composers - biographies and worksheets

Antonio Vivaldi – Composer Unit and Biography for Kids

Check out this entertaining popsicle stick theater production from the MakingMusicFun.net academy. It is one of a collection of composer video biographies. This lesson features Italian Baroque composer Antonio Lucio Vivaldi. This is a great foundation for your next composer unit.

Begin by watching the Antonio Vivaldi composer video lesson with your students. Explore the supporting resources, including the FREE printable study guide. Your students will have fun completing the FREE Meet Vivaldi word search and “Meet the Composer” Job Application worksheet.

Watch the Meet Vivaldi Video | Baroque Composer Biography for Kids

Print the FREE Meet Antonio Vivaldi Study Guide 

Visit the link below to print the FREE Meet Vivaldi study guide.

Meet Vivaldi | Free Study Guide

Read the “Hey Kids, Meet Antonio Vivaldi Composer Biography”

Click this link to read the Meet Antonio Vivaldi Biography

FREE Vivaldi Lesson Worksheets

Meet Vivaldi | Free Word Search Worksheet

Check out the FREE Meet Vivaldi word search worksheet. Tell your kids or students how many words there are to search for and then let them go to work finding the keywords from the Meet Antonio Vivaldi composer biography.

Meet Vivaldi | Free Word Search Worksheet

Meet the Composer Job Application Worksheet

Have fun with this job application worksheet for Antonio Vivaldi! Fill out this composer job application with facts your students learn by reading the Meet Antonio Vivaldi biography.

“Meet the Composer” Job Application Worksheet

The Translation of “Spring” and “Winter” Sonnets

Some scholars think that Vivaldi’s Four Seasons was inspired by sonnets that he wrote himself. Armand D’Angour, a British scholar and musician, translated the sonnets in 2017.

SPRING

Springtime has now arrived, and full of cheer
The birds greet her return with festive song,
And streams caressed by breaths of western breezes
With gentle murmuration flow along.
Casting a dark mantle over heaven,
Come thunder, lightning, harbingers of spring:
They die away to silence, and the songbirds
Take up their tuneful strain once more and sing.
Now in the lovely meadow, filled with flowers,
Under the branches rustling overhead
The goat-herd sleeps, his faithful dog beside him.
Led by the festive sound of rustic bagpipes,
The nymphs and shepherds lightly dance and sing
Beneath the brilliant canopy of spring.

WINTER

In icy snow we tremble from the cold,
Caught by the bristling wind with its harsh breath;
We run and stamp our feet at every moment,
With teeth a-chatter, cold as very death;
Or by the fire we sit content and happy
While outside pours down a torrential squall,
And tread across the ice with careful footsteps,
Cautious from fear that we might trip and fall;
We turn abruptly, slip, and crash down earthwards,
Then rising, hasten on across the ice
In case the surface cracks and breaks apart.
Through bolted doors we hear the winds competing,
Sirocco, North Wind, all the winds at war:
It’s winter, but it brings us joy for sure.

To read the entire translation of Vivaldi’s Four Sonnets, visit the site of Armand D’Angour.

Play the Piano Sheet Music from the Meet Vivaldi Composer Biography Video Lesson

The Meet Vivaldi video features sheet music from MakingMusicFun.net. Visit the links below to print the piano sheet music:

Spring (Four Seasons) for Easy Piano Sheet Music

Autumn (Four Seasons) for Easy Piano Sheet Music/Level 

Fun Antonio Vivaldi Factoids

  • There was an earthquake that shook Venice the day Vivaldi was born.
  • J.S. Bach was an admirer of Vivaldi’s music.
  • Vivaldi composed 500 concertos, 90 sonatas, 46 operas, and many sacred choral works.
  • He was a very good violin player.
  • Some of Vivaldi’s music is lost or hidden, but new pieces are discovered all of the time!
  • A chronic shortness of breath prevented Vivaldi from mastering wind instruments.

printable sheet music

St. Louis Blues – Easy Jazz Piano Sheet Music

“Saint Louis Blues” is a popular American jazz/blues song composed by W. C. Handy. It was published in September 1914. It was one of the first blues numbers to succeed as a pop song. It has been recorded by Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Bessie Smith, Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Guy Lombardo, and the Boston Pops Orchestra.

