ASQKids video

Works on this Recording.

ASQKids video
Year of Composition: 1997     Composed for the ASQ
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See video
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Recordings

ASQKids video
Amherst Saxophone Quartet: ASQKids video
Salvatore Andolina, soprano
Russ Carere, alto
Stephen Rosenthal, tenor
Harry Fackelman, baritone
1997

ASQKids video

Fun. Giggles. Animated Bumblebees. Flying Pianos. Bach Fugues with notes you can hear and SEE. Classical Music, Jazz & Ragtime. Stimulate your children's intellects as you entertain them with great music and a rollicking good time!

The Amherst Saxophone Quartet is proud to announce the release of ASQKids, a 44 minute home/school video that introduces children to the lifelong joys of great music. This is the first video of its kind and is intended for three to thirteen year olds.

ASQKids video cover

Research shows that listening to and learning about music actually develops intellectual skills in children. This video teaches children how to listen, touching on many of the elements of how music "works". The Amherst Saxophone Quartet is assisted by 3D animations such as magic glasses, saxophone playing bumblebees, and animated music notes. The ASQ plays Baroque, Classical, Jazz, and Ragtime music, and explains what they are doing in ways that will delight and entertain children (and adults) for many hours and repeated viewings. This is a video filled with joy, laughter, silliness, great music and serious fun.

Using animation and live performance, the ASQ helps children learn about the

  • concept and importance of practice
  • rewards of focused listening
  • elements of a fugue
  • American history of Ragtime
  • Science of Sound
  • improvisations of Jazz
  • American heritage of Ragtime

ASQKids Harry Fackelman and BumbleBee

The Amherst Saxophone Quartet is celebrating its 23rd Anniversary this year, and is one of the most respected saxophone quartets in the world. Concert highlights include appearances in Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Chautauqua Institution, and broadcasts on NBC-TV's The Tonight Show, CBS Sunday Morning, National Public Radio, St. Paul Sunday, and Voice of America. While enjoying a major concert career, they have performed concerts for more than 400,000 children across the country.

This video was filmed in the Olmsted School, part of the Buffalo Public Schools system.

The ASQKids video is available in DVD format. Click here to order DVDs for $15.00 each (includes shipping and handling).


Suggestions for use in the music classroom
by Valerie C. Cooley, Ed.D.

Preview the tape several times so that you are thoroughly familiar with the content; Decide how much of the tape to use, where to stop it for discussion, what terms or experiences you would like to introduce to the students before they view the video. (If you are preparing for a live visit by the ASQ, these questions will also be pertinent.)

  1. For primary age children: have the students learn "Oh Suzanna"; learn to sing a simple round.
  2. For older students: learn to sing a round or canon (what is the difference?), learn about one or more of the composers featured on the video; present other pieces of music by the same composer.
  3. Post the vocabulary that you would like to emphasize [Chamber Music, Saxophone (Soprano, Alto, Baritone, Tenor), Quartet, Melody, Round, Fugue, Syncopation, Tone Poem, Acoustics, Ragtime, Improvisation. Accompaniment ]
  4. Have at least one picture of a saxophone available or arrange to have a saxophone available for the students to see.
  5. Invite a Saxophone player to visit the class or school.

ASQKids Harry Fackelman and kids

Preview the tape several times so that you are thoroughly familiar with the content; Decide how much of the tape to use, where to stop it for discussion, what terms or experiences you would like to introduce to the students before they view the video. (If you are preparing for a live visit by the ASQ, these questions will also be pertinent.)

  1. For primary age children: have the students learn "Oh Suzanna"; learn to sing a simple round.
  2. For older students: learn to sing a round or canon (what is the difference?), learn about one or more of the composers featured on the video; present other pieces of music by the same composer.
  3. Post the vocabulary that you would like to emphasize [Chamber Music, Saxophone (Soprano, Alto, Baritone, Tenor), Quartet, Melody, Round, Fugue, Syncopation, Tone Poem, Acoustics, Ragtime, Improvisation. Accompaniment ]
  4. Have at least one picture of a saxophone available or arrange to have a saxophone available for the students to see.
  5. Invite a Saxophone player to visit the class or school.

