April Student Page

100-day Challenge

Keep working on your practice charts. You can still do this challenge.
Start at any time! Download this chart or make your own.

100 Day Challenge PDF

Students who have completed the 100-day practice chart

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2020 Composition Contest Winners

Congratulations to everyone who participated. Your pieces were great! Hundreds of students sent in compositions about the Arctic and Antarctica with music about penguins, polar bears, walruses, and other animals as well as pieces about the polar landscapes and oceans! As always, it was difficult to pick just a few, but we are pleased to announce the 2020 winners.
Winning Pieces will be printed in upcoming issues.

10 and younger

1st Place:
A Polar Bear’s Lullaby
by Beverly Horton, age 10
Teacher: Terry Doremus

2nd Place:
The Arctic Fox
by Maggie Miller, age 10
Teacher: Jessica Olson

3rd Place (tie):
Arctic Waves
by Jillian Williams, age 9
Teacher: Jessica Olson

3rd Place (tie):

by Harry Graves, age 10
Teacher: Alison Siener Brown

Honorable Mention:
Jumping Arctic Foxes
by David Beamer, age 9
Teacher: Barbara Azevedo

Honorable Mention:
Cold and Beautiful
by Marissa DiChiaro, age 10
Teacher: Mark Raimondi

11 and older

1st Place:
Lullaby of the Northern Lights
by Colleen Leacock, age 16
Teacher: Lydia McCool

2nd Place:
The Penguin Strut!
by Elisa Lipkin, age 17
Teacher: Diana Wan

3rd Place (tie):
by Audrey Schultz, age 11
Teacher: Maggie Casey

3rd Place (tie):
The Groovy Walrus
by Ella Miller, age 13
Teacher Jessica Olson

Honorable Mention:
Waltz of the Polar Bears
by Eli Minasian, age 14
Teacher: Reese Ancheta

Honorable Mention:
Guided by the Northern Lights
by Marina Prikis, age 17
Teacher: Nancy Osborne

Honorable Mention:
A Sled Dog’s Day Off
by Shawn An, age 18
Teacher: Diane W. Higgins

Composer of the month

Béla Bartók


Mikrokosmos, Volume 1

Mikrokosmos, Volume 6

Bartok playing Rumanian Folk Dances

Bartok playing Evening in Transylvania

Paraszttanc (Peasant’s dance): Allegro moderato from First Term at the Piano

Concerto for Orchestra

String Quartet No. 1

Hungarian Sketches (also known as Hungarian Pictures)

Mallet Percussion

Movement 2 of Daniel Levitan’s Marimba Quartet

Claire de Lune performed on vibraphone

Flight of the Bumblebee played on xylophone

Glockenspiel parts in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Harry Potter medley that uses marimba, vibraphone, and glockenspiel.

Drive by David Guetta performed by the Hilton College (a high school in South Africa) Competition Marimba Band


Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony is marked pppppp (in a bassoon solo). Go to about minute 10 where the music is marked Adagio Mosso. Look at how the music gets quieter and quieter. What dynamic does the next section start at? How does this change affect you as the listener?

Tchaikovsky goes to the other extreme in his 1812 Overture. Go to about minute 16 – Allegro vivace – and notice how loud the whole orchestra is as they compete with the sound of cannons at ffff for the exciting conclusion of this famous work!

In György Ligeti’s Etude for Piano, No. 9, go to about 3:20 where the dynamic is ff. What does the piece end at? What dynamics are between the ff and the ending dynamic?

Ligeti’s Etude for Piano, No. 13 has even more extreme dynamics. Watch the music while you listen to it. Imagine how you might play all of these dramatic dynamics!