Print Piano Sheet Music

St. Louis Blues (Handy) | Easy Piano Sheet Music

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printable sheet music

The Greatest Showman Movie| Beginner and Easy Piano Sheet Music

The Greatest Showman is a musical drama it premiered on the RMS Queen Mary II in 2017, the same year that saw the last performance ever from the predecessor of the Barnum and Bailey Circus – subject of the story. Barnum and Bailey started in 1871 and later merged with Ringling circus. In the mid 19th century P.T. Barnum and his circus troupe performed at the famous circus “The Greatest Show.” Some people loved and others were not sure about the film. It was nominated for a number of Musical or Comedy awards at the 75th Golden Globe Awards: Best Motion Picture and best actor;  but it was the music, not the plot that stood out and won awards.  “The Greatest Showman” won music awards for the best original song ‘This is me.” It also won best original song in the 90th Academy Awards and Best compilation music from the film soundtrack for visual media at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.

In real life, Jenny Lind was a famous singer who founded a children’s hospital in Norwich, England, where Barnum and Baileys circus visited. Based on a true story, the film set a new record number for sing-along-screenings in over 550 cinemas in the UK. The soundtrack was No.1 in the U.K. for 11 weeks, the second recording to do that in 30 years. In the U.S. It was listed in the top 15 of the IMDb list of American Top Grossing Musical Titles. It is currently running as a stage musical with sing-along-subtitles.

Print Piano Sheet Music

Want to play the music from The Greatest Showman? This post includes links to arrangements for beginner and easy piano solo.

This Is Me | Easy Piano Sheet Music

 

A Million Dreams|Easy Piano Sheet Music

 

Never Enough | Easy Piano Sheet Music

Rewrite the Stars | Beginner Piano Sheet Music

 

About the Composer of  ‘The Greatest Showman’

Grammy Award winning songwriters, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who also wrote the score for “La La Land,” composed all the songs for the “The Greatest Showman.” They’ve been awarded Golden Globe and Academy Awards for La La Land  song “City of Stars” and also for “The Greatest Showman.”  The composers met at the University of Michigan, where they both graduated with a BFA Musical Theatre Degree. The very next year they won the  American Theatre Wings 2007 Jonathan Larson Award. Pasek and Paul compose for television, musical theatre and films including scores for the musical, Dear Evan Hansen, James and The Giant Peach

Synopsis of ‘The Greatest Showman’

It all began with P.T. Barnum, the son of a tailor.  Young Barnum fell in love with the daughter of his father’s  boss, Charity Hallett, when he managed to make her laugh one day. Charity is sent away to finishing school. Barnum  promised her that they would write to each other and meet when they were grown up. In the film the song, “A Million Dreams” is all about this promise. They do meet again, marry, and have two children.  Charity is happy, but Barnum wanted to do exciting things. When he lost his job he decided to get a bank loan and buy Barnum’s American Museum in Downtown Manhattan,  New York. It was a museum with a variety of things to look at. However, business was slow so his children suggested Barnum try something else. He began a search for unusual people, “freaks” as they were known at the time. Some people liked the show, but others didn’t. Barnum decided he needed to find someone rich to help support. Barnum went to England with his friend Carlyle who fell in love with an African American trapeze artist in the circus. Carlyle’s parents did not approve. Barnum departs again,  his troupe to perform on their own. They are teased, but they did not give up. “This is me” is about how they took courage and stood up to the people who bullied them. After meeting with the Queen, Barnum met Jenny Lind, a Swedish singer with an incredible voice. Barnum went on tour to America with Jenny Lind. Barnum then went home and found the circus was on fire. A fire started by protestors  who were against the troupe. Barnum lost everything, his home, his family, his wife, his troupe. Barnum was feeling sorry for himself. His troupe found him and told him that they were his family, and they would support him.

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Famous Composers for Little Fingers
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printable sheet music

Jaws Movie Theme | Beginner and Easy Piano Sheet Music

Released in 1975, Jaws quickly became the highest grossing film of all time and held that title until Star Wars was released in 1977. The music John Williams composed for the film is today one of the most recognizable movie themes. He used two simple notes to suggest danger and build incredible tension, prompting movie critics to compare him to master film maker, Alfred Hitchcock. Want to play the music of this blockbuster movie? This post includes four arrangements for beginner through easy piano. The first two arrangements are two tribute works that capture the spirit of the movie score, and make the music accessible for even the earliest beginner. The following two arrangements are simplified versions of the original score.

