This is what Mozart's own violin actually sounds like


Oh, not much to see here, just the violin that Mozart composed countless works of genius with...

This is the holy grail of violins

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart liked to have a good number of instruments lying around his music room and owned a number of violins. We're interested in this one, made by the Klotz family of luthiers in southern Germany around 1700. Today, it lives in the Salzburg Mozarteum under lock and key.

Back in 2013, the violin got a special treat: its first trip to the USA. For its New York debut, the Klotz violin was played by composer, violinist and all-round Mozart fanboy David Fulmer.

Here he is, giving it an affectionate pat on the bottom:

He had a few things to say about the Klotz violin: firstly, it's in great condition and is essentially a window into the past. “It’s incredible to think that Mozart not only used this as a performer, but also as a composer - and on this very violin he wrote and played his five violin concerti and the monumental masterpiece of the Sinfonia Concertante K364.”

It’s quieter than modern instruments, apparently. Here's Fulmer playing an excerpt of Mozart’s Violin Sonata in C K296:




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Creating Harmony: How Music Can Support Social Emotional Development

Music class

Making music with your child can be so much fun for both of you, whether you’re singing along to the radio in the car, jamming on plastic bowl “drums,” or dancing to songs on your iPod.  Plus, music-making helps your child’s development in many important ways. The best part? You don’t have to have a great singing voice or play a musical instrument to have an impact. The simple and enjoyable act of making music with your child naturally fosters important social and emotional skills, such as self-regulation, self-confidence, leadership skills, social skills, and socio-emotional intelligence.

In fact, recent research[i] has found that preschoolers who engaged in participatory group music and movement activities showed greater group cohesion, cooperation, and prosocial behavior when compared to children who did not engage in the same music activities. Singing and dancing together led to increased empathy (the ability to understand and even share in the feelings of others) for the children with whom they were making music. Even in infancy,[ii] adult-child music and movement interactions can lead to better communication and increased emotional and social coordination and connection, both rhythmically and emotionally, between the adult and the child. Researchers propose this might support infants’ earliest abilities to engage in positive social interactions with others.

So, you can have fun making music with your whole family and know that you are also supporting your child’s social and emotional growth. Here are some ideas for music activities you can try at home to specifically support several areas of socio-emotional learning.
Self-control and Self-regulation

Singing a song like “BINGO,” where you are challenged to incrementally leave out a phrase in the song, is a fun way for children to practice the crucial skill of impulse control in daily life. You can try this technique with any song you and your children know. As you sing a familiar tune, ask your child to leave out one of the words in the next lyric/phrase. During this game, children exercise self-control and self-regulation and experience what it feels like to resist doing something. It’s the same concept at work in the popular backyard game “Red Light, Green Light!”
Self-confidence and Leadership Skills

Ask your child to lead YOU in a favorite song, maybe one she learned at school. Just follow your child’s lead whether she gets the lyrics or melody “right” or not. This simple activity gives her a chance to be the leader—and supports her self-confidence as she experiences that her way of interpreting the song is accepted and embraced by you. Similarly, songs that ask children to come up with their own word or sound also support self-confidence and leadership skills. For example, in “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” children can choose an animal to sing about and imitate its sound in their own way.
Social Skills and Socio-emotional Intelligence

Whether making music with just you or with the whole family, group music-making challenges children to work with others as an “ensemble.” They learn the importance of respecting others’ space and how they express themselves. They also get to practice working together towards a common goal (e.g., when holding hands while dancing). Respect, collaboration, and working as a team are all important social skills for your child to develop.
Empathy Development

Making music in a group also challenges children to watch the people around them for subtle cues to timing, volume, and expressiveness—the same cues that we use for reading expressions and moods on people’s faces. Being able to perceive and understand people’s feelings is a basis for empathy and moral development. 

Actively making music with your child is a fun and easy way to support your child's socio-emotional learning, helping them to develop self-regulation, self-confidence, leadership skills, social skills, and much more! So, the next time you sing with your child, try some of the activities suggested here. And remember, it doesn’t matter whether you consider yourself “musical.” Your joyful participation and enjoyment is what is most important!









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[i] Kirschner, S. & Tomasello, M. (2010). Joint music-making promotes prosocial behavior in 4-year-old children. Evolution and Human Behavior, 31, 354-364.

[ii] Gerry, D., Unrau, A., & Trainor, L. J. (2012). Active music classes in infancy enhance musical, communicative and social development. Developmental Science, 15(3), 398-407.

About the Author
Lauren Guilmartin
Music Together LLC Director of Early Learning

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Music Education For Creativity, Not A Tool For Test Scores


Many schools these days face a difficult question. How can they improve student test scores while also cutting budgets? In some cases, it's music education that gets the ax and advocates argue that learning music comes with lots of academic upside, including improved grades and attendance. They're mounting a new effort to spread their message that the real virtues of music cannot be tested.

