Elementary Music | Composer of the Month Resources

A new school year means a fresh start– a chance to try new strategies, routines and materials. This year, consider featuring a composer of the month in your music classroom.  It’s an easy way to introduce your students to great composers even if you don’t have time to spend whole units getting to know them. With a little wall space for visuals and a little class time, your students will have the opportunity to meet a composer, learning basic facts about their lives and contributions.

For each of the composers below, you’ll find a bulletin board pack– a printable pdf file with a large image of the composer, fun facts about the composer, and a list of each composer’s “Greatest Hits.” The posters are designed to be clear and basic so that after a month of seeing these posters on the wall, your students will recall the key facts. You’ll also find a kid-friendly, one-page biography. To follow up any biography, you can use Meet the Composer Job Application Worksheet to review the experiences and skills that shaped that composer. Additional worksheets, lesson plans and other resources are also provided for each composer to extend your study beyond the biography.

Composer of the Month: Beethoven

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Get Beethoven | Composer of the Month Bulletin Board Pack
Get Beethoven free printable biography

More Beethoven Resources:
Beethoven Word Search
Beethoven Multiplication-Connect-the-Dot
Beethoven Coloring Page
Homeschool Music Lesson Plans

Composer of the Month: John Williams

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Get John Williams | Composer of the Month Bulletin Board Pack
Get Williams free printable biography

More John Williams Resources:
John Williams | Film Score Music Listening Glyphs
Star Wars (John Williams) | Music Listening Glyph
Jurassic Park (John Williams) | Music Listening Glyph
Indiana Jones (John Williams) | Music Listening Glyph
John Williams | Word Search Worksheet
Meet the Composer Job Application Worksheet
Homeschool Music Lesson Plans

Composer of the Month: Franz Joseph Hayden

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Get Haydn | Composer of the Month Bulletin Board Posters
Get Hayden free printable biography

More Hayden Resources:
Surprise Symphony | Listening Map and Lesson
Franz Joseph Haydn | Word Search Worksheet
Franz Joseph Haydn | Coloring Page
Meet the Composer Job Application | Worksheet
Surprise Symphony | Listening/Activity Lesson | Grade 2-4
Homeschool Music Lesson Plans | Franz Joseph Haydn

Composer of the Month: George Frederic Handel

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Get Handel | Composer of the Month Lesson and Bulletin Board Pack
Get Handel free printable biography

More Handel Resources:
Hallelujah Chorus | Soprano Recorder Play-Along (Music/Mp3)
Hallelujah Chorus (Handel) | Listening Map
Hallelujah Chorus (Handel) | Listening Map/Composer Pack (Bundle)
George Frideric Handel Word Search
Free Homeschool Lesson Plans

Composer of the Month: Sergei Prokoviev

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Get Prokofiev | Composer of the Month Bulletin Board Pack
Get Prokofiev free printable biography

More Prokofiev Resources:
Peter and the Wolf (Prokofiev) | Music Lesson Pack
Peter and the Wolf (Prokofiev) | Comic Strip Worksheet and Lesson Plan
Peter and the Wolf | Music Listening Lesson
Peter and the Wolf (Prokofiev) Listening Glyph
Sergei Prokofiev | Word Search
Meet the Composer Job Application Worksheet
Peter and the Wolf FunLib™ (Prokofiev) | Story and Worksheet
Peter and the Wolf (Prokofiev) | Music Lesson Pack
Peter and the Wolf (Prokofiev) | Bulletin Board Pack

With these materials, introducing your elementary music class to a new composer each month will be fun and easy. Among all the exciting things they’ll learn in your class this year, they’ll meet some some of the world’s greatest composers.

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Patriotic Songs for Piano | Easy Piano Sheet Music

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In the United States, Independence Day is just a few days away. Fourth of July celebrations bring fireworks, picnics, parades, and patriotism, and nothing expresses that sentiment better than traditional American patriotic songs. Whether these songs tell a story from American history or simply pay tribute to the nation, they all inspire pride and patriotism fitting for the 4th of July.

