Tag Archives: 2017

Eclipse Playlist- songs for the sun, moon, stars!



^^ Click our Image for a direct link to the playlist!^^

We all seem to be enamored with the upcoming eclipse- schools are counting down, doing district wide events, families are finding their prime location, and eclipse hunters have been tracking down their ideal location for years!

As I started compiling this list I looked a bit into last total solar eclipse, in 1918 and started thinking about how different times are, yet how captivated we still can be by such an event. Then, just months shy of WWI’s end, cars were becoming an attainable fixture in the landscape, penicillin was still 10 years away from being invented, radio was the way to stay up on the war effort abroad…my own house was only 4 year old! What a spectacle this day must have been- to see connect with the entire country from your own environment.

Map showing path of total eclipse of the sun across the United States, June 8, 1918

Map showing path of total eclipse of the sun across the United States, June 8, 1918

Today we can hop across the globe without ever leaving our phones, not to mention our multiple cars in the driveway. We can do pretty much anything we desire, yet we’re still longing for more meaning… maybe that’s why this event seems so intriguing. The older I get the more I start to appreciate the world around me, as children naturally do. I want to take more time to truly see things, rather than let them pass by.

In this playlist you’ll find some of those favorite tunes from soundtracks (E.T., Star Trek, etc.) that captured a space in our memories of what space might be like. These can be fun to share with our younger ones before they may be able to see the movies and shows themselves. When you’re ready to move on, there are pieces that seem to capture those thought provoking questions of, “What is space?” “How big are we?”, sometimes you can even picture that space station look down at the earth with movement through space …. “A Model of the Universe” by Johann Johannsson really does this for me, or “The Planets, Op. 32: Mars, The Bringer of War” by Gustav Holst”. As much as I’d like to witness this event with all of it’s spectacle, these pieces makes me want to just lie in my backyard reflectively, by myself- maybe with a couple friends.  (A couple tunes in here are lighthearted as well, hopefully you find the theme in them pretty quickly)

Our List: 

  1. The Creation (Die Schöpfung) Part 1/The First Day: Introduction: The Representation of Chaos- Franz Joseph Haydn
  2. The Planets, Op. 32: 1. Mars, The Bringer of War- Gustav Holst
  3. 12 Variationen uber “Ah! Vous dirai-je, maman”, K. 265- Franz Joseph Haydn (can you hear all 12 variations of the theme “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”?)
  4. Main Title, Alien- Jerry Goldsmith
  5. Mr. Sun- MaryLee (something fun to sing along to) 😉
  6. A Model of the Universe, The Theory of Everything- Johann Johannsson
  7. End Credits- From “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier”- Jerry Goldsmith
  8. “All That Is or Ever Was or Ever Will Be”, Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey (Music from the Original TV Series) Vol. 3- Alan Silvestri
  9. Samson, HWC 57: Total Eclipse (arr. for brass quintet) George Fredric Handel *This aria originally from the oratorio Samson discusses the character Samson actually going blind from looking at an eclipse of the sun! 
  10. Enter the Galaxies- Paul Lovatt-Cooper
  11. The Planets, op 32: 4. Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity- Gustav Holst
  12. Main Title and The Attack on the Jakku Village, Star Wars, The Force Awakens- John Williams
  13. Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30: Prelude (Sonnenaufgang) “Sunrise”, Richard Strauss (2001: A Space Odessey)
  14. Main Theme, “Apollo 13”- James Horner
  15. Adagio in D Minor, “Sunshine” – John Murphy

*FYI- this playlist does tend to break all the rules in the “2 minutes or less” department on How I Create a Playlist… but it was too fun of a theme not to put it together. For those of you traveling to your Eclipse destinations, hopefully it will help pass the time, there are 15 days between now and then- and 15 pieces (one a day!)


Not included- but worth honorable mention for parents and irony-

-Eclipse- Pink Floyd
-Total Eclipse of the Heart- Bonnie Tyler
-Here Comes the Sun- The Beatles
-Sound of Silence- Simon and Garfunkel
-Endless Night- The Lion King
-Fly Me to the Moon- Frank Sinatra…

NASA also has compiled a great extended list of more popular tunes!eclipse-spotify

However, or wherever you are celebrating this event- don’t forget your eyewear! There are a A LOT of not safe products out there! The good folks over at NASA have not only listed the safest ways to view the eclipse, but also added a list of reputable vendors to their site https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety 

Enjoy your tunes! And we will see you for classes in September!




