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Virtual Class Notes Concerts: The OK Factor

The OK Factor: Karla Colahan, violin; Olivia Diercks, cello Venn Productions

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 the OK Factor.

Target age range: Grades K-8

1. Meet Olivia and Karla, the two members of The OK Factor. In their introduction, they will explain the name of their group and tell you two things they must do to play well together.

2. Let's hear what they sound like when they play together. In the next video, The OK Factor will play their version of a traditional tune, Shenandoah. Notice the two ways they make sound on their instruments.

When a string player plucks the string to make a sound, it is called pizzicato (pit-zah-KAH-toe.) When a string player uses the bow to make a sound, it is called arco (AR-koe.) Learn more about pizzicato technique with the Classical Kids Music Lesson: Pizzicato Party.

3. Karla plays the violin. Listen to her tell you a few things about her instrument.

• The violin is a part of which instrument family?
• The violin is the smallest instrument in its instrument family. Can you explain what that means in terms of its pitch, or how high and low it can play?

4. Olivia plays the cello. She will tell you some things about her instrument.

• Name two similarities between the violin and the cello.
• Name two differences between the violin and the cello.

Learn more about the cello in the Classical Kids Music Lesson: Cello Magic.

5. The OK Factor will play another piece called Switchback.

Remember that in Switchback, the melody was passed back and forth between the cello and violin. Could you hear who played the melody and who played the accompaniment? Did you notice when it switched? If you want to test yourself, listen again. Every time you hear the violin play the melody, point to the violin. Every time the cello plays the melody, point to the cello. Create violin and cello flashcards for an extra challenge. See sample pictures below. Bonus points if you add labels for different parts of each instrument.

Violin and cello Pixabay

Karla also mentioned that Switchback had a lot of noticeable dynamic changes, or changes in the volume of the music. Learn a little more about dynamics the the Classical Kids Music Lesson: Piano and Forte, the Dynamics Duo.

6. Before their last piece, The OK Factor will explain a few special techniques that make this piece interesting and fun.

7. As you watch and listen to The OK Factor play their last piece, notice the following techniques:

• Chopping
• Accented rhythmic patterns
• Ricochet

You can learn more about interesting cello techniques in the Class Notes Video: Technique, Virtuosity, and Soul.

8. Finally, The OK Factor will review a few key ideas from their virtual Class Notes Concert.

Learn More

Find out more about The OK Factor on their website.

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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