Below are links to patriotic piano sheet music for kids, ranging from level 1 to level 4, all in the easy to early intermediate range. By learning these classic American songs, kids are able to join in the celebration of their country and maybe even learn something new about its history.

Yankee Doodle isn’t the most solemn of patriotic songs. In fact, the song likely originated as an attempt to mock the colonists. The most common lyrics, which tell of Yankee Doodle riding his pony to town, depicted the colonists as simple country folk, poorly attempting to appear dignified or cultured. (“Macaroni” in these lyrics refers to a fashionable style of Italian dress.) However, in true American style, the young nation adopted with pride the song meant to poke fun at them.

Get Yankee Doodle Level 1 Piano Solo

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Just the first three notes of The Star Spangled Banner are likely to get any American on their feet. The United States’s National Anthem is a pairing of Francis Scott Key poem and, ironically, a British tune. Key penned the lyrics in 1814 as he witnessed an assault on the American Fort McHenry. His poem circulated in newspapers and was paired with the already popular melody “To Anacreon in Heaven.” It wasn’t until over 100 years later that “The Star Spangled Banner” was officially named the National Anthem of the United States.

Get Star Spangled Banner for Level 2 Piano Solo

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America the Beautiful doesn’t tell a story– instead, it describes the many beauties of the Unities States. Once again, this song originated as a poem which was soon paired with a tune. The poem was written by Katherine Bates, who was inspired by the scenery on a trip to Colorado, and the tune was composed by church organist Samuel Ward. When combined, the new song became a stirring tribute to the natural beauty of the country.

Get  America the Beautiful for Level 3 Piano Solo by Samuel A. Ward

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The Battle Hymn of the Republic arose out of a time of strife in America. The Civil War had divided the country, and in 1861, soldiers were marching off to battle to fight their own countrymen. One of the songs that developed in the Union camp was “John Brown’s Body,” a rather morbid song sung to the tune  of a folk hymn. When Julia Howe heard the soldiers singing, she was inspired to write new lyrics. When her lyrics were published, a new American tradition was born.

Get  Battle Hymn of the Republic for Level 3 Piano Solo

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Another well-known song to come out of the Civil War is When Johnny Comes Marching Home. While the tune was first heard as a Civil War drinking song, it got new dignity when Patrick Gilmore penned new lyrics. It expresses hope for the end of the war when the soldiers would arrive home to celebration.

Get When Johnny Comes Marching Home for Level 4 Piano Solo

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The country that inspired all of these songs continues to inspire new compositions as well. One of these is a simple song written for beginning piano students. We Love You America by Andrew Fling expresses patriotic sentiments to a easy-to-play melody.

We Love You America for Level 1 Piano Solo

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Have a Happy Independence Day as you celebrate with music and more!

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8 Music Lessons for the Music Classroom | Free Lesson Plans

If you want to incorporate active, hands-on lessons into your music classroom, take a look at these 8 free lesson plans for elementary music. Each plan will have your students out of their seats and interacting meaningfully with music– no pencils or paper required.

Melody Map | An Introduction to Melodic Contour/Grade 2-4

This simple but effective high and low lesson plan can be completed with the song of your choice. Students first use hand movement to reflect the high and low notes they hear. Then, they progress to using yarn to map the highs and lows on the classroom floor. The movement and manipulation of the yarn will help solidify student’s understanding that the sounds of music can be represented visually.

Hungarian Dance No.5 | AABBCDAB Codetta/Grade 2-6

Musical form takes on a baseball theme in this active lesson plan. Each section of the piece becomes associated with its own baseball game-related action, leading to lots of movement and a memorable introduction (or review) to musical form.

