“Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.” Lao Tzu (Course 3 Final Project)


The purpose of this project is to create an infographic that was useful and friendly for my elementary students. The infographic illustrates notable composers, their work – through icons – and when they lived in a historical timeline.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all composers in the history of time. These composers are the “MVCs” (Most Valuable Composers) in my lessons. Every year I sprinkle new ones to keep it interesting. Shout out to our very own local composer Dana Al Fardan for making the cut! I think my students (and parents) will appreciate the addition of a Qatari composer among the primarily western composers on this list.

Limitations of the Project

Upon compiling the list of composers and their compositions for this project, it is obvious that it is primarily a timeline for western music. I have done some research on Arab music, but unfortunately they are not as well documented because of their oral music tradition. I hope to propose an idea to the powers that be – Qatar Music Academy, the Qatar National Library, the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, or someone in the QF arts and culture sector – and encourage them to document children’s songs and/or celebration songs for preservation. I think that it would be a challenging but rewarding project that, as a result, can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Furthermore, there is a lack of female representation on this list. That’s a whole different blog if you ask me. To be continued. . .

Music in time. . .

The infographic shows a musical timeline from the medieval period to 20th century music. The icons (thanks, Noun Project!) serve as a reminder of the compositions. For example, the hand representing Guido de Arezzo symbolizes his development of a system to learn music by ear. Today, we call that solfège (think “Do-re-mi” from The Sound of Music).  Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Holst’s The Planets, or even John Williams’ Jurassic Park will not be forgotten thanks to the icons. The font choice for the composer names was chosen for readability – especially for kids! The description for each time period is a bit wordy, but that’s saved for the older kids and adults who might stop by and read our display.

What do you think? Hope you have a great week!


“Remember the times…”

Image via Pexels

It was a typical music lesson. The students and I were discussing our composer of the month. We routinely examined who they were, where they were from and what piece of music they composed. And one day my student asked whether or not the composer was still alive. Good question. Based on the photo, some were able to make inferences; but most of the students were not. To their defense, the photo had a nice filter so he could have been alive. Even though I explained that Piazolla was born in 1921, they couldn’t really fathom the concept of time.

To further support my point, I had a student approach me and said, “Miss, did you know that my dad was born in one thousand and something AND HE’S STILL ALIVE?!” I gave her a bit of a sideways glance and thought to myself, “Umm, I, too, was born in one thousand and something, and I’m still alive!” See? No concept of time.

These were invented in the year one thousand and something…

And so I went online to find a resource, SOMETHING, to display prominent composers and where they were located in a music history timeline. Hours, days and weeks had gone by and I still couldn’t find one that suited my purpose. So what am I to do when I’m stuck in a rut? Listen to music. 

I frequently attend concerts or small ensemble performances by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO). Live music is hard to come by in the desert, so I have to take what I can get. And lo and behold, the program notes had EXACTLY what I was looking for. Not only did they present a timeline of composers, but they listed the top 25 composers by the number of performances, in addition to, the top 25 pieces by frequency of performances by major american orchestras. They even had a section that showed where the QPO musicians were from by displaying a world map and little coloured dots around the world. And the best part of this new found gem? Everything was translated in Arabic.

Left side of the massive two page program notes. I couldn’t get it all in one frame. In addition, the high resolution photo that I created was too big to upload. Any ideas on how to fix that?

I was thinking that this infographic could be serve as a foundation of a history of music timeline to be displayed on a bulletin board outside of my classroom. I would use the top portion that indicate the years and the composer names, and underneath, I would add their compositions and perhaps how we used their work for our classroom use. Tchaikovsky’s Trepak from the Nutcracker could include a photo of my KG student’s listening log, or Vivaldi’s Spring can include a photo of my Grade 1s and their movement with scarves and ribbons. What’s more, this new display would be accessible for both English and Arabic speakers. During SLCs – student led conferences – the students can show and explain to their parents who they are listening to and the activities associated with each composer. 

Up close and personal

Thank you, infographic gods, for your help!

Happy March!