About Lyra’s Educational Resources
Lyra is excited to offer the resources on this site to encourage learning about, experiencing, and creating great music!
Dear Teachers, we would appreciate your feedback as we continue to develop these materials. If you have comments or suggestions how we can help adapt these materials to better meet your education needs please contact Joe Jones.
These interview videos introduce some of Lyra Baroque Orchestra’s musicians and their instruments. We hope they give students and teachers some perspective on baroque music, and the life and work of musicians. The videos include instrument demonstrations and questions. The questions come from elementary school students and teachers, to whom we are very grateful!
Here are some of the questions we asked:
How does your instrument work?
How did you start in music?
What is your favorite song? or What’s the first song you remember?
Are there other musicians in your family?
What is a baroque instrument?
Why do you like baroque music?
What is your favorite color?
What’s one of your hobbies?
Orpheus Lessons for Classrooms – Music as a Superpower
Do you have a favorite comic book hero? What’s their special skill? Could music be a superpower? We’ve created these educational materials based on the legend of Orpheus, who was a kind of musical superhero. The lessons aim to help students engage with the special powers of music and begin to see how they can use music to express their ideas and feelings.
The materials come in 3 parts:
- Lesson plans. These incorporate activities and goals for each of the sections of Orpheus Story – click here to download the lesson plan as pdf
- Narrative videos of the Orpheus legend read by Kathleen Hardy, who has many years experience presenting stories with music in elementary schools
- Musical excerpts played by Lyra Baroque Orchestra with introductions about the Baroque composers and pieces
Joseph Bologne Chevalier de Saint-Georges
Who was Joseph Bologne? Imagine in one person the combined talents of Muhammed Ali and Prince, then add a rags to riches backstory not unlike Alexander Hamilton and you’ll be close. Widely acclaimed as the greatest fencer of his generation, Bologne was also praised for his superlative finesse and artistry as a violinist. He led one Europes finest orchestras based in Paris, the Concerts des Amateurs. He also led an all black regiment in the French revolution that came to be known as the Légion St.-Georges. Learn more about his pioneering music and character in the following videos.
An eminently lettered man, Ignatius Sancho was the first person of African descent to vote in Brittain. He was charismatic, witty, charming, well-read, and worldly wise. His writings and his very existence became important arguments in the movement to abolish slavery. He was born in 1729 to parents who had been enslaved. At 2 years old, already an orphan, he was brought to Britain. Sancho says these first years in England were challenging because he had aspirations for education, but his slaveholders “judged ignorance the best and only security for obedience”. Fortunately a more sympathetic family, the Montagu’s befriended him and encouraged his interest in culture and literature. In 1749 he ran away from his slave holders and found refuge in the Montagu household where he was subsequently employed. Eventually because of his gift for communication and outgoing nature he became one of the chief members of staff. In 1773, When Sancho became plagued by chronic gout, the Montagu’s helped him finance a grocery shop in Charles St near the heart of London. Owning this shop gave him the right to vote, which he did in 1774 becoming the first Britton of African descent to vote. In his years as a valet and shopkeeper he maintained correspondence with people of every class and background. His wit and humor are infectious, sometimes hilariously sarcastic, and always warm. I think you’ll agree his music shares some of this same charm. He only published a few collections of pieces, mostly during his years working as Valet. He also wrote a book on music theory that is sadly lost. His last collection was a set of Country dances published in 1779 the year before he died
La Folia by Antonio Vivaldi
La Folia uses a short musical idea that repeats over and over, changing things like tempo, mood, texture, dynamics, or instruments every time it repeats. La Folia can be translated as something like “the madness.” It is an example of a piece based on a repeating chord progression. This style of piece is very old, maybe as old as music itself and it is still around today in lots of popular music.
Also known as the Red Priest because of his red hair, Antonio Vivaldi became famous writing music for operas in northern Italy. He also taught music lessons at the Ospedale della Pietà, a school for orphaned girls. Some of these girls (like Anna Maria della Pietà) became very famous performers and composers too.
- Can you identify the beginning of each new section?
- Move or dance to the music. Change your movements to reflect what you hear and feel in each of the different sections. (Consider focusing on one aspect of the music like the dynamics or the tempo)
- Write a description (or draw a picture) of what you hear in each section. Is it fast or slow, loud or soft, busy or calm, dissonant/consonant?
- Discuss in groups or as a class: How is each section different? what is the feeling of each? How did you choose to move for each section? Which one do you like most? Does this depend on your own mood?
Johann Freidrich Fasch
Johann Friedrich Fasch studied law at the University of Leipzig, and taught himself composition (like his friend Georg Phillip Telemann had done some years earlier). While he was a student, Fasch formed a musical group called the Collegium Musicum and he made friendships that lasted throughout his life. In 1722 after holding various musical and administrative positions, Fasch became Kapellmeister for the court of Anhalt-Zerbst. In that same year he was asked to apply for the Cantor position at his alma mater in Leipzig. He declined and the position was later filled by J. S. Bach.
Like his music, Fasch’s life was full of many colors and moods. He lost his father while he was still a boy, he was widowed twice and outlived most of his children. He was turned down for several positions to which he applied, and couldn’t study music abroad like the wanted to. On the other hand he had lifelong friendships with some of his Leipzig schoolfellows, he became a well-regarded Kapellmeister and prolific composer and lived to see his son, Carl Friedrich Fasch receive a position as harpsichordst at the court of Frederick the Great.
Beyond his singable melodies you will likely notice Fasch’s motivic writing style, and frequently homophonic texture which orient his work toward the galant and developing early classical styles.