Grade 1


 The “Taratabong” series of videos from Italy is my favorite video content for grades K-2. These are short (6-8 minutes per episode), colorful, imaginative and filled with good content. They are excellent examples of the three criteria listed above and all are on YouTube in English. The series takes place in the make-believe land of Taratabong and follows instrument characters (the Meloditties) and their adventures.

The landscapes are colorful and surreal yet friendly and the characters are easy for children to understand. Other than a narrator, there is no spoken language. The characters themselves speak in the language of music. This series is an excellent way for very young children to learn the concept of motif as it is used in every episode consistently. Check the entire series out on their YouTube channel. There is a lot of content here and initially I wasted a lot of time trying to remember exactly which episode I wanted when lesson planning. There are 52 episodes in all! I’ve listed them all below to save you the work. If you’d like a pdf copy of the list you can download it here.

Taratabong Series Episode Concepts

Taratabong #1

  1. “The Meloditties” – introducing main characters, timbres for brass, percussion and piano
  2. “Where’s Do?” – introducing xylophone (they match Chroma-Note instruments!), pitch names
  3. “The Bum Note” – piano timbres, tuning
  4. “The Way to School” – slow to fast accelerando, descriptive sound patterns

Taratabong #2

  1. “The Mysterious Tracks” – sound exploration (descriptive)
  2. “Splish Splash” – steady beat, fast/slow/accelerando
  3. “Hide and Go Seek, The Echo” – sound exploration (echo)
  4. “Happy Birthday” – familiar songs, accordion, introduction to/purpose of music notation

Taratabong #3

  1. “Here Not There” – Latin dance (merengue), ensemble (taking turns), ensemble comparisons
  2. “The Sax Brothers” – introducing saxophone quartet
  3. “Shy Fluto” – introducing flute
  4. “A Quiet Winter” – sound/silence, tonal and timbral explorations

Taratabong #4

  1. “Soft and Loud” – soft/loud comparison
  2. “Wind Song” – descriptive sound patterns, sound quality, wind chimes, pan flute
  3. “Carnival Time” – melodic imitation, sound exploration, altering tone color
  4. “Happy and Sad” – introducing violin, melody reflecting emotion

Taratabong #5

  1. “The Yawning Double Bass” – introducing string bass, glissando, high/low
  2. “Off Key Guitar” – introducing guitar, tuning, sound quality, sound exploration
  3. “Follow the Beat” – introducing Latin percussion, improvisation
  4. “Musical Theatre” – performance etiquette; using music to describe emotions

Taratabong #6

  1. “Taking Turns” – question/answer, melody/accompaniment, ostinato
  2. “Robo the Synthesizer” – electronic sound exploration
  3. “The Magic Carousel” – triple meter, introducing barrel organ and tambourine
  4. “Jump Up” – introducing intervals, step vs. skip

Taratabong #7

  1. “Tarrita & Her Cousins” – banjo/guitar timbres (acoustic and electric)
  2. “Ding Dong Bell” – cowbells, jungle bells, bell tree, pitched/non-pitched
  3. “Big Voice, Little Voice” – high/low, timbre comparison
  4. “Music of the Stars” – mandolin, string instrument comparison

Taratabong #8

  1. “Megaphone & Microphone” – exploring sound amplification
  2. “A Bad Day in Taratabong” – music reflecting emotion, introducing the ocarina
  3. “Giant Pipeorg” – review double bass, introducing pipe organ
  4. “Party Time in the Forest” – introducing marimba, melodic development on 12 bar blues

Taratabong #10

  1. “Grandpa Tuba” – introducing tuba
  2. “The Meloditty Big Band” – Big Band style, timbre comparisons
  3. “A Strange Lesson” – steady beat (importance of)
  4. “Drumba, We’ve Got Visitors” – introducing pitched toms, crash cymbals, percussion as section

Taratabong #11

  1. “Moonlight Sonata” – introducing oboe, reinforcing sound/silence
  2. “Sound Patterns” – melodic contour, musical staff, notation
  3. “The Chatterbox Clarinet” – introducing clarinet and bass clarinet, ensemble
  4. “Professor Harpsy” – introducing harpsichord, idea of musical eras

Taratabong #12

  1. “The Amazing Harp” –
  2. “The Horn Friends” – English and French Horn, timbre comparison
  3. “The Pianola” – pianola sound, mechanical action
  4. “Penny Among the Pumpkins” – steady beat, tympani timbre, directional pitch, slide whistle

Taratabong #13

  1. “Paco the Electric Bass” – introducing electric guitar and bass, imitative sounds
  2. “Taperee Remembers” – notated vs. recorded music, comparing melodic elements
  3. “Practice Makes Perfect” – learning new skills, practice basics
  4. “The String Family” – reviewing violin and double bass, introducing viola and cello, string ensemble