YourClassical Children

Class Notes Concerts Preview: Mill City String Quartet

Mill City String Quartet (L-R: Ruth Marshall, Huldah Niles, Erika Hoogeveen, Valerie Little) John Clapham

September 10, 2021

Welcome to Class Notes Concerts!

After a year of Virtual Class Notes Concerts, YourClassical MPR is returning to the classroom with In-Person School Visits and Live Virtual Concerts. 

Each year, YourClassical 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 music.

For more information on booking a concert, check out our Class Notes Concerts 2021-2022 Artist Menu or contact classnotes@mpr.org.

In the coming weeks, we will publish a Class Notes Concert Preview for each artist or ensemble. Find each preview on the YourClassical Music Lessons Page.

These previews will feature:

  • Audio and video of each ensemble/artist to use in the classroom or enjoy on your own.

  • Ideas, information, and activities to prepare students for an in-person concert or a Live Virtual Field Trip. This information can also be used as a reinforcement tool after students experience an in-person/live virtual concert or as a classroom resource. 

This Class Notes Concert preview features Mill City String Quartet.

1. Begin by watching and listening to the Mill City String Quartet play an excerpt from the String Quartet #3 by Daniel Bernard Roumain.

2. Have you heard of a string quartet before? If you know that “quartet” means four, then you probably know there are four musicians in a string quartet. And “string” tells us they play instruments in the string family. Do you know what instruments are included in a string quartet? Hint: there are just three different kinds of instruments, since two people play the same instrument. 

Let’s meet the four musicians in the Mill City String Quartet. They will tell you about their instruments.

Follow-up questions for discussion or journaling:

  • Can you list the three different instruments included in a string quartet? Which instrument makes the highest sounds? Which makes the lowest?

  • Compare and contrast string instruments. What are some common features of all three instruments? How is the cello different from the viola? How is the viola different from the violin?

  • Each string player can make a sound on her instrument in at least two different ways. Can you explain two different ways the player can make her string vibrate to create a sound?

3. Musical compositions often follow patterns. A common musical pattern is “A-B-A”. In an ABA pattern, we hear one thing, then something different, then that first thing again. In this next video featuring the Mill City String Quartet, they will play a piece that follows this pattern. Create a listening grid like the one below. As you watch and listen, write some descriptive words or draw pictures to show what you hear in each section.

Listening box
Listening grid
Katie Condon

Find out more about ABA form in music in this Class Notes Video.

4. Want to learn more about the Mill City String Quartet and their music? Book an in-person or Live Virtual Class Notes Concerts here, or contact classnotes@mpr.org for more information about Mill City String Quartet.