice, so Ridgeley wrote "go" twice on purpose. When George Michael went to see his friend the next morning, he saw the note and it sparked his imagination.

26/06/20 Music video of the day:

Ariana Grande - One Last Time (One Love Manchester )

Another brilliant singer celebrating their birthday. Today is Ariana Grande's birthday. This American singer/songwriter has been hugely successful, starting with her time on the Nickelodeon TV series, Victorious. Even before that she had appeared in a Broadway musical at the age of 13!

As a singer she's been incredibly successful. For example, she became the first solo artist to hold the top-three spots on the Billboard Hot 100 simultaneously.

Additionally, she is holding the record for the most number one debuts, as well as the only artist to have their first four number one songs debut at the top.

She is also the only artist to have the lead singles from each of their first five studio albums debut within the top ten in the US.

An amazing young woman.

Ariana Grande - One Last Time official video

Here's the official video for One Last Time, which has a strange, alien attack storyline. I like that she and her friend stay together throughout; that's what friends do for each other.

26/06/20 Music video for the weekend:

BBC - Glastonbury Experience

Glastonbury Festival is a five-day festival of contemporary performing arts that takes place near a small village in Somerset, England. This year is the 5oth anniversary of the Glastonbury Festival.

In addition to contemporary music, the festival hosts dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret, and other arts. Leading pop and rock artists have headlined, alongside thousands of others appearing on smaller stages and performance areas. 

The BBC has a whole section of its website devoted to Glastonbury, including many fantastic performers from all your favourite bands and singers.

If you want to investigate the BBC Glastonbury Experience, please check with your parents first.

Music word of the week: Pentatonic

29/06/20 Music app of the week:

SynthMaster One by KV331 Audio

SynthMaster One is a keyboard with tons of presets and effects you can change to create different sounds.

29/06/20 Music website of the week:

Classic FM - 100 Classical Pieces

You'll need to register for this website - ask your parents to help you.

Don't worry - it's free.

There's an amazing choice of classical pieces for you to listen to. The range is brilliant; with 100 pieces, you're bound to find something you think is brilliant,(along with some you might not like!).

29/0620 Music video of the day:

Alanis Morissette - Empathy

A lovely video today that links to the PSCHE Empathy lesson. The lyrics are below.

Alanis Morissette is a Canadian singer/songwriter who began her career in the early 1990s. She was hugely successful around the world with her album Jagged Little Pill. Morissette has sold more than 75 million records worldwide.

30/06/20 Music video of the day:

Kriss Kross- Jump

To help you warm up for the virtual sports day challenges, here's a video by Kriss Kross. If you jump up and down as many times as they do, you'll be warmed up and ready to take on all of the teacher challenges!

Kriss Kross were an American hip hop duo (a duo is two people).

Kris Kross was the youngest hip-hop duo to gain success, with gold and platinum albums, at 12 and 13 years old. They also started an unusual fad by often wearing their clothes backwards!

01/07/20 Music video of the day:

DanzLyf - Eye Of The Tiger - Survivor

Another high energy song to get you moving if you're doing the sports day activities. This video has some great dance moves to help get you warmed up. 

The song is a remix of a 1980s classic rock tune by the band Survivor. This featured as the theme song to the movie Rocky III in 1982. 

Combined sales of original vinyl release and digital downloads total over 9 million copies.

02/06/20 Music video of the day:

Ethel Smyth - The March Of The Women

The March of The Women is a song composed by Ethel Smyth in 1910, to words by Cicely Hamilton.

It became the official anthem of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) and more widely the anthem of the women's suffrage movement throughout the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

Activists sang it not only at rallies but also in prison while they were on hunger strike.

The Representation of the People Act 1918 saw British women over 30 gain the vote but it wasn't until 2nd July 1928 that a law was passed so all women over 21 could vote in parliamentary elections. Better late than never!

The lyrics to the first verse are below. A simple version of the melody is in the column on the right.

03/07/20 Music video of the day:

Rocky II - Running Steps Scene

Here's another great movie sequence to get you motivated for finishing your sports day challenges. It's taken from the second Rocky movie about a boxer from a poor neighbourhood who rises up to be champion of the world.