Meter, Meter, 3-4-5 | Meter Activity/Grade 2-4

Round up some playground balls and rhythm sticks for this time signature/ meter lesson. This rhythmic lesson is perfect for either introducing or reinforcing the concept of meter and the “patterns” of common time signatures.

Entry Kentry | A Passing Game/Grade 2-6

Students can have fun while practicing steady beat with this hot-potato style game. Passing must happen on the beat, and eliminated students help keep the beat with rhythm instruments.

Mortimer | An Introduction to Solfege/Grade 2-3

Introduce solfege with this book-based lesson. The stairs in the story provide a perfect opportunity to learn and repeat the scale pattern, while glockenspiels and other non-pitched instruments make students participants in the musical story.

Music Symbol Swat | Music Symbol Swat Game/ Grade 3-5

With just a white board and fly swatters, you’ve got a great review game that can be applied to many musical concepts. Potential answers, such as musical symbols, are displayed visually, and when a definition or question is given, competitors race to swat the correct answer.

Viennese Musical Clock (Kodaly) | Rondo/Grade 2-3

This multi-faceted movement lesson takes a little prep and a bit of patience, but it results in an unforgettable illustrating rondo form. The lesson begins with a helpful hamburger illustration to introduce the form. Then, a complex movement activity lets students act out the form as a live Viennese clock.

Zin, Zin, Zin A Violin | Musical Instrument Identification Game/Grade 2-6

The book, Zin, Zin, Zin A Violin, is used with visual support to introduce 10 orchestral instruments. Then, a racing instrumental identification game is used to review them.

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Printable Piano Books for Kids

Learning to play the piano used to require a trip to the nearest music store– sometimes not so nearby– and a considerable investment in piano method books. Now, music books for beginning piano and beyond are available to print instantly, and often much more affordably, than traditionally published piano books. Printable piano books offer the convenience of printable sheet music with the cohesion and progression of a lesson book. Wherever your students’ piano skill level or interests lie, there’s a printable piano book that will capture their interest and advance their skills.

Piano Books for Beginners

MMF! All-In-One Piano Primer Book for the Young Beginner (33 Page PDF/ Digital Download)

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This book is the perfect starting point for young students with no previous experience. Starting with the most basic note names and rhythms, this guide carefully builds from just one right hand note. Rhythms and dynamics remain limited so that students can build confidence as they walk through a progression of songs carefully crafted to build skills and confidence. Engaging worksheets are also interspersed with the songs to help students solidify the concepts they need to know. The short pieces and variety will keep kids eager to turn the page, and before they know it, they’ll be receiving the certificate of completion that comes at the end of the book!

MMF! All-In-One Beginner Piano Book | Level 1A  (31 Page PDF/ Digital Download)

mmf-piano-book.jpgThis piano book is also designed for beginners, but moves a bit more quickly than the previous book. This would be a great choice for slightly older beginners. Students who completed the primer could review and expand their knowledge of piano basics with this book as well. Partner pieces give students the opportunity to focus on one skill at a time, allowing them to see the same concept applied in two different contexts. Songs and worksheets are short, varied, and strategically paired and sequenced so that students experience maximum success and mastery.

 

Meet the Composer Series

As young pianists progress, they may be ready to meet classic composers sooner than you’d expect. With well-crafted arrangements, some of the greatest classical pieces can be accessible at an easy/ intermediate level. But instead of spending hours searching for the right arrangements to cobble together a collection of classics, try these ready-made printable books. Each book in the series includes a kid-friendly biography of the composer along with several of their most famous works. The arrangements are approachable for kids but retain the well-known melodies and harmonies that make these pieces so timeless and memorable.

Beethoven | Meet the Composer Series Piano Book, Vol. 1 (17 Page PDF/ Digital Download)
Highlights: Ode to Joy, Beethoven’s Fifth, and Moonlight Sonata.

Mozart | Meet the Composer Series Piano Book, Vol. 2 (22 Page PDF/ Digital Download)
Highlights: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (Theme from Ah, vous dirai-je Maman), Marriage of Figaro, and Turkish March.