Print “Jaws” Movie Theme Tribute for Beginner Piano

Shark Attack for Beginner Piano Solo

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Print “Jaws” Movie Theme Tribute for Easy Piano

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Print ‘Jaws’ for Easy Piano

Jaws Theme for Easy Piano Sheet Music

Print ‘Jaws’ Theme for Intermediate Piano

Jaws Theme for Intermediate Piano Sheet Music

 

About the Composer of ‘Jaws’ Movie Theme

John Williams, composer of the Jaws Movie theme, has been writing music for over six decades. Have you seen Home Alone, E.T. Extra-terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Superman, and the first three Harry Potter films? These are just a few of the movies for which John Williams has composed musical scores. John Williams described his Jaws theme as “grinding away at you, just as a shark would do, instinctual, relentless, unstoppable.” John Williams has also composed concertos, sports event and news channel themes, such as the themes for the 1984 Summer Olympics and NBC Sunday Night Football. John Williams has written the scores for most of Stephen Spielberg’s feature films. He also served as the principal conductor for the Boston Pops orchestra from 1980 to 1993, and is currently the laureate conductor. John Williams has received 51 Academy nominations, with only Walt Disney receiving more.

‘Jaws’ Movie Theme Quiz

Q1 What was the highest grossing film in 1975? A Jaws

Q2 Who composed the film score for Jaws? A John Williams Q3 How does John Williams describe the Jaws theme? A John Williams described this theme as “grinding away at you, just as a shark would do, instinctual, relentless, unstoppable.”

Q4 The Jaws theme is based on a very short motivic idea. How many notes make up this powerful motive (melody)? Two

“Jaws” Movie Synopsis

One hot summer the perfect calm of an idyllic beach in Amity, New Hampshire , where a party is in full swing, is suddenly disturbed. A young woman meets her demise while swimming. She was attacked by an unusually large shark. But how is this going to be handled?The police chief, Brody, wants the shark to be hunted down, whilst the Mayor and some local business men want to carry on as though nothing happened.Either way the tourist economy that supports Amity is at risk. Local fisherman catch a Tiger shark and the mayor to declares the case closed. A Great White shark tooth is found in connection with another victim.Against fierce opposition, Hooper, an Ichthyologist, Brody the sheriff and Quint, Captain of the ‘Orca’, set out to capture the shark. We are tipped the wink that Quint is a hero when he regales Hooper with tales of his survival of USS Indianapolis. At this same moment the shark rams the hull of the boat…The Great White Shark is overpowered, the ‘Orca’ is destroyed and the men wash back ashore at Amity beach clinging to barrels from the wreckage. Amity is safe once more…

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Browse Piano Sheet Music and Music Theory Posts:

Free Sheet Music | Chopsticks for Piano (Three Levels)
 

jaws-movie-theme-piano-sheet-music

printable sheet music

A Little Dance by Kabalevsky | Free Easy Piano Sheet Music

A Little Dance’ was written by Dmitri Kabalevsky, a Russian composer who helped to set up the Union of Soviet Composers in Moscow, and was one of its leading figures. Many of Kabalevsky’s piano works have been performed by Vladimir Horowitz, an American classical pianist and composer. Kabalevsky is best known in Western Europe for the Comedian Galop, from The Comedian Suite, Op. 25, and his third piano concerto.
The piano piece, ‘A Little Dance’ was published in his 1972 book — Easy Pieces – 24 Pieces For Children, Op. 39; 35 Easy Pieces, Op. 89. The collection remains a favorite today.

Print Easy Piano Sheet Music

A Little Dance by Kabalevsky | Free Easy Piano Sheet Music

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Somewhere In My Memory (Home Alone) | Easy Piano Sheet Music
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printable sheet music

Marriage of Figaro by Mozart | Free Beginner Piano Sheet Music

The Marriage of Figaro is a popular comic opera or opera buffa by Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with an Italian libretto written by Lorenzo da Ponte. Based on Pierre-Agustin Caron de Beaumarchais’ 1784 stage comedy Le Marriage de Figaro (“The Mad Day or The Marriage of Figaro“), the comic opera premiered on May 1,1786 at the Burgtheater in Vienna. The Marriage of Figaro has since been one of Mozart’s renowned works and remains a favorite in the operatic repertoire. The opera is in four acts and is on Operabase’s Top ten list of most frequently performed operas. The Marriage of Figaro tells about the story of Figaro and Susanna getting married successfully even after their philandering employer Count Almaviva tried to seduce Susanna.

