Comprehensive Summer Fun Lesson! 


Summer Fun Assignment:

This webpage contain a lot of Masterly Inactivity ideas for you to use  as a mother over the summer with your children.  My suggestion for this week is for you to pick one or two things to try now and then sprinkle the rest throughout the summer time.  


Music Education, as all other subjects in education, ought to be taught holistically.  Being a musician is not just about playing an instrument, or singing, but understanding music as a complete whole.  You can’t play musically without feeling the emotion and rhythm in music.  You can’t sing tunefully without listening carefully.  Music Appreciation helps train the careful ear and understand the form of music. Feeling beat and rhythm come from dance and movement.  These elements: Moving, Playing, Singing and Listening all fit together.  In order to prepare for next year’s school year, I ask that your family prepare yourselves musically with all four of these Elements .  Below are  four types of musical assignments for your children to practice over the summer so that when you return in the fall you will all be better musicians!  Do these whenever and wherever you can this summer! Please don’t be overwhelmed by the length of this lesson.  Just try to be consistent with music as an activity to pursue Masterly Inactivity! One suggestion is to do one activity per day; Monday – Drill (Move), Tuesday – Instrument, Wednesday -Dancing (Move), Thursday – Singing,  Friday –  Listening. Or one per week!


Remember that even over the summer Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, and a Life, so don’t fritter away the days with video games and TV, do something together as a family that will enrich their lives now and into adulthood and bring joy and pleasure, and ultimately glorifying, worship to God!


Part One: Moving (Drill and Dancing)



  • Drill:  Skipping and Marching Form 1 and 2 (older kids will also have fun with this)


Listen carefully to the music. Find the beat and have your children skip or march (or run, gallop, or dance when appropriate) to the beat.  Some music lends itself better to skipping and some is better for Marching.  Try lots of different kinds of music! This will be good exercise! Mason’s Programmes included lots of skipping and marching to music for Drill in lower forms.


Here are several suggestions to start with:


Listen to the differences in the music and try to march and skip when appropriate with my children:

Insert Horsey, Horsey


Marching Music

Here are other songs you can play over the summer and march and skip to.  Try taking it outside and do it in the yard in the fresh air!

British Marches:

American Marches:

Skipping Music

Try out the skipping song with my kids and then skip some more to the other songs provided! Find your own!

Insert Pop, Goes the Weasel



Listen to this playlist of different piano pieces and try to feel how your body wants to move to the beat of the music! Which type of movement suits the music best?

Here’s a fun way to show the beat and sounds of music with your body:


  1. Drill (Advanced): Ball Exercises Forms 2 and Up

This is a form of drill that Mason did in Forms 2-4. They are taken from a book Mason used called Ball Games and Breathing Exercises, by Alice James. They are to be done with waltz music and two small bouncy balls such as tennis balls or racket balls. Here’s what we purchased: Handballs


Watch these videos to learn some of the ball exercises with my daughter and I. I am sorry my head got cut off.  Do your best and have fun!!  The balls are sometimes hard to work with and shall we say, “bouncy”!!

Insert Ball Exercises 1

Insert Ball Exercises 2

Insert Ball Exercises 3


You can use any of these Waltzes below to accompany your ball exercises!!

The first video is best to start with because it’s slower.  Any waltz music on the piano should be fine. You can try the exercises with orchestra music too if you’d like, the beat might just not always be as obvious or steady.

Insert all these videos:


3. Dancing

Please try to learn these two dances as a family over the summer!


Drum Song – Music from Palestine

Instruction Video

Insert Drum Song Teaching

Dance Only

Insert Drum Song Dance


Rondo – Written by Russian Composer Dmitri Kabalevsky (1904-1987)

This movement is called March and the structure is ABACA.

Instruction Video

Insert Rondo teaching

Dance only

Insert Rondo Dance


Part Two: Playing an Instrument   

If your children or you as a parent can play piano or another instrument, I would like you to try and learn these pieces either the melody (hands alone) or hands together over the summer to add to your appreciation of Bach! Work on them with your children!  If you cannot play an instrument please skip to the percussion section of Playing an Instrument!


