Live Wire String Quartet

Supporting Classroom Learning with Music


Pre-K students “raise and lower their wings” as they delight in baby owl’s confusion of his opposites. Musical opposites are demonstrated and children help “sing” the story of an annoying fly that will not go “bye-bye.” The finale is an action-packed musical revamping of the classic “The Tortoise and the Hare.

Kindergarten–MUSIC OF NATURE

Students make animal sound effects on cue to help tell the story of “The Very Quiet Cricket”. An imaginary walk in the woods takes place with students performing appropriate sound effects and movements, including a steady beat, for the weather changes and animals encountered (Vivaldi). Students make a variety of bird sounds and “flap their wings” to music in the “Bird Quartet” by Haydn. As a finale, the story of “The Bremen-town Musicians” offers more opportunity to enjoy music and animal sounds, and also to keep a steady beat in time to the music.


Students use observation skills in focusing on sounds in their environment. Through continuous audience participation, they investigate concepts of loud, soft, fast, and slow, as related to music (Bartok). Students accompany a musical story about a day in the life of a clock (Mozart) with sound effects and movement. Children delight in vocalizing “on cue” as well as “walking with their hands” in keeping a steady beat, all to help tell the story of Chicken Little (excerpts from Copland and Handel).

Second grade–COOPERATION!

With a succession of music from “Happy Birthday” to pieces by Haydn and Stravinsky, students learn about melody, harmony, and how members of a string quartet cooperate to achieve the best results. A musical story about people from a small Alaskan village working together to save the whales offers additional opportunities for student participation. Students reflect on how they can cooperate to improve their learning or living environment.

Third grade–FRACTIONS

Students become more comfortable with simple fractions as they form teams and “clap out” rhythms of the “Pachelbel Canon.” The quartet uses colorful visual props to further a thorough understanding of fractions and approach the subject through several senses. Combining fractions to construct rhythms, students delight in creating their own musical composition. With their improved comprehension of fractions, they participate in a quirky musical story about the fractionalized Adams family.


Using a world map and music, students learn about the joys and sorrows of American immigrants and the priceless cultural gifts they bring to their new country. Students dance a hora, clap to a Scottish jig, and dramatize an African folk tale, accompanying it with rhythm instruments.

Fifth grade–TALL TALES

Students actively participate in mapping an imaginary “tall tale” walking trip of LWSQ across the United States (Copland, Dvorak). They are enthralled by the musical presentation of the story of John Henry (Copland). After discussing current social problems, students perform jazz rhythms (Duke Ellington) and dramatize the story of modern-day, tall-tale hero Wynton Marsalis.

The Live Wire String Quartet furnishes a vocabulary list and classroom extension activities for each program.

Live Wire String Quartet is the educational-outreach ensemble of Baltimore Chamber Orchestra.

Thank you to our sponsors for funding these FREE presentations for thousands of Baltimore City Public School children:

The Reginald F. Lewis Foundation, Inc., Macht Fund of THE ASSOCIATED, The Jim and Patty Rouse Charitable Foundation, Inc., Target, Wright Family Foundation

For information, please email Joan Bob

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