Print Beginner Piano Sheet Music

Marriage of Figaro | Beginner Piano Sheet Music

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About the Composer of ‘Marriage of Figaro’

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, born in Salzburg, Austria in 1756, was a renowned composer in the classical era. He was the youngest of the seven children of parents Leopold and Anna Maria Pertl Mozart. His father Leopold Mozart was a minor composer and an experienced teacher and was the one who taught Wolfgang when he showed interest during one of his older sister’s keyboard lessons with their father. At a young age of 4, Wolfgang was considered a musical prodigy and was very competent on keyboard and violin. He started composing short pieces at a very young age and by the age of 13 he had composed his first opera at the request of an emperor.

By the time Mozart was in his mid-twenties he had established himself as one of the most accomplished keyboard players in Vienna, and was recognized as a talented composer. Some of his most famous pieces include Eine Kleine Nachtmusik for string orchestra, which means ‘A Little Night Music‘, and ‘Ah vous dirais-je, Maman‘ for piano solo, which is a set of twelve variations on a French tune that Mozart would have known as a young boy.

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printable sheet music

Can You Imagine That (Mary Poppins Returns) | Easy Piano Sheet Music

Can You Imagine That‘ from Disney’s highly anticipated movie musical sequel, “Mary Poppins Returns,” is written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. The song is performed by Emily Blunt, and appeals to new and old fans of the original “Mary Poppins” movie from 1964. “Mary Poppins Returns” has grossed over $174.5 million worldwide and received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised Blunt’s performance, the musical score and numbers, visuals, production values, and sense of nostalgia. It was chosen as one of the top ten films of 2018, and received numerous award nominations by both the National Board of Review and American Film Institute.

Print Easy Piano Sheet Music

Can You Imagine That (Mary Poppins Returns) | Easy Piano Sheet Music

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Related Piano Sheet Music

Somewhere In My Memory (Home Alone) | Easy Piano Sheet Music
All Through The Night | Free Beginner Piano Sheet Music (PDF)
How Far I’ll Go (Moana Movie) | Easy Piano Sheet Music
This Is Me from Greatest Showman | Easy Piano Sheet Music (Digital)
The Piano Chords Fun Book | Chords and Arranging for Kids

can-you-imagine-that-easy-piano

 

printable sheet music

Fortnite Christmas Piano Sheet Music

Want to play the Christmas piano sheet music featured in Fortnite? Below are links to printable arrangements Christmas carols featured in the game. I’ll also include the lyrics if your family and friends would like to sing along.

Print Beginner Piano Sheet Music

Jingle Bells | Beginner Piano Sheet Music

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Print Easy Piano Sheet Music

Jingle Bells | Easy Piano Sheet Music

jingle-bells-intermediate-piano

Twelve Days of Christmas for Easy Piano

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Lyrics for Jingle Bells

Dashing through the snow
In a one-horse open sleigh
O’er the fields we go
Laughing all the way
Bells on bobtails ring
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to ride and sing
A sleighing song tonight

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh, hey
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh

Lyrics for Twelve Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me
A partridge in a pear tree.
On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree.
On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

Subsequent verses for Twelve Days of Christmas are as follows:
4 calling birds
5 gold rings
6 geese a-laying
7 swans a-swimming
8 maids a-milking
9 ladies dancing
10 lords a-leaping
11 pipers piping
12 drummers drumming

About Fortnite (Game)

Fortnite is an action building game using the Unreal Engine 4 from game publisher, Epic Games. You and your friends guide a group of Heroes to claim and rebuild a homeland that has been destroyed by the darkness only known as “The Storm.”

Join with your friends online to build amazing forts, collect and/or build radical weapons and traps, and protect the communities that you build from the strange creatures that emerge. Unite to battle the “Storm” and save the world.

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Fum, Fum, Fum | Easy Piano Sheet Music
Christmas Time Is Here | Easy Piano Sheet Music
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy | Big Note Piano Sheet Music
All Through The Night | Free Beginner Piano Sheet Music (PDF)
Coventry Carol | Free Beginner Piano Sheet Music (PDF)

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printable sheet music

Christmas Time Is Here | Easy Piano Sheet Music

Christmas Time Is Here was written by Lee Mendelson and American pianist and composer, Vince Guaraldi, for the 1965 television special, A Charlie Brown Christmas. It was commissioned by the Coca-Cola company, and was one of the first animated Christmas specials produced for network TV in the USA. The best selling soundtrack for the special includes two versions of this song. One is an instrumental version performed by the Vince Guaraldi Trio.  The second track is a choral version performed by children of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in San Rafael, CA.

