Learning about the piano with Robin Spielberg

This week the kindergarteners and Lower Elementary were the guests of Robin Spielberg and the Miami University Performing Arts Series. Robin talked to children about how a piano works and then discussed why and how she composes music.

We learned that pianos have over 12,000 moving parts, including 88 keys. This particular Steinway weighs about two tons! We experimented with the damper and discovered it could make a note last for 37 seconds.

When Robin asked why we compose and perform music, one of our students noted, “It’s like letting your feelings out through an instrument.”

Robin performed songs that she had written for her friends, cats, and even herself. She talked about why she writes music, explaining, “I compose music because I want to remember something, like a beautiful day or a wonderful memory.” Robin played gentle music, and we practiced quiet meditation, noting how calm the music made us. She read a book by her friend, Henry the Steinway and the Piano Recital, which explored the anxiety some children have about performing.

We ended the trip by helping Robin compose a song about a bear who ate a skunk and had eventful dream. Our students had so much fun and learned a great deal! When they returned to school, they reflected on their trip in their journals.

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