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Ars Lyrica Makes Magic With

New Book For Children

By: Kathy Staten for Ars Lyrica houston

Grammy nominated Ars Lyrica Houston is taking its expertise in historical music performance and transforming it into imaginative offerings for children. This year, the ensemble debuts a new catalogue of musical experiences that will help develop literacy and social emotional awareness. 

The Baroque period is uniquely suited to the exploration of emotion. Composers purposefully used techniques to elicit specific feelings from their listeners, and most movements of larger pieces address only one at a time (unlike the sprawling and transformative works of Romantic composers). Capitalizing on this feature, the ensemble created a set of programs with accompanying curriculum to help children explore emotions. Musical Detectives uses music and movement presented interactively to show the link between physical and emotional expression. Students learn about self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship skills with interactive exercises that incorporate music from the Baroque to illustrate concepts. A variety of cross-curricular activities are offered as well as leveled reading and other worksheets.

Part of the ensemble’s mission is to cultivate community through music. Recognizing that the Houston community has a large Spanish-speaking population, it will now offer the bilingual Orígenes program that introduces students to Spanish and Latin American cultures with vocal and instrumental music. The music highlights rarely heard gems, another facet of the organization’s mission. Orígenes is supported by a wealth of curriculum resources across many subjects. Ars Lyrica’s outreach manager, Emma Wine, authored Maria’s Magical Music Adventure, an enchanting story of time travel accompanied by fantastical illustrations. With support from Connie Kwan-Wong and CKW LUXE Magazine, which underwrote the project, this colorful narrative illuminates the thrill of history coming alive on the stage of a concert hall for a young listener. Readings of the book will be accompanied by Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and a new composition by Wine, who is a graduate of the composition department of Rice University. 

Reaching thousands of students annually through virtual and in-person performances, Ars Lyrica renews its commitment to bringing music into the lives of children. For more information on how you can receive this programming in your home or school, please contact Emma Wine at or call 713-622-7443.

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