Mason had young children in Forms 1-2 learn to play piano, and then in upper forms, once they were proficient,  the children would be assigned to play pieces by the composer they were studying that term in school.



  • Piano, Violin, or Other instrument:



First, spend some time Listening to this music so you know how it sounds!


Anna Magdalena Bach Notebook



PRINT: Then you can print off any of the pieces that you like from this site and try to play them on your instrument!


PLAY: I recommend trying Minuet in G Major to start of with.  Here is a simpler version:

Simple Violin or other instrument (single melody line)

Simple Piano: Minuet in G Major and Minor



If you are interested in learning piano and can’t afford private lessons or don’t have the time right now, this is a decent resource: Free Online Piano Lessons



If you are interested in learning more about how Mason’s programs included piano lessons and you have some musical training yourself, feel free to read this book as a parent, The Teacher’s Guide for the Child Pianist. Then you may try to teach your children how to play piano on your own. Many mothers were doing so in Mason’s day.   


This is the Step One Mrs. Curwen’s Pianoforte Method  Lesson Book (there are 6 levels, but the others don’t seem to be free online).  You  can print it off and use it  with your kids as you follow the instructions/Methodology in The Child Pianist (Teacher’s Guide) from above.


  1. Percussion (Drumming, Sticks, or Clapping)

This portion can be used by everyone, but we included it for students who are not yet doing formal instrument lessons. For this instrumental portion you don’t have to have any fancy instruments or special techniques. You can use things found around the home or clap with your hands. Instruments are more fun, so I do recommend you purchase a nice drum and a few sets of rhythm sticks to share as a family. They will come in handy next school year as well.  Something like these:

Hand Drum     Rhythm Sticks


Drumming Videos:

PLAY: With these videos and learn how to do some different drumming pieces.  Practice all summer!


Drum Song – Play along with us and make up your own drumming during the musical interlude in the middle.

Insert Drum Song


Toumba: Play Toumba with us! Older students can try and play the more advanced rhythm with my daughter in the C section of the piece. .

Insert Toumba


Catherineta: This song is quite fast and more complicated.  It would be good for advanced or older children.

Insert Catherineta


Please use these videos over the summer to encourage your children to play an instrument and to listen to the beat of the music and play along!  Enjoy!


Part Three: Singing

Sight reading lessons are hard work.  Not all moms are musically trained and able to work on them over the summer.  But please DO try to review all the solfege hands signs we have learned this year ( Do, Re, Mi, Sol, La, and high Do’) And sing any of the songs we learned this year and feel free to go back and do old singing lessons if your kids want to.



  • SING: Folksongs


What I suggest for you over the summer is lots of singing.  I have included quite a few short videos with fun folk songs to learn together over the summer.  Just for fun.  Please feel free to learn a new one each week of the summer!

Insert all Week 11  – Folksong Audio files ( coming soon)  






Also, if you have older kids, sing the folksongs above, but also learn “A Might Fortress is our God” adapted and harmonized by Bach, after Martin Luther wrote it.  He wrote two Chorales using Luther’s tune.  I have included the sheet music and a recording of both, so you can sing it as a family! There are older and newer versions of the lyrics.  Feel free to just use the text you use in your church tradition. There isn’t text included on the actual sheet music provided. You can print the text I linked or look it up in your church hymnal.    


SING: 4 Part hymns

See if your advanced students can see any differences between the two harmonizations!!

A Mighty Fortress Hymn Lyrics


Bach Chorale 302 ( Sheet Music for A Mighty Fortress #1)


Bach Chorale 303 ( Sheet Music for A Mighty Fortress #2)

A Mighty Fortress Hymn Lyrics


Part Four: Listening

Extending your Bach Appreciation to other pieces besides St. Matthew’s Passion over the summer!  Feel free to pick one piece every couple of weeks and read a tad about it. Your goal should be to listen to a piece often enough that the children can sing the theme (main melody line). It would be better to do one or two and know them well, as friends, than to just listen casually without attention.  Although using Bach as background music as well, won’t hurt!   


