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Virtual Class Notes Concerts: Lux String Quartet

Lux String Quartet. (L-R) Eric Graf, cello; Kirsti Petraborg, viola; Stephanie Skor, violin; Marc Levine, violin John Kaul

Welcome to Virtual Class Notes Concerts!

Each year, Classical MPR reaches tens of thousands of students across Minnesota through the Class Notes Concerts program. Designed to engage and inspire elementary students through live musical performance, these concerts help cultivate active listening skills and allow students to experience the joy of classical music.

Due to current circumstances, we have adapted the concert content to provide a virtual Class Notes Concert. Today's Classical Kids Music Lesson will be a virtual Class Notes concert featuring Lux String Quartet.

Target age range: Grades K-8

1. Meet the Lux String Quartet! Stephanie and Marc play violin, Kirsti plays viola, and Eric plays cello. They will tell you a few things they need to do to play well together.

Questions for discussion, reflection, or journaling:

• What are the three instruments in a string quartet?
• How long has Lux String Quartet been playing music together?
• What are some things Lux String Quartet needs to do to play well together?
• Can you think of a time when you needed to watch and listen to your fellow performers to play music well?
• What device will the musicians use in the next piece, called "The Quiet One"?

2. Listen and watch Lux String Quartet play "The Quiet One" from Lyric Quartette, by William Grant Still. Remember that the musicians each use a special device to make their instruments especially quiet.

Composer William Grant Still was an American composer who was born in 1895 and died in 1978. Over the course of his career, he composed over 200 works, including the string quartet performed by Lux. He was the first African-American to conduct a major American orchestra in a performance of his own works.

William Grant Still. Library of Congress

Did you notice that around 2 minutes into the performance, Marc plucked his strings instead of using the bow? That's called pizzicato (pit-suh-KAH-toe.) Learn more about that technique in this Classical Kids Music Lesson, called Pizzicato Party.

3. Now it's time to learn about the violin! Stephanie will tell you some things about her instrument.

Follow- up questions for journaling or discussion:

• To which instrument family does the violin belong?
• How many strings are there on a violin.
• What is it called when Stephanie plays more than one note at a time on the violin?
• How did Stephanie get better at playing the violin?
• Take a look at the diagram of the front and back side of a violin, below. Can you name at least three parts that Stephanie mentioned?

Violin Wikimedia Commons

4. Learn a little more about the violin! Marc will explain how using his fingers on the strings changes the pitch on his instrument.

Can you explain to someone how pressing the string down changes the vibration of the string? How does that affect the sound?

5. Now it's time to meet Kirsti, and hear about the viola.

Can you name two things about the violin and the viola are the same?

Can you name two things about the violin and the viola that are different?

6. Eric will introduce you to his instrument, the cello.

Follow- up questions for journaling or discussion:

• What is the big difference between the violin and viola compared to the cello?
• Can you explain the relationship between size and pitch on a string instrument?
• Did you notice Eric played a little music by plucking the string instead of using his bow. Do you remember what that is called?

7. Lux will play another piece. This one is by Franz Joseph Haydn, who lived in Austria between the years of 1732-1809.

8. Finally, Lux String Quartet will review a few key ideas from their Class Notes Concert.

Tell us what you learned!

Getting feedback from our audience helps make this program possible. Students, teachers, and parents, please take a minute to complete this short survey about this Virtual Class Notes Concerts.

Have a question or suggestion? Contact Katie Condon, music education specialist.

More: View all of our Classical Kids Music Lessons

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