Virtual Concert: Kroehm Duo

Kroehm Duo Thumbnail
Venn Productions

Age Range: Elementary, Middle School

Learning Objective: Students will learn about mallet instruments and listen to original music by the Kroehm Duo.

Note to Teachers: Virtual Concerts give your students the opportunity to practice their audience skills and experience a wide variety of genres performed by professional, Minnesota-based musicians. As the teacher, you’ll play the role of Concert Host narrating between each piece of music. Use your judgment to cater the concert to your students’ needs and attention span. If you need ideas adapting a virtual concert for your situation, please contact Katie Condon, music education specialist. We hope you enjoy this Class Notes Virtual Concert!

1. Meet Jenny and Steve, the two members of the Kroehm Duo. In their introduction, they will explain the name of their group and tell you what instruments they play.

2. Steve explained that their first piece was inspired by watching his daughters play in puddles. Can you brainstorm a list of words that describe the feeling of playing in the rain, or splashing in puddles? Draw a picture, write a poem, or tell someone about this feeling. Then, as you listen to this next piece, see if it goes well with your experience.

3. Jenny is a percussionist who specializes in playing the marimba. Listen to her explain a bit about her instrument.

Jenny mentioned that a percussion instrument is anything you "tap, scrape, or shake" to make a sound. Play a quick game of "Percussion instrument or not a percussion instrument?" by looking at the instruments below and labeling them "percussion" or "not percussion."

Wikimedia Commons

4. Steve is also a percussionist who specializes in another mallet instrument, the vibraphone.

• Name two similarities between the vibraphone and the marimba.
• Name two differences between the vibraphone and the marimba.
• Can you explain the vibraphone's special feature?

5. Listen and watch the Kroehm Duo play another original piece, called Hey Fellas.

6. In that last piece, Hey Fellas, the Kroehm Duo did some improvising. They specialize in the skill of improvisation. Listen to Jenny and Steve explain how they improvise together.

Remember that Steve said one way to improvise is by using a "collection of notes" in any order you want. With that in mind, try improvising a melody! Here are some easy ways to try it at home or in the classroom.

• If you have access to a piano or a keyboard, use only the black keys as your collection of notes. Try playing different combinations of black keys. If it's hard to know where to start, try to have an image in your mind. For example, try making "elephant music" (it might be loud and slow) or "bird music" (high and fast).
• Sing an easy and familiar song, something like "Happy Birthday." Start to change the melody a bit by repeating words, either staying on the same note or changing the note.
• Make your own water xylophone with glasses and water. Use this collection of notes to improvise a melody.

7. Now that you know a little about improvisation, notice how Steve and Jenny take turns improvising in this next piece, There's No Tellin'.

8. Finally, Jenny and Steve will review a few key ideas from their Class Notes Concert.

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