Soli Deo Gloria – Glory to God Alone!  

Here is a Bach Biography (from PR Volume 40) you can print it off to read over the summer if you want more information about Bach.  The article is very interesting and well written and makes his life and music come alive for me!  The article includes important information about the selected pieces below, so you can use it as a tool to understand the style of music and the form of each piece!  I have included some sections of the text from the PR article about each piece and included it here on the website as well for ease of use while listening.


JEN:  Can you Insert   The Bach Biography PDF link that you emailed me a few weeks ago from PR Volume 40 (Robin – I didn’t know how to add a pdf file to my doc)



  • LISTEN: Toccata and Fugue in D minor



“ He was bom at Eisenach, and his work was done in Cothen, Weimar and Leipzic, as Capellmeister and organist, and it may be as well for children to make their first acquaintance with him by way of the organ. This may be quite easy if the children live near a church where the organist is a good player of Bach and will give particulars as to what he plays. But for closer study there is a very good gramophone record to be had (H.M.V.) C1291,  a Toccata and Fugue in D minor.  Bach was a wonderful organist himself, and knew well how to deal with the king of instruments.  A ” Toccata ” means literally a ” touch,” and is generally under stood to be a piece requiring dexterity in performance. The different parts (or voices as we call them in Fugues), need to be clearly heard. Any of the higher Forms who are studying Fugue would enjoy another record, B2654. This is a Fugue in D, which is of great interest.”



  1. Church Cantatas:

“In his long connection with church music, he wrote a large number of Church Cantatas,” which are best explained as being equivalent to our anthems. He composed one for each Sunday and Festival in the year, and additional ones as well. All these are on a grand scale containing choruses, solos and recitatives appropriate to the day for which they were intended. Many of them have been heard by wireless (radio) late on Sunday afternoons, and some of the children may have listened to them. They contain a wealth of beautiful music…. and the Scriptural words were translated with great care. Singers will find many treasures in these books, which contain also some extracts from cantatas that were not strictly ” Church,” as for example, his ” Phoebus and Pan,” which was performed in London as an opera not many years ago, and proved very light and amusing. In Volume II., for soprano, is the best known air, perhaps, of any that he wrote—”Mein glaiibiges Herze,” from the cantata ” God so loved the world.” It is also published separately by Novello’s under its best known English title, ” My heart ever faithful.” All Forms should hear this, and the higher ones try it for themselves. Bach was fifty when he composed it, but it is full of a youthful gaiety, and is a most enspiriting tune, unless dragged. A suitable speed for most singers is M.M. 108 These volumes contain extracts only from the less known works, because the more famous ones are easily accessible.”


LISTEN: Mein glaiibiges Herze (In German)


LISTEN: My heart ever faithful (Same song in English)

Try having older forms Sing along as the article suggests!


SING: Lyrics

My heart ever faithful, Sing praises, be joyful, My heart ever faithful, sing praises, be joyful,

Sing praises, be joyful, Thy Savior is near; My heart ever faithful,

Sing praises, be joyful, Sing praises, be joyful, Thy Savior is near!

Away with complaining, Away with complaining, Faith ever maintaining,

My Savior is here; Away with complaining, Faith ever maintaining,

My Savior is here, My Savior is here.


