In the Spring, 2003 my son's room mother asked me to help with
his 2nd grade spring musical performance. I told her I didn't know
what I would come up with, but I certainly knew what I wouldn't
do. There wouldn't be silly dances stuck to even sillier songs.
Thus by accident, 7-Minute Productions was born. I started
with the idea that there must be an educational component, there
should be at least some classical music, and there should be several
scenes where small groups of children could be featured for 30-40
seconds rather than one 3-4 minute tune with impossible choreography
performed by piles of children theoretically at the same time.
Thus began what will eventually I hope become something of a business
venture. My first production was titled 2A Travels the Eurorail.
There were 30 children involved. About 5 of them were trains that
went back and forth across the stage between scenes as we "traveled
the Eurorail" from country to country. Before it was over the
class ventured past Italian dancing girls, a couple at a French
café, Hungary boys dancing, and a bullfight in Spain - all
in about 6 minutes. They learned about the Eurorail, and the musical/cultural
styles of 4 different countries. We were a real hit. Some of the
music I took off CDS, but I composed the train music and played
two countries on the piano. I burned the whole thing to a CD and
off we went.
Of course since we were such a hit, then the "job" became
mine whether I wanted it or not. And not only that, I suddenly found
myself faced with the next year's Christmas production - now using
the entire third grade class with 49 students.
Well, not one for small projects, we put on 7-Minute Nutcracker
and thus 7-Minute Productions was born. I took a piano
score of the Tchaikovsky orchestral version of the Nutcracker
Suite and cut it to seven minutes. But the amazing thing was
that we actually managed to show all the important sequences. The
opening scene took all of 1' 40'' and included guests arriving,
Drosselmeyer giving the doll to Clara, Fritz breaking it, Fritz
being chased around and off stage, and Clara being comforted and
put to bed. We had the mouse fight, the Mouse King got whacked and
dragged off stage. The dancers came and went in about 30 seconds
each. The finale doubled up into the Waltz of the Flowers
and by the end all 49 children were on stage swaying back and forth
to the music.
My most recent adventure was called Salute to the Movie Western
since the theme of this year's fair was about movies. They crossed
the prairie, corralled cattle, had a shoot out using music from
Copland's Billy the Kid, and square danced to Hoedown.
I started looking through the internet and saw that music educators
don't have very many materials similar to this available to them.
There seems to be a void in interesting, classically based short
productions available for educational use. So at that point the
wheels started to churn that maybe I had hit on something. I am
hoping to put the Nutcracker up for sale first since I wouldn't
need copyright releases, etc. I plan to make a professional CD and
will package it for sale along with simple choreography and costume
If you have ideas or want some from me feel free to contact