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Haydn and Beethoven

Joseph Haydn was a prominent and prolific Austrian composer of the Classical period. He was instrumental in the development of chamber music such as the piano trio and his contributions to musical form have earned him the epithets "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet".

Beethoven and Haydn: their relationship

The young Beethoven - just over a week past his 20th birthday - first met the renowned Joseph Haydn on 26 December 1790 in Bonn, when Haydn and the impresario Johann Peter Salomon stopped off on their way to London where Haydn was to perform.

Beethoven met Haydn again on Haydn's return journey in July 1792. Beethoven showed him his scores for the Cantatas on the Death of Emperor Joseph II and the Elevation of Emperor Leopold II.

Haydn was sufficiently impressed to tell Beethoven that if he could arrange to come to Vienna, he would gladly take him on as a pupil.

Beethoven took lessons with other teachers - often in secret so as not to offend Haydn!

In August 1795, Beethoven performed his newly composed three Piano Trios opus 1 in the salon of Prince Lichnowsky, with Haydn, who had just returned from London, as guest of honor.



Haydn, 63 years of age, was tired. The trip to London had been exhausting, and he had a grueling commission to fulfill. The three Trios, in performance, comprise more than an hour and a half of music. By the end of the third and final Trio, Haydn was seriously tired.

Beethoven hurried over to his teacher and asked him what he thought. Haydn had the temerity to suggest that the third Trio needed more work on it before it was published.

Beethoven was horrified - and he never forgot Haydn's criticism. (Ironically musicologists today rate the Third as the best of the three!) There was no falling-out between the two, but Beethoven was always quick to criticize his old teacher. He once said, "I never learned anything from Haydn."

Proof that relations were not too strained by the Piano Trio incident came when Beethoven dedicated his next opus, the set of three Piano Sonatas, opus 2, to Haydn.



But Beethoven never acceded to the one request Haydn made of him, which, Haydn knew, would forever tie him to his brilliant and precocious pupil: to put at the top of a single composition ..... by Ludwig van Beethoven, pupil of Haydn.




Anthony Tommasini discusses Haydn and Mozart, two of the four giants who worked in Vienna during a 75-year period.


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Women Firsts in Classical Music: Women's History Month

It used to be considered proper for a young woman in upper society to attain proficiency on a classical instrument, usually the piano, harp, classical guitar, or voice. Women were not trained as professionals, however, because it was considered immodest for a woman to perform in public. But eventually some women broke through convention and asserted themselves in the world of classical music.

One of the earliest women to perform professionally as a pianist was Maria Theresia Paradis (1759-1824).

Her father was a court official in Vienna. She went blind as a small child, although treatment by Dr. Anton Mesmer was improving her vision. The treatment was abandoned when it was decided that she would lose her disability pension if she recovered her sight.

She was performing regularly by age 16 and spent much of the next decade in touring Europe to great success. Her repertoire included 60 concertos, including works she commissioned from Salieri, Mozart and Haydn.



She gradually abandoned performing in favor of composition, writing five operas, three cantatas and numerous piano works. In later years she turned to teaching. She may be largely unknown today, but she certainly worked at a professional level comparable to male pianist-composers except for the few top geniuses, such as Mozart.

Historical speculation was that Mozart may have written his Piano Concerto No. 18 in B flat major for Maria Theresia von Paradis.

Mozart could have sent the concerto to Paris, and it would have been forwarded to von Paradis in London, where it was possible that she performed the work in March 1785.







The first woman to break the bonds of convention and venture to play the violin in public was Mrs. Sarah Ottey.

Ottey played the violin in concerts as early as 1721, in England.’ Mrs. Sarah Ottey, was an accomplished musician, since she performed publicly upon the harpsichord and bass viol as well as upon the violin.




American Clara Baur was the first woman to found a conservatory, the University of Cincinnati – College-Conservatory of Music, in 1867.

Baur opened the first conservatory in Ohio on December 2, 1867 in rented rooms on West Seventh Street. She later moved to a building on the corner of Vine and Eighth Streets - a much bigger location in which Baur was able to offer room and board for out of town students. From here, her conservatory moved to the corner of Fourth and Lawrence, then to Oak Street, and is currently part of the University of Cincinnati and is known as CCM.




In 1936, Nadia Boulanger conducted a concert with the London Philharmonic, the first woman to do so.

In 1939 Nadia Boulanger was asked what it was like to be the first woman to conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the world première of Stravinsky's Dumbarton Oaks. She replied "Well, I have been a woman for 50 years now and have recovered from my initial astonishment."

 A French composer, conductor, and teacher who taught many of the leading composers and musicians of the 20th century as well as leading living composers and musicians.





Among her students were those who became leading composers, soloists, arrangers and conductors, including Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, Quincy Jones, John Eliot Gardiner, Elliott Carter, Dinu Lipatti, Igor Markevitch, Virgil Thomson, David Diamond, İdil Biret, Daniel Barenboim, Philip Glass and Astor Piazzolla. She also performed as a pianist and organist.

