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    K-5 Vocal Music Class News

    There is always a lot of activity in the Stevens music room.  We sing, dance, play instruments and try to keep it all fun and engaging while building technical skills, expanding our musical vocabularies and taking care of each other.


    The bulletin board outside the music room is growing network of musicians and how they influenced each other.  Each week at the beginning of 3rd-5th grade classes we hear a song from an artist, and then I explain how they connect with the previous artist. 

    We started with:

    Chuck Berry (1926-2017)

    Chuck Berry - Roll Over Beethoven

    Chuck Berry was one of the creators of Rock and Roll, known his distinctive guitar solos and stage showmanship​, including the duck walk. 

    This video of a later Chuck Berry features a great guitar solo and duck walk starting at 1:12.

    T-Bone Walker (1910-1975)

    But Chuck Berry had influences as well.  He got some of his guitar stylings from blues players, and named T-Bone Walker as a particular influence.  T-Bone was one of the earliest players of electric guitar, especially as a melody instrument.

    Here's T-Bone playing one of his most famous tunes "Stormy Monday."  T-Bone's influence can be heard in any blues you hear played on electric guitar.

    ​The Beatles (1960-1970 - the band's dates, not the players)

    John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison & Ringo Starr

    Chuck Berry's influence influence can't really by under-emphasized.  The Beatles eventually created their very own style of music, but they started out covering American rock and roll songs from him, and similar bands.  Here they are playing his signature tune, "Roll Over Beethoven."

    The masses of screaming teenagers that I described in class are especially audible in this performance of the same song.
    The Beatles stopped performing live, but didn't stop playing and the freedom to do anything they wanted in the studio led to some amazing music.  Here's "A Day in the Life" which features an orchestra playing an improvised build up of sound as a transition to the middle of the song. 

    Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915-1973)

    We stepped back in time to hear another of Chuck Berry's influences.  Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a child prodigy on the guitar, performing on the gospel circuit when she was 6.  She was a renouned gospel musician who helped create rock and roll with her unique (at the time) guitar technique.  She drew large numbers of non-gospel fans to her performances, but stuck to the traditional music of her church.  Here's a live performance in a train station in England.  Her playing starts at 0:55.