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Marvin Makes Music

Last updated Thursday, February 27, 2014

Author: Marvin Hamlisch
Date of Publication: 2012
ISBN: 0803737300
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Mar. 2014

Synopsis: A true story from one of America's most beloved composers Marvin loves to play the piano and compose his own songs. But performing music over and over that's composed by some old guys name Ludwig and Wolfgang just gives him knots in his stomach. When his father tells Marvin he has an audition with the most prestigious music school, how can Marvin overcome his nerves and get swept away by the music? This endearing book is based on the true life story of composer Marvin Hamlisch, who, at the age of six, was the youngest person ever accepted into the Juilliard School.

Note to readers:
•  This book is based on the true life story of Marvin Hamlisch, who became one of the youngest students ever accepted to Julliard. Read the back cover for a biography on the real Marvin Hamlisch.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What kind of music do you think Marvin makes? Have you ever played the piano or a keyboard? Where do you think Marvin is?

•  composing-to write music.
•  conductor- the man or woman who leads the orchestra.
•  orchestra- a group of musicians who all play their instruments together.
•  symphony- an elaborate musical piece.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Have any of you auditioned for something? How did you feel before the audition?
•  Why do you think the judges were upset with him?
•  Did he always like playing the piano? When did he most enjoy it and when did he dislike it?
•  How did Marvin's parents feel about him playing the piano?
•  What kind of songs did Marvin like playing best?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a keyboard out of paper. Label each key of the keyboard with the correct note.
•  Make a cutout of a musical note.
•  Have students draw an orchestra layout showing where different instruments would go.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!