Tchaikovsky | Meet the Composer Series Piano Book, Vol. 3 (23 Page PDF/ Digital Download)
Highlights:  March of the Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Romeo and Juliet Love Theme.

Bach | Meet the Composer Series Piano Book, Vol. 4  (24 Page PDF/ Digital Download)
Highlights: Minuet in G, Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring, and Toccata in D Minor.

Special Interests

Composing and accompanying aren’t usually the first skills you’d think of teaching kids. If presented appropriately, though, they can be very approachable and enjoyable for young musicians! These books are perfect for students who might need some variety in their lessons, who like new challenges, and who show creativity or interest in improvisation. These skills can also open doors to new types of music, such as current popular music, classic rock, or worship music.

Composing with Kids | Five “Recipes” for Success

composing-with-kids-book.jpgFor some, composing comes naturally, but there are patterns and skills that can be learned. This printable book walks aspiring composers through five “recipes,” or basic sounds, explaining what musical patterns create that particular effect. Then, students are invited to use their newly acquired knowledge to generate original pieces. Composing with Kids could make a great summer activity for the right student. They may be inspired to fill the blank staff pages with their own musical masterpieces!

The Piano Chords Fun Book™ | A Beginner’s Guide to Accompanying

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The world of lead sheets, chords, and accompanying might seem overwhelming, but this book makes it easy to approach. It starts with the basics of chord naming, including a very helpful chart. Then, several basic rhythmic patterns, such as “boom-chick” are demonstrated. If kids can identify the notes in the chord and follow the pattern, they are well on their way to accompanying using lead sheets. Full of examples and practice exercises, this approach provides a balance of guidance and freedom that will both encourage more hesitant improvisers and inspire the more free-spirited.

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Noah’s Ark | Bible Songs, Piano Sheet Music, and Coloring Page

Noah’s ark is a favorite Bible story for kids. It’s not surprising, then, that the story became a favorite Bible song as well. Generations of kids have sung “Who Built the Ark” at Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and beyond. Its simple question and answer chorus and narrative verses make the song memorable, but there’s a chance you may not remember all six verses. If you want to enjoy the song with a new generation of kids, here are a few lyrics to get you started:

Who built the Ark?
Noah, Noah,
Who built the ark?
Brother Noah built the ark.

Old man Noah build the Ark,
He build it out of hickory bark.
He build it long, both wide and tall.
With plenty of room for the large and small.

Who built the Ark?
Noah, Noah,
Who built the ark?
Brother Noah built the ark.

In came the animals two by two,
Hippopotamus and kangaroo.
In came the animals three by three,
Two big cats and a bumble bee.

Get the rest of the lyrics for “Who Built the Ark?”

Kids who have loved singing the song will also love playing it on the piano. This easy/ level 2 free piano solo is approachable by even young piano students.

Get “Who Built the Ark?” for Easy/ Level 2 Piano Solo

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(2 Page PDF/ Digital Download)

“Who Built the Ark” isn’t the only Bible song based on Noah’s story. “Good Old Noah” also tells the story of animals on the ark. Sung to the tune of “Old MacDonald,” the song also brings in some of the animal-noise fun of Old MacDonald’s farm.

Good old Noah built an ark,
Like God told him to!
And on that ark he took two lions
Like God told him to!
With a roar, roar here and a roar, roar there.
Here a roar! There a roar! Everywhere a roar! roar!
Good old Noah built an ark
Like God told him to!

Good old Noah built an ark,
Like God told him to!
And on that ark he took two ducks
Like God told him to!
With a quack, quack here and a quack, quack there.
Here a quack! There a quack! Everywhere a quack! quack!
Good old Noah built an ark
Like God told him to!

Get the complete lyrics for “Good Old Noah”

Just as songs reinforce the story of Noah and his ark, so does a visual art activity like a coloring page.

