News & Views

Eighth & Ninth Grade Music Students Perform Ragtime Marimba on Xylophone


Eighth- and ninth-grade New Canaan Country School music students learned a challenging marimba composition called The Mitty Matty Rag, which they performed on soprano, alto, bass and contrabass xylophones, Oct.12. Click HERE to listen to our talented students!
The piece, a reimagining of an old Irish nursery rhyme called Mitty Matty that composer Jeff Henson created in the style of Ragtime music (inspired by the composer George Hamilton Green), was so joyfully engaging, it caused an impromptu dance party amongst second graders outside the Pre-K through Grade 9 school’s classroom windows. 

Through their study of this piece, the students learned about syncopation and its use in Ragtime music, and the form of the piece which included: introduction, A section, B section, improvisation, transition, recap, and coda. Students also learned about ensemble playing (playing together), listening to other parts, and the value of keeping a steady beat.

“This has been a wonderful class with which to work,” said Performing Arts Teacher Ellen Baer who has worked with many of the students since Lower School. “This group has a solid understanding of how musical pieces can come together to create a whole. I was pleased to see them rely upon their foundational skills but then also be able to take risks in their individual solos. They rose to the challenge with curiosity and courage.”

“None of us knew how to play the xylophone before this year,” acknowledged Colin Mackey of New Canaan who volunteered to play the contrabass bars. “Despite that, we learned our parts really well and when we put it all together, I think that it sounded great, I was really pleased with how it turned out.”
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New Canaan Country School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin and are afforded all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, or disability in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, financial aid policies or any other school-administered programs.