Director's Blog

Shells Coloring Page, Spanish Pronunciation
By Karen Abraham on January 15, 2013

Hi families!

I will send you the coloring page of shells, because I don't have an easy way here to attach it. Sorry, I didn't worry about whether they were the shells mentioned in the song, but you can color them to match the color verse.

Here is the transliteration of "Duermete Niño Bonito" and the Spanish verse in "Everybody Loves Saturday Night", just in case you lost the paper version. In "Everybody", I have underlined the syllables that fall on the main beat; where the hyphen is underlined, the beat comes in between the two syllables, showing that the word is syncopated


Duérmete Niño Bonito

Duér-me-te      ni-ño bo-ni-to

Dwer-meh-teh     nee-nyo   boh-nee-toe

Duér-me-te        mi         a-mor         con      és-ta          can-cion

Dwer-meh-teh   mee      ah-more    cone     eh-stah      cahn- sy'own

Yo           es-toy      jun-to          a     ti,       duér-me-te.

Jhoh       es-toy      hoon-toe     ah   tee,   dwer-meh-teh. 

Everybody Loves Saturday Night

A     to-do         el     mun-do          le en-can-ta      

ah   toe-doe    ell    moon-doe      lehn-cahn-tah

la      no-che        del      sa-ba-do

lah   noh-cheh     dell     sah-bah-doe



Happy singing! 


Spooky Playalong
By Karen Abraham on October 14, 2012

This week in class we danced to The Monster Mash, a classic pop song from 1962 by Bobby "Boris" Pickett.

Our spooky play along was Funeral March of a Marionette, by Charles Gounod. This is familiar to many of us as the theme from the Alfred Hitchcock Hour (originally "Alfred Hitchcock Presents"), a TV show which aired from 1955 to 1965, was briefly revived in 1985, and is still seen in syndication on NBC's Chiller channel.

I love this for a play along because of the dynamic contrasts (the louds and softs), because of the crisp, definite march tempo, and also because of the major key section in the middle of the piece. Did you notice how the tonality changed at one point, and became, oh, you might say, jauntier or happier? That's the change from minor tonality (often thought to sound sad or spooky), to major (often interpreted as happier or fun). When you listen to this at home with your children, be sure to pay attention to this happening.

Happy listening!


Elvis and Lavay, Beat and Rhythm
By Karen Abraham on September 27, 2012

Last week of September free dance was (I'm sure you all recognized it!) Blue Suede Shoes, performed by Elvis Presley. Our playalong song was Blue Skies, performed by Lavay Smith. I have this on a CD called Swing: Take It Up Tempo. I suspect you may be able to find the single on iTunes.

We talked a little in class about beat and rhythm, and want to go over the difference again. The BEAT is the steady pulse, what you might match your steps to when walking, marching, dancing, etc. There are different levels of beat, that we call the macrobeat (the basic, or "big", beat)  and the microbeat (the quicker, "baby steps" beat). You can even go twice as slow as the macro ("elongation") or twice as fast as the micro ("diminution") - it's the steadiness that makes it the beat.

RHYTHM is a combination of macrobeats, microbeats, elongations, diminutions, and, often, rests (beats or partial beats with no sound). Today with Los Fandangos, we clapped rhythm patterns which we repeated during particular sections of the song. One pattern was  "short-short-short-short-long-" and the other was "long- long -- short-short-short-long--". If you listen to the recording, you can hear these patterns being clapped. Rhythm does not have to be a repeated pattern. Think of a jazz or rock drum solo. If the drummer is good, you can track the beat throughout the solo, but the actual rhythms he drums may not be repeated at all. 

When you listen to any song, try identifying the beat (walk, tap your toe, or clap along). Then try noticing the rhythmic variations in the accompaniment or the voices (words and melody have rhythm too!)

If you want more of a detailed explanation about beat, check the blog post below called Beat - macro and micro, etc. posted 4/7/2011. 

Blogging again!
By Karen Abraham on September 19, 2012

Well, I took the summer off the blog, but here I am again. I want to fill you in on the music we are using for play along this week, September 18-22. It was The Whistling Song by The Pinker Tones on a CD (from Starbucks) called Cafe con Musica. "Whistling here, whistling there, whistling almost anywhere, whistling up, whistling down, whistling while I turn around..." I just wish I could whistle!!

This year is the 25th anniversary of Music Together®!! There are fun contests and events planned for the entire academic year. I'll keep you posted.

If you have any comments or questions about the program or the class, please feel free to ask them here. If you have stories about what your family is doing with music, or any general stories, suggestions, or questions about your kids, post them in the family discussion forum in the Family Portal.

Keep singing!

Play-alongs for Triangle, weeks 8, 9, & 10
By Karen Abraham on May 29, 2012

Hi all! I've gotten behind on posting our non-Music Together music, so here are the last three weeks worth:

The week of May 14, we did the line dance to the Cupid Shuffle, by Cupid, and play-along to Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, by Wham.

Last week (week of May 21), we played along with If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out, by Cat Stevens. You may have heard this at the end of the movie, Harold and Maude.