Music

Fantasy and Fugue on Oh Suzanna
Fugue in c minor, J.S. Bach Flight of the Bumblebee, Rimsky-Korsakoff
The Entertainer, Scott Joplin
Elite Syncopation, Scott Joplin
Birds Carnival, Zez Confrey
Rig-A-Ma-Role Rag, Edwin F. Kendall
All Right Blues, Russ Carere

Introduction of the saxophone (5 min): Questions for discussion

  • Are all of the instruments the same size? [NO]
  • Does the size have anything to do with the sound (or range) of the instrument? [YES; the smaller the instrument the higher the tone have students look at the piano strings for a comparison of the relationship between size, length and thickness of strings, and the sound it makes]
    • Preparing for a concert (3 min): Questions for discussion

      • Why didn't their first attempt sound good?
      • Why do players need to practice?
      • Individually
      • In a group
      • How are musicians like athletes?

      Fantasy and Fugue on Oh Suzanna (5 min): Questions for discussion

      • Can you hear the melody?
      • Have class learn the song "Oh Suzanna"
      • Is the melody always the same? [NO]
      • Put melody on the board. How does the melody change? [KEY, TONALITY, TEMPO, etc.]
      • How did the audience get fooled into thinking that the piece was over? [STEVE CIRCLED HIS INTRUMENT AND TOOK IT OUT OF HIS MOUTH; THE PIECE SEEMED TO STOP]
      • How do you know that the piece is actually finished? [SIGNAL FROM THE PERFORMERS, FINAL CADENCE OF THE PIECE].

      Fugue in c minor (7 min): Questions for discussion

      • Does the soprano saxophone always play the melody? [NO, all of the instruments play it]
      • How many times does each instrument play the melody? [3 TIMES]

      Parts of the Saxophone (2 min):

      • Mouthpiece with reed
      • Neck connects to the body (Bell can be seen during the close-up shots)

      Questions for discussion:

      • How do the players change notes on the saxophone? [BY PRESSING THE KEYS]
      • How is a recorder, a flute and/or a trumpet similar to a saxophone?
      • How do they differ from a saxophone?

      Flight of the Bumblebee (2 min): Questions for discussion

      • Listen for the places where there is a swarm of bees and where there is just one bee.
      • Is this music fast or slow [FAST]
      • Why? [TO SUGGEST A BUMBLEBEE]

      The Entertainer, Elite Syncopations (4 min): Questions for discussion

      • What is Ragtime?
      • How are the three rags similar, different?
      • How does it make you feel?

      Birds Carnival (2 Min): Questions for discussion

      • How does this piece make you feel?
      • What makes the audience laugh--the music, the performance or both?

      Rig-A-Ma-Role Rag (3 Min): See questions above

      Importance of Practice (1 min): Questions for discussion

      • What is Steve's message about practicing?
      • How do you become good at something you want to do?
      • What do you want to do when you grow up?

      All Right Blues (5 min): Questions for discussion

      • How do the performers know when to improvise?
      • What does this music make you want to do?

      Be sure to watch the end of the tape for a surprise ending!

Article

Buffalo News, The
Looking to hook kids on the sounds of sax

By HERMAN TROTTER     
News Music Critic

There will be no big hoopla to accompany the Amherst Saxophone Quartet's 20th anniversary season.

No dancing bears, no fireworks, no tight formations of the Navy's Blue Angels zooming overhead when the season opens at 8 p.m. Thursday at Slee Hall, on the University at Buffalo North Campus.

Just a commitment to doing more of the things they've been doing so well. And that includes a slightly increased concert series, a compact disc to be released this fall, an expanded range of responsibilities in the Slee Residency at UB, a four-concert October tour of the British Virgin Islands and a new partnership in Buffalo's Olmsted schools.

The quartet's spokesman, Stephen Rosenthal, said one departure from the ordinary is a video, which should be on the market by early October.

"It will have the title 'ASQ Kids,' so that shows the .audicnce we want to reach," Rosenthal said. "This just may be the first chamber music video ever released specifically for kids of grammar school age and below. My son's only 2, but he can't get enough of it. He asks to see it just about every evening."