Get free Noah’s Ark Coloring Page

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If you’re looking for the lyrics to more favorite Bible songs, visit MakingMusicFun.net’s Bible Song Library.

If you’d like more free printable Bible coloring sheets, check out MakingArtFun.com’s Bible Coloring Page Index.

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Ultimate Music Education Worksheets and Games List

Whether you’re looking for fun classroom activities or resources for students to work on independently, this post has something for you. We’ve rounded up music education products from around the web to help you find the best options for your music students.

This roundup was created with the end of the school year and summer break in mind, but you’ll find many of these resources useful all year round.

Music Education Games
carnegie-hall-park-music-theory-game.jpgCarnegie Hall Park™ | Basic Skills Music Theory Board Game: Battle for a parking space while reviewing musical symbols and terms. Correct answers earn points, while wrong answers earn parking tickets. Blank question cards can be customized as well.

Pirate Quest™ | Basic Music Terms Game: Move through a pirate adventure by identifying musical terms while avoiding walking the plank

The Rhythm Store™ Game | Rhythm: Beats become currency as students make purchases and count out correct change. Knowing note values is a must in this retail-based game.

Classic memory matching games test kids’ note name knowledge while note-name-memory-game-tc.jpg challenging their memory:

Memory Game | Treble Clef Note Names
Memory Game | Bass Clef Note Names
Memory Game | Treble and Bass Clef Note Names
Memory Game | Viola Clef Note Names

Online/ Interactive Games

The Piano Player Online Music Reading/ Note-Playing Challenge: With multiple difficulty levels, students can practice correlating notes on the staff to notes on a keyboard. A note is displayed, and students must identify it on an on-screen keyboard.

Musical Families Online Game: This Little Einsteins game through Disney Junior challenges kids to find the missing instruments in time for a concert.

Music Match Online Instrument Matching Game: This is a screen-based memory game where students search for pairs of instruments.

Music Match Online Composer Matching Game: In this online match game, students search for pairs of composers.

Classics for Kids Games: Composition, Rhythm Matching, and Note Name Online Games: The composing game allows kids to drag notes onto a staff and hear their compositions. The rhythm game has kids tap a rhythm on the space bar and gives immediate feedback. Finally, the note name game has students spell out words by correctly identifying note names.

Shiver Me Timbres Interactive Screen-Based Instrument Family Game: Kids can play this visual, interactive game on PowerPoint, Keynote, or PDF. When presented with an image, the player chooses a category and receives immediate feedback on their choice.

Music Flash Cards
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Flash cards are a great way to practice and solidify musical knowledge that needs to be rock solid. Note names and musical terms should become second nature to music students, and flash cards can help. Whether used in traditional drills or as part of flashcard races like Around the World, flash cards can provide the repetition necessary to commit music basics to memory.

 

Treble Clef Flashcards
Bass Clef Flashcards
Viola Clef Flashcards
Flash Frog™ Flash Cards | Music Symbols and Terms
Musicard Triads Online Chord Flash Cards
Musicards Key Signatures Online Flash Cards

Note Name Practice Worksheets

color-that-note-treble-clef-g-position.jpgThese sheets adds some color to note identification practice. Students choose a color to associate with each of the five notes in the position and then use the same color each time the note appears.

Color That Note! Worksheet Treble Clef/C Position
Color That Note! Worksheet Bass Clef/C Position
Color That Note! Worksheet Treble Clef/G Position
Color That Note! Worksheet Bass Clef/G Position
Color That Note! Worksheet Bass Clef/Middle C Position

I Thought That I Was Crazy Note Name Worksheet Treble Clef: Complete a poem using note names to fill in missing words.

lets-crossword-treble-clef (1).jpgCrossword Note Names Worksheets: Note names spell out the words in these crossword challenges.