As a long-standing friend of the family (and officially as chapel-master to the Prince of Monaco), Nadia Boulanger was asked to organize the music for the wedding of Prince Rainier of Monaco and the American actress, Grace Kelly, in 1956







Marin Alsop made history when she became the first female to conduct a major US symphony orchestra when appointed to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in 2007. Six years later she made history again when she became the first ever woman to conduct the Last Night of the Proms.

Eight Benefits of Music Education


1. Early musical training helps develop brain areas involved in language and reasoning. It is thought that brain development continues for many years after birth. Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways. Linking familiar songs to new information can also help imprint information on young minds.

2. There is also a causal link between music and spatial intelligence (the ability to perceive the world accurately and to form mental pictures of things). This kind of intelligence, by which one can visualize various elements that should go together, is critical to the sort of thinking necessary for everything from solving advanced mathematics problems to being able to pack a book-bag with everything that will be needed for the day.

3. Students of music learn craftsmanship as they study how details are put together painstakingly and what constitutes good, as opposed to mediocre, work. These standards, when applied to a student’s own work, demand a new level of excellence and require students to stretch their inner resources.

4. In music, a mistake is a mistake; the instrument is in tune or not, the notes are well played or not, the entrance is made or not. It is only by much hard work that a successful performance is possible. Through music study, students learn the value of sustained effort to achieve excellence and the concrete rewards of hard work.

5. Music study enhances teamwork skills and discipline. In order for an orchestra to sound good, all players must work together harmoniously towards a single goal, the performance, and must commit to learning music, attending rehearsals, and practicing.

6. Music provides children with a means of self-expression. Now that there is relative security in the basics of existence, the challenge is to make life meaningful and to reach for a higher stage of development. Everyone needs to be in touch at some time in his life with his core, with what he is and what he feels. Self-esteem is a by-product of this self-expression.

7. Music study develops skills that are necessary in the workplace. It focuses on “doing,” as opposed to observing, and teaches students how to perform, literally, anywhere in the world. Employers are looking for multi-dimensional workers with the sort of flexible and supple intellects that music education helps to create as described above. In the music classroom, students can also learn to better communicate and cooperate with one another.

8. Music performance teaches young people to conquer fear and to take risks. A little anxiety is a good thing, and something that will occur often in life. Dealing with it early and often makes it less of a problem later. Risk-taking is essential if a child is to fully develop his or her potential.



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The Composer And His Muse: Isabella Colbrano and Gioachin Rossini


Colbran, born in Madrid, studied under Girolamo Crescenti in Paris. By the age of twenty she had achieved fame throughout Europe for her voice. She moved to Naples, a hub of European music during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Teatro di San Carlo, built during the Bourbon dynasty, had been home to famous singers like the castrato Farinelli and represented a destination venue for talented singers.

Isabella Colbran als Desdemona
Colbran became the prima donna of the Teatro di San Carlo company,where she counted among her admirers the King of Naples as well as an adoring public. In time she became the mistress of the theater's impresario, Domenico Barbaia.

Barbaia engaged Gioachino Rossini, the most famous composer of his time, to pen a series of Neapolitan operas as a vehicle for Colbran’s rich vocal gifts. It didn’t turn out as he planned: Colbran left him for Rossini!

As Elizabeth, Queen of England
This well known fact is a case in point in regard to the lack of primary source material for Barbaja’s biography.  It would be fascinating to know what Barbaja thought of Colbran leaving him for his star composer, but no letter has survived, or was probably ever written.  We know that Barbaja’s business relationship continued after the Rossinis’ marriage, but the relationship grew more contentious.  We also know that the three of them spent many weeks together in Barbaja’s villa on Ischia before Colbran and Rossini became an ‘item’.  But, frustratingly, we have no idea what Barbaja thought about it all.


In 1815, with Isabella at the peak of her popularity, Rossini composed the title role of Elisabetta, Regina d’Inghilterra especially for his muse. In Otello, Ossia il Moro di Venezia she sang Desdemona.


They tied the knot in 1822, and their fruitful musical marriage continued with Armida, Mosè in Egitto, Ricciardo e Zoraide, Ermione, La donna del Iago, Maometto II and Zelmira, all composed by Rossini for his leading lady.

The ninth and final work Rossini wrote for Isabella was "Semiramide" which she premiered at La Fenice, Venice, on February 3, 1823; the couple traveled to London in 1824 but Isabella's voice was already in decline and after her flop as Zelmira she sang little, finally leaving the stage in 1827. The marriage was rocky as Isabella was a compulsive gambler and Rossini had a poor concept of fidelity but the couple did not formally separate until 1836.  Rossini's enduring fame rests on operas not written for Isabella but he was always to cite her as the greatest interpreter of his music.