The 43-minute video will be available through a wide network of video and music stores, and at the ASQ concerts.

The subtitle of the video is more specific about its objectives - "Introdueing Children to the Lifelong Joys of Chamber Music."

A preview showing of "ASQ Kids" revealed the members of the quartet - in addition to Rosenthal they are Sal Andolina, Russ Carere and Harry Fackelman - in their usual spontaneous, audience-friendly form.

It was taped during sessions in front of the students and teachers at one of the Olmsted schools. The players entered one. at a time, each playing a short jazzy riff in order to establish for young ears the sound, range and tonal character of the soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones that make up the ensemble.

Though the music they played veered toward the light side, ranging from a "Fantasy and Fugue on 'Oh, Susannah'" through a group of Joplin rags, with Bach's Fugue in C minon as a classical centerpiece, there' was no compromise in quality of performance, and no tampering with the music itself.

Among the many instructive aspects of the video is a sequence in which the players take the instruments apart, describing the elements of the saxophone and playing them partially assembled to illustrate how the sound of the instrument is "put together."

It's all very absorbing, but what seems to make it an experience kids would clamor to see again and again are the special effects, which include an imaginative and seemingly endless variety of "dissolves" that carry the visuals from one sequence to the next, and the use of extremely engaging animations.

During the playing of "The Flight of the Bumblebee," for example, there are stylized animated bees flitting around the heads of the players, whose eyes suspiciously follow the bees' flight even while playing the music immaculately.

The quartet's international and local involvements will continue with its October tour of the British Virgin Islands. The tour is not the result of some government grant. Rosenthal says, "It's a purely conventional tour which our agent arranged, and we're being paid our standard fee."

On the other hand, the "new partnership" with the Olmsted schools will include four concerts and 20 other services of a more interactive nature, funded in part by the Cultural Leadership Group's Cultural Incentive Funding Program. Another large part of the funding is simply time donated by the quartet's members.

"With such a residency in another city," Rosenthal explained, "we could get paid up to $10,000. But we feel the musical ability we have is a gift, and in our own city we want return part of that gift in the form of exposing youngsters to music. All four of us are unanimous in the belief that we can change lives by opening up this joy to young minds and ears. Not enough places are doing this sort of thing, and we want to be one of those places."

The quartet's residency at the University at Buffalo also continues, with individual saxophone instruction, a course in popular music for non-music majors, and a new course in "the business of chamber music" on the curriculum. And, of course, part of the ensemble's concert series is based in UB's Slee Hall as a university function.

During this anniversary year, the themes of the four concerts will be a sort of musical recap of the ensemble's career, starting with a program that is a repeat of its first-ever concert, which was at that time billed as "Brunch With Bach" and presented on March 12, 1978, in the Ellicott Square Building.

The major works from that first concert were Jean Francaix's "Little Quartet for Saxophones," Pierre Lantier's "Andante and Scherzetto," Rusty Dedrick's "Modem Art Suite" and Eugene Bozza's "Andante and Scherzo." Transcriptions of works by Bach, Boccherini, Gabrieli, Tchaikovsky and Debussy rounded out the program, and all will be repeated in the opening concert.

"But in those 20 years," Rosenthal explained, "we have commissioned a lot of new music and have had a lot of music written for us. So we're going to include at least one of those new works on each program. For the opening concert we've added 'Phantom Melos' by Buffalo-born composer Rocco DiPietro."

In the expansion of last year's local programming commitment, this opening concert will be presented four times. After Thursday's Slee Hall debut, it will be repeated at 7 p.m. Oct. 1 in School 64; at 8 p.m. Oct. 15 in the Bijou Grille in the Theater District, and at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19 in Iroquois High School.

The other three concerts in the season's "musical recap" will be "Our First Carnegie Concert Ever," with its first performance at 8 p.m. Nov. 12 in the Bijou Grille; "20th Birthday Bash," which opens with a 3 p.m. performance at Slee Hall on March 1, and "Fast Forward," at 7:30 p.m. April 22 in Iroquois High School.

Amherst Saxophone Quartet: Looking to hook kids on the sounds of sax
Amherst Saxophone Quartet: Looking to hook kids on the sounds of sax