Plays for Kids! Melody, Rhythm and Motion



Plays for Kids! Melody, Rhythm and Motion
B o b Ja c k s o n
Plays for Kids!
Melody, Rhythm and Motion
Plus a little History and a lot of Fun!
Interactive American Music for Kids
Contact Bob at [email protected]
What is American music? There is no
simple answer to the question because
people from around the world have
come to live in the United States. Our
music embraces a wide variety of styles
and traditions from different cultures.
These styles and traditions have mixed
to create kinds of music that are
distinctively American such as jazz,
blues, Broadway show tunes, and rock
and roll. This music in turn has become
popular around the world.
a sad song can even make you want to
cry. Different pieces of music can give
us very different feelings.
Music is an art form that everyone loves
and enjoys. Music is what people sing
and play on instruments like the piano.
Listen for it and you will find music
every where. Of course, you hear it on
the radio or on an iPod, but music is
also for parades, weddings, dances and
on the football field when the band
plays at half time. You find music in
churches and temples and other holy
places. Soldiers used to go to war
marching to music!
you play on an instrument like the piano
is called instrumental music. Two of the
most popular musical instruments are
the piano and the guitar.
Music can express how we feel,
sometimes even better than words can.
A song can make you want to dance,
and a sad song can even make you
want to cry. Different pieces of music
can give us very different feelings. A big
band playing “The Star Spangled
Banner” can make you feel proud, a fast
song can make you want to dance, and
called vocal
because you
voice to sing
learn a little more about each of these
parts of music.
MELODY When you sing a song, the
part that you are singing is called the
melody. The melody is the tune that you
sing, along with the words that you say.
Some melodies stay in your head long
after you heard them performed.
RHYTHM Rhythm is what you play on
drums, or clap with your hands, or tap
with your toes while a song is playing.
When people skip rope, they often
chant a rhyme and clap. This tells you
when to skip. The rhythm to a song
tells you when to sing. You can clap or
snap your fingers or play drums to any
song. All music has rhythm.
People all over the world love to sing
and play music. Here in the United
Sates we have many different kinds of
people, and we have many different
kinds of music. Folk music, classical,
jazz, religious music, country music,
rock and roll and popular tunes are just
some of the kinds of music we have
here in America.
MOTION As long as people have heard
music, it seems, they have wanted to
move to it. And they have wanted to
move in a way that expressed their
feelings or what they are thinking.
Dance is moving your body in time to
the rhythm of the music.
Folk songs have been passed down
from parents to their children throughout
the years. Popular music can also
become Folk music. Folk songs are
often about many of the things we do
every day. They help make doing these
things more enjoyable.
Some people
dance to tell a
Some people
order to meet
each other; a
way to say
When you hear someone singing, they
usually sing the melody. If you listen
closely, you will hear the beat of the
music. That is the rhythm. You might
feel like tapping your toe, or clapping or
dancing. Music sets you in motion! Let’s
People will dance just because they are
BOB JACKSON has been playing piano since he was a kid. He has a
habit of life long learning and has developed many shows over the years. He is currently
seen in Orlando at Walt Disney World and has fans around the globe.
People who write music are called
composers. One of the greatest
composers of all time was named
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. That’s a
lot to say so most people just call him
Mozart. Mozart lived in Europe over two
hundred years ago, just about the time
our country began. Mozart started
playing and writing music when he was
very, very young, He composed music
on the piano when he was only five
years old! One of the songs Mozart
loved to play is a song we still sing
today, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.
Mozart wrote what is called classical
music. One kind of classical music he
wrote is called a symphony. A
symphony is a long piece of music
played by a large group of musicians
called an orchestra.
Mozart is also famous for his operas.
An opera is a kid of play where people
sing instead of talk. One of Mozart’s
operas is called The Magic Flute. It’s
about a flute that makes such beautiful
music it can work magic on those who
hear it. Many feel that Mozart’s music is
like that—it is so beautiful that it works
The Great Scott Joplin was one of the
first African-American composers to be
He was born in Texas in 1868, just after
the Civil War and brought up in a
musical family. His father was a railroad
worker who had been a slave. Against
his father’s wishes, Joplin left home and
traveled to St Louis to become a
musician. There he heard the black
pianists who were beginning to play
ragtime music, and took it up himself.
Joplin became the most famous
composer of ragtime music. He led an
orchestra at the great Chicago World’s
Fair in 1893. His Maple Leaf Rag
become an immediate sensation around
the country and it is still one of his most
popular pieces. Another piece, The
Entertainer became popular all over
again several years ago when it was
used as the theme of the movie “The
Sting”. When you listen to Scott Joplin’s
ragtime, hear how the ragged uneven
melodies fit in with the rhythmic steady
beat in interesting ways.
Ragtime was very popular in its day and
was often used as dance music. It later
contributed to the development of jazz,
on e of America’s greatest forms of
Jazz is a kind of music that was
born in America It comes from the
chants and rhythms that black people
brought from Africa and mixed with the
music that they found here. Jazz was
born in New Orleans which is in the
southern part of the United States near
the mouth of the Mississippi River. One
of the most popular song in New
Orleans, even today is one of the
favorite songs of jazz; “When the
Saints Go Marching In”
One of the people who made jazz
famous was a man named Louis
“Satchmo” became so famous that he
played his music all across America. He
played so well that the others in the
band would stop playing, or play very
quietly, just to listen to him alone. This
is called playing a solo (solo means
alone), and he was the first to play
solos in jazz.
He had such a warm smile that people
enjoyed just watching him sing and
play. He became very famous, and
appeared in movies and on television.
He went around the world playing jazz
and made friends for America and its
Folk dancing is done to folk music.
There are
kinds of folk
and most of
back many
In music is done in steps by getting
louder, going faster or slower, going
higher, using more instruments, or
changing keys. Crescendo is helped
by high notes i.e. Star Spangled
Banner, “land of the FREE” then a
peaceful finish, “home of the brave”.
BOOGIE-WOOGIE is a style of
piano-based blues that became very
popular in the late 1930s and early
1940s, but originated much earlier,
The first boogie woogie hit was
"Pinetop's Boogie Woogie" by
Pinetop Smith. Pinetop's record was
the first boogie-woogie recording to
be a commercial hit, and helped
establish boogie-woogie as the name
of the style. Another example of pure
boogie-woogie, "Honky Tonk Train
Blues" by Meade Lux Lewis. The
performance emulates a railroad trip.
Ballet is a way of telling a story by
dancing. It is performed on a stage in
front of an audience. Ballet is often
danced to classical music that is
played by an orchestra.
TAP DANCING Tap dancing came
from a mixture of dancing from
different places including Ireland and
RHYTHM The beat of the music
makes you want to to clap your hands
or dance —The beat is part of the
rhythm of a song.
The words you speak have rhythm
too. Here are some words with
two beatsMA-gic, MA-gic,
three beatsWON-der-ful WON-der-ful
four beats (and fun to say) –
Bumble Bee Boogie, written by Jack
Fina, 1946, is based on Rimskey
Korsakov’s Flight Of The Bumble
Bee, Fan orchestral interlude written
by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov for his
opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan,
composed in 1899–1900.