This week, our play-along is the well-known The Lion Sleeps Tonight, by the Tokens, also used in a movie: The Lion King. 

I've had a delightful semester with you and your kids! Thank you so much for sharing the joy of music with me, and allowing me to share it with your children! I hope to see you all back in the Fall, if not during the summer.


Play along music, Triangle week 7
By Karen Abraham on May 10, 2012

Our play along song this week (May 8 - 12) was Jumpin' Til the Break of Noon by Back in the Saddle, a group I saw in California in the early 80s. Fun, isn't it? I bought their demo album (on vinyl - the forerunner of an EP). I tried googling them and here is what I found out.

The band is no longer together, though some of their members are still making music in other incarnations. Apparently, Back In The Saddle was pretty successful in the west, and produced two albums. But, though I found two (below) references to them, I could not find the albums or the songs on iTunes or CD Baby, and they don't come up in a google search, either. I am attaching the file for Jumpin Til The Break of Noon, along with the song that's mentioned on the Tom Rigney page, Time and Again, here.

Here are the links I found about a couple of the guys in the band who are still making music:


Here are the songs mentioned above. "Jumpin" is the one we used in class. 


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Bird Song Lullaby
By Karen Abraham on May 04, 2012

Here are the words I subbed to make the Bird Song an individualized Lullaby. Sub in your own child's name and gender, of course!


My little [boy]

Here in my arms

Sweet as can be.

I love you, I love you

I love you, I love you


Get up close and snuggle, sing it "secretly" into your child's ear. Lullaby time is the sweetest part of the day :)

Middle Week of Triangle
By Karen Abraham on April 25, 2012

Hi everyone! We are now halfway through the spring semester. Be sure to check your musical growth chart and look for new musical things your child is now doing! Also look at the back and think about new things you find yourself doing!


Earlier this semester, we used a song called Eye of the Camel by Gunnar Madsen for playalong. It's on his album called Spinning World. I chose it because the tonality matches our Camels song in the current collection.

For the week of April 23, we are using "Sir Duke" by Stevie Wonder for playalong. It's probably on every greatest hits album of his. Greatest horn riff of any rock/pop song.


Here are the words to the lap song we did in class this week. This is a song i remember my parents doing with me when I was little. Then I did it with my baby sister, cousins, and any child I was babysitting, before doing it with my own children. As I said in class, this is really easier on the legs if you do it in a chair rather than on the floor. The tune is "Here We Go "Round the Mulberry Bush":


This is the way the ladies ride, the ladies ride, the ladies ride.

This is the way the ladies ride so early in the morning. (with an easy bounce)


Then sub in Gentlemen, and use a very quick small bounce/jiggle.

Then Farmers, and drop one knee and then the other for a really wobbly ride! 

Then Cowboys (or Jockies) with a wild up and down ride.



Welcome to Triangle
By Karen Abraham on April 03, 2012

HI all, welcome to Triangle

I am enjoying revisiting the songs from this collection - it was the first collection I taught three years ago when I started Meadowlark Music Together here in Lawrence. With my now-three years of experience teaching the Music Together program, I find myself remembering how challenging I found some of these songs and activities back then. But this time around, I am much more comfortable, and excited to try new things with these songs. 

I am sure you will find (may have already found!) your own and your child's favorites. Some of my favorites are Camels (for its different-ness and funkiness), The Water Is Wide (for its calmness and nostalgia), Old Blue (for its fun), Skip to My Lou (for its versatility), Two Little Blackbirds (for its sillies), .... well, I could list them all as favorites, actually! 

There are some good songs in this collection for budding guitarists:

Old Blue has 1 (one!) chord: D7. Just strum it and keep the beat going, either by more strumming, or by tapping on the guitar like I am doing in class. The book shows a C7 in it too, but it's unnecessary. If you want to, try it both ways and see what you like.

Skip to My Lou has only 2 chords: D and A7.  

The Train Song has only 2 chords: D and A.  

Drummers Marching has 2 chords: d min and A7. 

Breezes has 2 chords: D and C. (The C/D chord indicated in the book means to play a C chord, but with a D note on the bottom - don't worry about this, you can just play a plain ole C chord)

For all of these, if your ear does not tell you when to make the chord changes, look in the songbook and you'll see the chord names above the words or beats the changes happen on. If you need it, refer to the guitar chord chart in the back of the book.

On the other hand, Nothin' Blues is rather complicated for even experienced guitar players like me. I'm working on figuring out a simplified set of chords for it. (If any of you are really good at guitar, and have figured out a good set of chords, fill me in! The best I've come up with so far is to capo the guitar on the third fret, and play it in D. Still not great, but easier than in F!)

Anyway, I think we'll have lots of fun with these songs in class, and I hope you will find lots of ways to do them at home!


Any comments? Questions? Thanks for reading!


Valentine's Week
By Karen Abraham on February 16, 2012

I'm sure many of you recognized the songs we used this week for free dance and play along, but just in case, here is the info: Love Me Do by The Beatles, and How Sweet It Is by James Taylor.

I hope you had fun singing love songs to your children (and your significant other!) this week. Not a bad thing to do any ole time of year, actually.