© Christine Ettenauer

education :: workshops/recitals for kids

Isabel's school presentations of THE JOY OF TOY enable children of all ages to access music in an inspiring and immediate way.

She sets up a number of her toy pianos for a relaxed concert atmosphere in which kids can sit around her in a circle. A selection of shorter pieces of her regular repertoire which are particularly accessible to children is presented in an interesting and interactive way.

The presentation starts with a short introduction of the toy pianos (as for example 'The Concert Grand', 'The Red Chinese' etc.), where the children get some basic information about the instruments. Together with the children Isabel also works out the differences between toy pianos and 'grown up' pianos (as for example size, sound, the toy pianos having metal rods instead of strings etc.).

Then Isabel performs a mixed programme of works in many different styles. It could include the following pieces:

Mirabella - a Tarantella for Toy Piano by Stephen Montague: This is a very lively dance which sets the atmosphere of the little concert. Before playing Isabel asks them to take the piece in, and immediately afterwards each kid has to say which names pop up in their minds.

Suite for Toy Piano by John Cage - The first ever classical work written for toy piano. Before the piece is being performed (on Isabel's Red Bulgarian Toy Piano) the kids are asked to listen carefully and count how many movements (parts) are being played (5).

Pieces for a Musical Clock by Joseph Haydn - After a performance of a few of those charming pieces the kids have to decide which country they might come from and guess for which instrument they were written originally.

Almost a Lullaby by Stephen Montague - Another piece having to do with a musical box (it uses one in combination with the toy piano). In this piece a wind chime is also used. A volunteer kid may help Isabel out by moving the wind chime while she is playing. The others should listen with their eyes shut and try to notice when exactly the musical box starts to play.

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