As September is, among other things, National Piano Month, last week’s theme at the Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Public Library was, appropriately, music. Its Thursday evening virtual Family Night program also celebrated the piano with a little Mozart.
Library director Lisa Youngblood explained, “There was a real composer whose name was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He was a real person and he really composed wonderful things for orchestras and for the piano, specifically.”
The book Youngblood had chosen for the evening was “Mozart Finds a Melody” by Stephen Costanza, a story of historical fiction in which Mozart is struggling to write a last-minute work and finds inspiration all around him, from his pet bird, to the baker, and from all the different sounds around the city.
Youngblood defined for younger viewers some of the vocabulary introduced in the book, such as “pianoforte,” “score,” and “baton,” and shared the books colorful illustrations as she read.
At the story’s conclusion, Youngblood told viewers, “We’re going to listen to a song that I think most of you might know.”
She then brought out a pair of homemade shakers and, using a standard eight-count, led her audience in shaking right and left, up and down, side to side, and put it all together in a sequence. She encouraged everyone to use their bodies if they didn’t have shakers, as getting up and moving was the important thing.
She next added a melody, which she defined as “the main part of a song,” singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” still using the shakers and the same repeating sequence of movements, and adjusting the tempo to go a little faster.
She then turned her attention to the computer she had set up behind her, saying, “See if this sounds a little familiar,” then playing Mozart’s “12 Variations on ‘Ah, vous dirai je, Maman.’”
This piece, she said, was based on a French folk song that Mozart had once heard, and the central melody was what we have all come to know as “Twinkle Twinkle.”
Watch the video on the library’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/harkerheightspubliclibrary/videos/402322274621776.