Christmas Time Is Here has been covered by Chicago on their album Chicago XXV: The Christmas Album (1998), Al Jarreau on his album Christmas (2008), Melissa Manchester on her album Joy (1997), Christian band, MercyMe, on their album The Christmas Sessions (2005), and Mel Tormé on his album Christmas Songs (1992).

Print Easy Piano Sheet Music

This piano sheet music arrangement is written for the intermediate student with a few years of study. It’s in the key of F, and the site has a digital recording that kids can listen to as they practice.

Christmas Time Is Here | Easy Piano Sheet Music

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About Vince Guaraldi

Vincent Anthony Guaraldi (1928-1976) was born Vincent Anthony Dellaglio in San Francisco’s North Beach area. He was an innovative American jazz pianist and arranger. He most remembered as the composer, arranger, and performer, for the Peanuts animated television series by Charles Shultz, and for his performances with Cal Tjader’s band in the late 1950s.

While searching for music for the upcoming Peanuts Christmas special, Lee Mendelson (the Christmas special’s producer) heard a radio broadcast of Guaraldi, “Cast Your Fate to the Wind,” during a taxicab ride. Mendelson decided to ask Guaraldi to compose the score for the TV special. Guaraldi enthusiastically accepted the job, and two weeks later shared a version of what would become “Linus and Lucy” to Mendelson over the phone. The Vince Guaraldi Trio went on to record the music for seventeen Peanuts television specials in total, along with the feature film “A Boy Named Charlie Brown” (1969).

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Browse More Beginner Piano Sheet Music:

Charlie Brown Christmas | Beginner and Easy Piano Sheet Music (Book)
Coventry Carol | Free Beginner Piano Sheet Music
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Nursery Rhyme Piano Sheet Music for Children
All Through The Night | Free Beginner Piano Sheet Music

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practicing · Tips for Practicing

How to Prepare for Your First Piano Recital | 6 Tips

Are you the parent of a child that is just about to play for their first piano recital? I’ve been a piano teacher for more than 25 years, and I’m here to help. This post will guide you every step of the way, and help you child’s first recital to be one that you can’t wait to share with your friends and family!

1) Picking the Right Music

There are two things you want to consider when choosing music for your child’s piano recital:

a) Is your child interested in the musical selection?
b) Does the music offer an appropriate challenge for the time that they have been given to prepare?

In choosing the music, you might consider the kind of songs they like listening to. Arrangements are often available for movie soundtracks on sites like MusicNotes.com. If it’s a Christmas recital, carols are always a great choice. Many method books offer carol arrangements that will provide the perfect challenge.

2) Practicing for the Recital

If kids have a recording of the pieces they are expected to practice, they often make better use of their practice time. Your child’s piano teacher can make a video recording on your phone or tablet that they can refer to each time they practice. Then it’s just a matter of setting aside 20-30 minutes each day to prepare for the big day.

3) What to Wear for the Recital

Dressing up for a recital makes the occasion special. I let kids wear their school shoes if they want to, but encourage boys to wear a button-down shirt and tie, and girls to dress in a nice dress or skirt and blouse.

4) That Unfamiliar Piano

Pianos play differently. Some have stiffer keys that are a challenge for some kids to push  down. Pedals may be hard to find on occasion, because your kids are used to the pedal for their electronic piano that slips and slides all over the place. Because their are so many factors to consider, it’s a good idea to arrive 20 minutes before the recital begins to let your child can try a few notes on the piano that is provided.

5) During the Recital

It’s hard waiting for your turn to play, and it’s hard not to worry about how you’ll play. Kids mess up, and it’s okay if they do too. Just encourage your child to enjoy the music that the other kids play, and to do their best.

6) After the Recital

Many people at the recital will want to congratulate your child on a great performance. Talk to them about how they should respond. Let them know that a smile and a “Thank You,” is always the best response.

 

Still looking for the perfect piano recital piece?

The following The Piano Student posts offer hundreds of free printable piano sheet music arrangements for the beginner through intermediate piano student. Many of the websites linked to also provide recordings of the sheet music that your child can listen to as they practice.

Free Beginner Piano Sheet Music/Level 1
Free Beginner Piano Sheet Music/Level 2
Free Easy Piano Sheet Music/Level 3
Free Easy Piano Sheet Music/Level 4
Free Easy Piano Sheet Music/Level 5

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