Let’s Crossword! Note Name Worksheet Treble Clef
Let’s Crossword! Note Name Worksheet Bass Clef

Code Breaker worksheets ask kids to decode messages by identifying note names. On code maker worksheets, students create their own codes by representing letters with their corresponding notes on the staff.codebreaker-treble-clef.jpg

CodeBreaker! Note Name Worksheet Treble Clef
CodeBreaker! Note Name Worksheet Bass Clef
CodeMaker! Note Name Worksheet Treble Clef
CodeMaker! Note Name Worksheet Bass Clef

M&M Challenge Note Name Worksheet Treble and Bass Clef: M & M candy pieces are both part of the worksheet and the reward. Staff paper is the perfect size for chocolate candies to be place on the staff to represent a requested note. Then, if the note is in the correct place, the music note becomes a sweet treat.

Name That Tune worksheets practice both note naming and listening. After notes have been named, a keyboard or xylophone can be used to try to name the tune.

Name That Tune! | Note Name Worksheet Treble Clef
Name That Tune! | Note Name Worksheet Bass Clef
Name That Tune! | Note Name Worksheet Viola Clef

Interval  and Rhythm Practice Worksheets
Along with note names and musical terms, rhythms and intervals are two more skills that need to be rock solid.

intervals_two3rds.jpgThese free interval worksheets devote one worksheet to each interval type, introducing the interval and asking students to write in the second note to complete the interval.

Intervals! | Worksheet One (2nds)
Intervals! | Worksheet Two (3rds)
Intervals! | Worksheet Three (4ths)
Intervals! | Worksheet Four (5ths)
Ready, Set, Go! | Worksheet Five (Unison-Octave)

it-all-adds-up-worksheet-one.jpgIt All Adds Up! are free rhythm worksheets reminiscent of math speed drills. Presenting different note combinations as math equations prompts students to review note values again and again. The worksheets make a fun speed challenge for students who are getting to know the rhythmic values well.

It All Adds Up! | Worksheet One (Whole/Half/Quarter)
It All Adds Up! | Worksheet Two (Half/Quarter/Eighth)
It All Adds Up! | Worksheet Three (Whole/Dotted Half/Half)
It All Adds Up! | Worksheet Four (Dotted Qtr/Quarter/Eighth)
It All Adds Up! | Worksheet Five (Quarter/Eighth/Sixteenth)

Summer Worksheets
original-1203244-1 (1).jpgAt this time of year, teachers and students alike have summer on the mind. These worksheets can be used in anticipation of summer or provided for summer activities that students can do on their own.
Summer Music Worksheets MegaPack
Music Fun in the Summer Sun Music Activities Ideas for Summer
Summer Color by Note

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Pomp and Circumstance | Free Piano Sheet Music

At this time of year, there’s one song you’ll be hearing from kindergartens to high schools to college campuses: Sir Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance. Preschoolers in paper hats and doctoral candidates alike will be entering their respective ceremonies to the march that has become ubiquitous at U.S. graduations.

Do you need simple Pomp and Circumstance sheet music to accompany a ceremony of your own? Do you have piano students who heard the regal march and now want to perform it themselves? This free Pomp and Circumstance sheet music for level 4 piano solo captures the dignity and formality of the familiar orchestral piece in an arrangement kids can proudly play.

Get Pomp and Circumstance for Piano by Edward Elgar

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2 Page Printable Digital Download

Pomp and Circumstance wasn’t intended to be a graduation march. In fact, in its native England, the piece wouldn’t be associated with graduation. It would much more likely be identified as the patriotic “Land of Hope and Glory,” and sung with lyrics that were set to it before it ever reached American shores.

When Sir Edward Elgar was awarded an honorary doctorate at Yale in the early 1900s, however, the piece took on a new life in a new land. In Elgar’s honor, his Pomp and Circumstance was played as part of the recessional music. Yale continued to use a portion of his piece as a march in their graduations, and other colleges and universities soon followed suit. Now, even those who may not be able to name the tune would instantly recognize it as “that graduation song.”

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