Spring Playlist Now on Spotify!


In our ongoing effort to make music readily available to young children and families, we have added a Spotify account to our public offerings! Seasonal Playlists will be curated and posted here for what we feel meet the needs of children during the season.

I started out right away with Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring.” Copland being known for his ability to paint the American landscape and pioneering spirit got me on the path of featuring American composers. This sort of feeling- the feeling of nature, spirit for the outdoors is what I feel when I think of spring. I might be stuck inside on a five-day spring rain streak, but I know that when that rain breaks it will smell great, look great, and best yet, we haven’t reached those summer temps yet… we can conquer anything in spring!

*It’s important to know that musical history is rooted in either sacred or secular meaning. Whether you are religious or not, putting reflections into a historical context is what I find the most important. We have plenty of folk songs in our curriculum today that my personal self would not prefer, however, they also teach history- and if you think from that perspective there are plenty of discussions to be had with your little ones about how far we have come.*

Now, back to America…  

William Billings wrote some of the most common four-part vocal hymns and anthems of the colonial era. You will note the distinct style of the singing is unlike most you hear, these traditions are now carried out through the Sacred Harp singing tradition. You might remember similar sounds from the movie “Cold Mountain”. The group singing features arm raising and toe tapping in keeping the beat. If this peaks your interest- here’s an informational video (and yes there are groups nearby that meet if you like this sort of thing, like me 🙂  )

Stephen Foster was known as America’s first professional songwriter, and being born on the Fourth of July it’s quite ironic how memorable and nostalgic his songs have become to Americans. He is known for “Old Kentucky Home”, “Oh, Susanna!”, “Camptown Races”, “Beautiful Dreamer” and more! I highly suggest rolling back through some of his pieces with your grandparents and children in the same room. For some fun historical context, the song “Oh, Susanna” was first performed in an ice cream parlor!

As we reach the 19th century we find ourselves enjoying parlor songs, many of which are taking place in the home, surrounded by this idea of tradition and family involvement. However, although women are sitting at the piano playing we are not seeing female composers come forward. We know now that many were composing, but were not in position to use their own names even up through the 20th century. As stated on parlorsongs.com states “The image we have provided…. is a most fitting depiction of women in music prior to 1900 (and even well beyond.) The “piano lady” was the predominant image of women in music. The direction was that women would perform music, not make music.”

womeninsongComposition was considered a man’s work, and women were often forbidden from the process by their fathers or husbands. As we know, women in fact dominated the area of music education and much of the musical field, therefore it was only natural for them to create original melodies and compositions. It is important to acknowledge this omission of history, to signify how important it would have been to be a female composer in that era. Amy Beach was the first successful American composer and pianist traveling for performances in both America and Germany. She has a vast repertoire of songs, and quite frankly choosing one is difficult.


Scott Joplin, moved to Sedalia, Missouri in 1894 to start teaching piano and later in 1895 started publishing his Ragtime music which quickly brought him to fame when he published “Maple Leaf Rag” in 1899. It is important to note Joplin’s place in history, not only an African-American composer, but also considered the model for ragtime composers.

John Phillip Sousa is known for his military and patriotic marches- most notably “The Stars and Stripes Forever” which is the National March of the United States of America. It was written on December 25, 1896- he wrote the piece in his head as he was traveling home from Europe and then put the piece to paper when he arrived back to the United States.

Now we arrive in 1942 and Aaron Copland’s “Rodeo” premiers. This is considered one of the earliest examples of truly American ballet, and includes one of the most recognizable movements in popular culture. “Hoe-Down” has found it’s place in our culture through cinema, product placement, and the classic ability of Copland to paint a landscape through instrumentation (you can picture exactly where you would be in the country for this piece, right?) For me, I feel like I grew up with this piece somehow… it was used in the “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner” commercials (which apparently went on for at least 10 years!) , in “An American Tail: Fievel Goes West”, and it also inspired the “Magnificent Seven” theme later written by Elmer Bernstein in 1960.



Check out our Winter playlist when you’re done- along with our post about how we choose our songs!