  1.  Selections from St. Matthew’s Passion (studied in Term 3):

“Of these great choral works, the best known is the setting of the Passion” according to St. Matthew. In it there is consummate learning, combined with intense feeling and true dramatic treatment. The ecstasy of the old mystery-plays is translated into more abstract form through the music. It is believed that he set three of the Gospels, in the parts giving the narrative of the betrayal and crucifixion, but only that according to St. John survives, and it, as well as the St. Matthew setting, is to be had from Novello’s. For years it has been the custom to perform this work in St. Paul’s Cathedral in Holy Week, and in Wren’s great building, dating from the same period, or not long before, the music is extremely impressive. The great choruses are interspersed with descriptive narrations in recitatives, as weU as set airs for solo voices and the chorales. One passage is given strikingly in both settings, that of Peter’s denial. Compare the two examples of the words at ”he went out and sobbed bitterly.” If the children know enough of what houses and halls under the Roman rule were like it is easy to picture most of the scenes Bach describes and that one in particular. The man’s anguish of penitence is followed in the St. Matthew setting by a wonderfully pathetic air for alto, with keen thin tones of solo violin, ” Have mercy upon me.” It is in Bach’s favourite key,—B minor. It is difficult, but someone may be able to sing it to the children.

LISTEN: ” Have mercy upon me.”


“If it is possible to take children to hear the work they will understand it much better if they see the score first, to under- J. S. BACH. 543 stand the sequence of the scenes. But there is a good gramophone record of the final double chorus, ” We bow our heads,”—D1084, which will give much pleasure to those who are debarred from hearing the work, and also to those, who, having heard it, wish to recall the beautiful impression it leaves. There are several translations of the words, and those sung here are from the edition published by Stainer and Bell, who kindly permit them to be quoted, in order that hearers may miss nothing of the full beauty of the peaceful close. The words heard while the first side of the record is given are :—

“We bow our heads In tears and sorrow

And cry to Thee in Thy still grave :

Rest Thee sweetly.

Rest, O rest Thee, sweetly rest.”

These words are sung by both choirs, but on the second side of the record we hear the first choir sing, ” Rest Thy tired limbs and weary,” while the second sings, ” Rest Thee sweetly, rest Thee well.” These are repeated, and then the first choir sings, ” May Thy grave and tomb be to the anxious doubting conscience as a soft and resting pillow for my soul to rest upon.”

The second choir sings, ” Rest Thee sweetly, rest Thee well.”

First choir, “For my soul to rest upon Now refreshed.

Now refreshed, slumber on with closed eyes.”

The further repetitions should then be quite clear; the beautiful phrase which is sung by the two choirs alternately is easily found by anyone who has the musical score to follow.”

LISTEN:  ” We bow our heads ”



Historic: Bach’s Composition of the second half of St. Matthew’s Passion – Score for Older forms who wish to see how the music was written


STUDY: Modern Score Which shows different instrumental and voice parts Have older Forms observe the two Choir voices in the score as mentioned in the article here: “The further repetitions should then be quite clear; the beautiful phrase which is sung by the two choirs alternately is easily found by anyone who has the musical score to follow.”


  1. The Bach Chorale: (more content in the Biography linked above)  


O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden/ O Sacred Head, Now Wounded (Chorale from St. Matthew’s) (more content about his chorales in the Biography linked above. Too much to repost here.)  

Here’s a selection of Bach’s chorales if you just want to listen while you eat or fold laundry:


SING: Also, Bach’s Chorales are lovely for singing, so if you have older kids that want to sing parts, order this book and try as a family or at church to sing some of Bach’s Chorales!

The Parent’s Review articles encourage this kind of crossover in the Music Appreciation lessons.  They encouraged the students to both play and sing pieces by the compose being studied.


  1. Pastoral Symphony:

“Following upon this interesting Chorale (Christmas Chorale), Part II. opens with a truly idyllic Pastoral Symphony which all children should hear, and, if possible, played by orchestra. Like Handel with his Pastoral Symphony in the ” Messiah,” Bach makes great use of the thin tone of the strings. For the piano this is not easy because of the crossing of the parts, but it is interesting for the higher Forms to try.”



PLAY: Here’s the organ sheet music if any older students or Parents want to give it a try!


More pieces are mentioned in the Article, but I thought this was enough for the summer. Feel free to look up more on your own!