Virtual Concert: Heliopsis

· Ellen Schmidt/Honeydew Mellen Photography

Age Range: Elementary

Learning Objective: Students will connect and respond to music with active listening and discussion.

Concert Length: 20-30 minutes (Videos only: 15 minutes)

Free Downloads:

Note to Teachers: Virtual Concerts give students the opportunity to practice being an audience 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 the provided Concert Host Script and included links to guide students through a series of videos recreating a concert. See our Concert Guide for ideas on how to customize the concert to fit your needs, resources, and teaching style.


SAY. “Welcome to our virtual concert featuring a group called Heliopsis (hee-lee-AWP-sis)! Today we’ll meet musicians Mikey and Nyttu (NEE-too). Let’s listen to their first piece of music, Katydid.


SAY. “Mikey plays the cello (CHE-llow) and Nyttu plays the timbila (tim-BEE-la). In the next video, Nyttu will share some facts and information about the timbila.”


SAY. “Nyttu comes from the country of Mozambique on the continent of Africa. Many of the instruments he plays are common in Mozambique. Take a look on the map below to see where Mozambique is located.”

Wikimedia Commons

SAY. “Mikey and Nyttu use a process called improvisation to create many of their compositions. In the next video, they will explain and demonstrate how they collaborate and use improvisation to compose pieces together.”


SAY. “Did you notice the instrument Nyttu was playing in that video? It’s called the mbira (mBEE-rah). Let’s take a closer look at that instrument.”


SAY. “We’ve seen three instruments today: the timbila, the mbira, and… does anyone remember the name of Mikey’s instrument? It’s the cello. Let’s learn a little more about the cello.”


SAY. “Mikey and Nyttu composed Ngoma ya Tumbuluko through improvisation. As you watch, think about how they might have worked together to create this piece.”


SAY. “Thank you for coming to our Class Notes concert featuring Heliopsis! We hoped you enjoyed learning about the cello, timbila, mbira and the process of improvisation! Let’s give a round of applause for Mikey and Nyttu!”

Want to learn more about Heliopsis and their music? Book a concert here, or contact for more information about Heliopsis.

Related Lesson Plans

Logo YourClassical Class Notes

YourClassical is a public media organization and your support makes it possible.

Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment

This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.

©2024 Minnesota Public Radio. All rights reserved.
Facebook icon
YouTube icon
Instagram icon