Learning about Klezmer scales and rhythms: "Happy Birthday"
The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band Quintet offers a one-hour immersion in klezmer and Jewish music. The program:
• introduces students to the music and culture of the lost Jewish community of Eastern Europe
• shows and explains the role of musicians and musical instruments in an ensemble
• compares Klezmer rhythms and scales to different styles of music
• teaches about the roots of Jewish folk music in a geographical and historical context
• encourages students to explore their own cultural heritage
• promotes cross-cultural understanding, appreciation and respect
The program varies respectively for students from grades K to High School. Well tested and fine-tuned since 1992, this performance has proven to be successful in different schools, from religious institutions to public schools with a diverse student body. Underlying this upbeat and entertaining show is a message about widening cultural horizons and exposure to the ethnic diversity students might not encounter in their own school or neighborhood.
"I have not stopped hearing positive responses to your performances yesterday. Our orchestra teacher let me know how much she enjoyed it and that her students were very excited about it as well. I had two 3rd grade classes practically demand to learn the hora. I was more than pleased to show them! Thank you for a wonderful lesson and beautiful music!"
-Bill H., Music Teacher and the president of the Riverside Education Council
Cherishing Ones Roots: Each child comes from one or more cultural backgrounds, but do they value their ethnic heritage? Through a brief and lively introduction to Klezmer music (the dance music of Eastern European Jews), the band conveys the importance of carrying one's music and dance traditions on from generation to generation. This program was played for over 15 years on the Urban Gateways circuit in inner-city and suburban schools.
Holocaust Awareness: According to a recent study, as many as 20% of today's school children are not aware of the Holocaust. This program will expose students to knowledge about the genocide of Europe's Jews through a celebration of their culture. The destruction of European Jewry can be better appreciated if one is familiar with their music, dance and humor. The program creates a sense of warmth and connectedness to a people from another place and time who became the victims of ethnic cleansing. This is a universal lesson for our times.
Customize Your Program: The typical length of time is 45 minutes, but it can be as short as 30 minutes or as long as a full hour. It can be tailored to the needs of different grade levels and needs. The band can do a more in-depth educational program for upper grades, and a more interactive program for elementary school. The band provides a power point with background information if the classes would like to do advance preparation, as well as a follow-up question-answer sheet.