Class Notes Lesson Library

Virtual Concert: Heliopsis

Heliopsis (Mikaela Marget, Nyttu Chongo) Ellen Schmidt/Honeydew Mellen Photography

September 16, 2021

Age Range: K-6

Learning Objective: Students will connect and respond to music with active listening and discussion.

Concert Length: 20-30 minutes (Videos only: 15 minutes)

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Note to Teachers: Virtual Concerts give students the opportunity to practice being an audience and experience a wide variety of genres performed by professional, Minnesota-based musicians. As the teacher, you’ll play the role of Concert Host narrating between each piece of music.

Use the provided Concert Host Script and included links to guide students through a series of videos recreating a concert. See our Concert Guide for ideas on how to customize the concert to fit your needs, resources, and teaching style.


SAY. “Welcome to our virtual concert featuring a group called Heliopsis (hee-lee-AWP-sis)! Today we’ll meet musicians Mikaela and Nyttu (NEE-too). Let’s listen to their first piece of music, Katydid.


SAY. “Mikaela plays the cello (CHE-llow) and Nyttu plays the timbila (tim-BEE-la). In the next video, Nyttu will share some facts and information about the timbila.”


SAY. “Nyttu comes from the country of Mozambique on the continent of Africa. Many of the instruments he plays are common in Mozambique. Take a look on the map below to see where Mozambique is located.”

Wikimedia Commons

SAY. “Mikaela and Nyttu use a process called improvisation to create many of their compositions. In the next video, they will explain and demonstrate how they collaborate and use improvisation to compose pieces together.”


SAY. “Did you notice the instrument Nyttu was playing in that video? It’s called the mbira (mBEE-rah). Let’s take a closer look at that instrument.”


SAY. “We’ve seen three instruments today: the timbila, the mbira, and… does anyone remember the name of Mikaela’s instrument? It’s the cello. Let’s learn a little more about the cello.”


SAY. “Mikaela and Nyttu composed Ngoma ya Tumbuluko through improvisation. As you watch, think about how they might have worked together to create this piece.”


SAY. “Thank you for coming to our Class Notes concert featuring Heliopsis! We hoped you enjoyed learning about the cello, timbila, mbira and the process of improvisation! Let’s give a round of applause for Mikaela and Nyttu!”

Want to learn more about Heliopsis and their music? Book an in-person or Live Virtual Class Notes Concerts here, or contact for more information about Heliopsis.