The end of this scene, where Rocky finishes his run by sprinting up the 72 steps has become very famous. The city of Philadelphia put up a statue of Rocky to commemorate the scene and the film.

Approximately 800 school children were extras in the scene.

03/07/20 Music video for the weekend:

The Greatest Showman - This Is Me

A really powerful video to watch over the weekend.

Follow the words carefully and keep in your mind Miss Campbell's Thought of the Day about Pride Week.

The message is very clear:

At Birchfields, we are kind to everyone, no matter what.

06/07/20 Music words of the week: Major & Minor

06/07/20 Music app of the week:

Get Music Maker Jam - Microsoft Store en-GB

Music Maker Jam

Music Maker Jam is a loop-based production app laid out like an 8-track mixer. It comes preloaded with 2,000 loops.

There are real-time effects to perform with, and the option to record in your own sounds and use them alongside the loops.

As this is completely loop-based, there are no virtual instruments to write your own notes with.

06/07/20 Music videos of the day:

John Adams - Short Ride In A Fast Machine

Saturday was American Independence Day, which is a very big celebration and holiday for the United States. Here's an orchestral fanfare written in 1986 by the American composer John Adams.

It's a terrific piece for seeing how all the percussion instruments can be used .It's also jolly fast so buckle up and get ready for a very fast ride indeed!

Puccini - I Crisantemi

Here is the link to Mrs Campbell's Thought of the Day.

Performing to just a room with 2, 292 plants must have been a very strange experience for the string quartet.

After the concert, the plants were delivered to 2,292 health professionals at the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona.

07/07/20 Music video of the day:

Ennio Morricone - The Good, The Bad And The Ugly - BBC Concert Orchestra

A brilliant piece of music today from a composer who sadly died yesterday. This is the main theme to his soundtrack for a film called The Good, The Bad And The Ugly.

Ennio Morricone (1928-2020) was an Italian composerorchestratorconductor, and trumpet player who wrote music in a wide range of styles.

Morricone composed over 400 scores for cinema and television, as well as over 100 classical works. His score to The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966) is considered one of the most influential soundtracks in history.

Ennio Morricone - The Good, The Bad And The Ugly - Spaghetti Western Orchestra

A slightly different version of Morricone's theme!

Gabriel's Oboe - Theme from The Mission

A gorgeous piece composed by Morricone for a film called The Mission. This shows what a beautiful sound the oboe makes. The video is also lovely as it was filmed in the Italian city of Venice. It's interesting to watch Morricone himself conducting the orchestra. 

Mina – Se Telefonando (1966)

Here's a clip from a pop song that Morricone wrote in 1966. It shows how good he was at composing in different styles. The video clip is quite interesting too; I can't really work out why she's wandering around while wearing a giant length of rope....

08/07/20 Music video of the day:

An Introduction To The West Eastern Divan Orchestra

Today's video is a short clip that introduces an orchestra to us. 

This is a very special orchestra.

The aim of the West–Eastern Divan Orchestra is to promote understanding between Israelis and Palestinians and pave the way for a peaceful and fair solution of the Arab–Israeli conflict.

It brings together young musicians from Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Spain.

In these times where people are asking questions about race, colour, history, gender, religion and so on, it's good to see a group of musicians from different backgrounds working together.

Even in the short video we can see they may not agree on everything but they still respect each other and work together. It shows us there is hope.

This is a link to their website.

West Eastern Divan Orchestra - Tchaikovsky Symphony Number 5 in E Minor

Here's the orchestra playing a symphony by Tchaikovsky (we've met him several times before). There are some cracking melodies in this piece. I love the opening section, which highlights the clarinets & bassoons.

09/07/20 Music video of the day:

Bill Haley & His Comets - Rock Around The Clock

This is a hugely important song in the history of Rock and Roll.

It was the first single to sell 1 million copies in the UK and is generally seen as marking a line between the beginning of the 'Rock era' and the music industry that went before. 

With the song's success, the age of rock music began overnight and ended the dominance of the jazz and pop standards performed by singers like  Frank Sinatra.

It reached number one in the American charts on this day in 1955.

Sonny Dae & The Knights - Rock Around The Clock

Bill Haley didn't write Rock Around The Clock - it was a cover version. Here's the original. The video has some interesting facts about the song.

