The keyboard of a Concert Grand Model D
The keyboard of a Concert Grand Model D

Listen On: All About Music

Curated by: Rion Nakaya of The Kid Should See This.

Playlist runtime: 9 episodes: 3 hours, 9 minutes (189 minutes)

Buttons & Figs

Episode: “Scat Singing”

Listen: Apple Podcasts | Radio Public

Length: 20 minutes

What’s scat singing and how can you start singing it? This music-filled episode of Buttons & Figs mixes jazz with history, travel, community, improvisation, some nonsense, and a few wonderful performances by jazz singer Annette Lowman. A fun and inspiring form of play, performance, and personal expression for all ages.

Classics for Kids

Episode: “What’s It Like to Be a Conductor?”

Listen: Apple Podcasts | Radio Public

Length: 6 minutes

Being the leader of an orchestra is a surprising job that requires much more than gesturing to a musical score with a wooden stick. In this Classics for Kids from Cincinnati Public Radio, host Naomi Lewin introduces JoAnn Falletta, a trailblazing conductor who explains the work that it takes to do her job well. The episode also includes music from Ludwig von Beethoven, Paul Dukas, Aaron Copland, Franz Schubert, and more.

The Past and the Curious

Episode: “Music! Marian Anderson, The Great Caruso, and more”

Listen: Apple Podcasts | Radio Public

Length: 23 minutes

In 1902, opera tenor Enrico Caruso became the first superstar of recorded music thanks to a gamble on technology, a version of Thomas Edison’s phonograph. The resulting record changed music history. In 1939, opera contralto Marian Anderson was refused a historic Washington DC stage for the color of her skin. Her response, a performance at the Lincoln Memorial in front of an audience 75,000 supporters and fans, is a Civil Rights movement milestone.

But Why?

Episode: “How do piano keys make sound?”

Listen: Apple Podcasts | Radio Public

Length: 28 minutes

What is inside a piano? Is it a string instrument or a percussion instrument? How do vibrations make music? But Why’s Jane Lindholm talks with two musicians about how their instruments make sound. Plus: Beautiful performances and some advice about how to make practicing fun.

Bedtime History

Episode: “Irving Berlin”

Listen: Apple Podcasts | Radio Public

Length: 12 minutes

Considered one of America’s greatest composers, Irving Berlin started his life in New York City as an poor but enterprising young immigrant who worked hard as a newspaper boy and later, as a singer and Ragtime piano player. Hear his story of resilience, creativity, and gratitude in this calming and music-filled Bedtime History.

Short & Curly

Episode: “Is it okay to use technology to help you sing better?”

Listen: Apple Podcasts | Radio Public

Length: 23 minutes

“Auto-tuning” has become a standard option when creating and “fixing” how pop music sounds. But how much of it is a trend or an editing tool and how much of it is misleading audiences? Is it okay to autotune if the singer is completely out-of-tune? Dive into the ethics of music-making in this episode of Short & Curly.

Ear Snacks

Episode: “Musical Glass”

Listen: Apple Podcasts | Radio Public

Length: 14 minutes

Glass is not often seen in the musical instruments found in orchestras or rock bands, but you can play tunes on glass. This Snacktivity episode from Ear Snacks features some DIY ideas for playing wine glasses and bottles filled with water. We also learn about Ben Franklin’s Glass Armonica. The Music Box’s Sara Louise Callaway explains.

Brains On!

Episode: “From 8-bit to orchestras: How does video game music affect you?”

Listen: Apple Podcasts | Radio Public

Length: 28 minutes

What is 8-bit music? Does music affect your emotions while you play? Does it make you a better player? Explore the technology and psychology of music and sound effects in gaming, from the earliest chords in 1978 to today’s experiences. This Brains On! episode breaks down the components.

The Soundtrack Show

Episode: “Great Melodies Tell Great Stories”

Listen: Apple Podcasts | Radio Public

Length: 35 minutes

How are some of our most popular heroic stories in film—Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Star Trek, and Back to the Future—have iconic and beloved soundtracks? In this episode of The Soundtrack Show, host David W. Collins brilliantly breaks down why each of these memorable scores so accurately reflect the stories they represent. Come for the fandom, stay for a new understanding of storytelling with music.

Bonus Videos:

Glass Armonica, an amazing musical instrument

Invented in 1761, Benjamin Franklin’s glass armonica is a rare instrument to see played… or to play. Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts graduate student Jake Schlaerth shares how its played and what it sounds like in this short demonstration video.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason plays “le Cygne from le Carnaval des Animaux”

British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason comes from a family of musicians and won the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year award. This beautiful rendition of “The Swan” from Camille Saint-Saens’ The Carnival of the Animals was filmed in promotion of his debut album Inspiration.

The Making of a Steinway

Behold the year-long process of building an award-winning Steinway piano. This promotional video from the 160+ year old company shares how their team comes together to craft this instrument full of hammers and strings.

How Notes and Beats Go Together (The Rhythm Pyramid)

Notes come in different shapes that indicate how long they should be played. Learn more about them and how notes and beats mix to make music in this video from Classical MPR’s Class Notes series. Follow this with their corresponding curriculum (pdf).

How playing an instrument benefits your brain

Music is powerful to listen to and even more powerful to play. In fact, no matter instrument you’ve chosen, your brain gets “a full-body workout” when you practice; multiple areas of your brain come alive with the input and output. This animated TED Ed video describes the long term benefits of playing an instrument.