10/07/20 Music video of the day:

The Fox & The Hound - The Best Of Friends

This video ties in with Mrs Campbell's Thought of the Day about the friends who love each other, no matter what.

The lyrics are below. The melody is in the column on the right.

10/07/20 Music video of the weekend:

Beethoven - Ode To Joy - Flashmob Som Sabadell

Beethoven - Ode To Joy - Flashmob Nuernberg

Beethoven - Ode To Joy Flashmob Westminster

This year commemorates the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the most well-known composers around the world. We'll be looking at more of his work as the year goes on.

We've already heard one piece by Beethoven when we helped year 6 with their propaganda work on 22nd June - the first movement of his Symphony No. 5.

A symphony is a piece written for an orchestra (usually) in four movements or sections.

The videos for you to watch over the weekend are of another really famous composition by Beethoven. It's one of the main themes from his Symphony No. 9 and is called the Ode To Joy (in German it's called An Die Freude).

Over the years, Beethoven's Ode To Joy has frequently been used as a protest anthem and a celebration of music.

If you don't know what a flashmob is, you'll soon work it out!

13/07/20 Music video of the day:

Swedish House Mafia - Don't You Worry Child

An inspirational video to start the last week of term.

This week's videos are for year 6 as they look forward and prepare to move on.

14/07/20 Music video of the day:

Des Ree - you Gotta Be

A lovely relaxed video to help you chill. It still has a strong message.


La Marseillaise - video montage

On a separate note, happy Bastille Day! here's the French national anthem

Today is a national holiday in France and it's not just any old holiday but their biggest celebration of the year. 

Here's a short video explaining why the French celebrate Bastille Day (& why it's called Bastille Day!).

La Marseillaise - A Cappella

This video has a lady singing La Marseillaise a cappella (just her voice, no other instruments). She puts a lot of feeling into it and I like the way this video has the colours of the French flag in it; the red cloth, the white wall and her blue dress.

15/07/20 Music video of the day:

Fleetwood Mac - Don't Stop

An uptempo song for year 6 today. It's a great song anyway but the addition of a marching band turns it into something you can't stop moving to.

Listen carefully to the lyrics and think about the message - tomorrow is an opportunity.

16/07/20 Music videos of the day:

Queen - We Are The Champions

An obvious choice for year 6 today. You've faced a most unusual year and have triumphed in the face of adversity.

Frank Sinatra - That's Life

A less obvious choice for our second video. Watch the video a couple of times so you can hear the lyrics clearly; there's a good message in there.

Some of you might not even have heard of Frank Sinatra but he became one of the biggest singers in the world. He was also voted 'Voice of the 20th Century'', coming ahead of Elvis Presley and the Beatles.

In July, 1939, the Harry James Band recorded “From The Bottom Of My Heart” in New York. The new vocalist was a skinny youngster called Frank Sinatra, cutting his first single. He was on a two-year contract and paid $75 a week. The song was a flop, selling just 8,000 copies – small-fry by any standards.

Undaunted, Sinatra went on to become one of the biggest-selling recording artists ever, notching up sales of more than 150 million records worldwide. 

17/07/20 Music video of the day:

Handel - Water Music Suite

On this day in 1717, King George I and several aristocrats boarded a royal barge at Whitehall Palace, for an excursion up the Thames toward Chelsea

Another barge, provided by the City of London, contained about 50 musicians who performed this piece of Handel's music, called The Water Music Suite (a Suite is a collection of short pieces, often including dance movements). Many other Londoners also took to the river to hear the concert. 

We know this happened because it was reported in  The Daily Courant, the first British daily newspaper.

King George asked Handel to write the music.

In this performance the musicians are using 'period Instruments', which means they are either from the time the music was written or have been made as exact replicas.

It's quite a long piece but each section is quite short so it changes from slow to fast & loud to quiet. I also really like the way the conductor interacts with the musicians.

18/07/20 Today was the birthday of Nelson Mandela.

He was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader and philanthropist (a person who does good thing for people just because they care)who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

He was the country's first black head of state and the first elected in a fully  representative democratic election.

Stevie Wonder - Happy Birthday