“A Taste of Musical Kaleidoscope” (2016)

  • A lifetime mission
  • Currently in development
  • The world’s greatest music
  • Both popular and classical genres
  • Positive music to heal the world

Musical Kaleidoscope is the lifetime music project of composer and writer Don Robertson. As a child, he began listening to music and collecting records. At age 10, his desire to share the music that he loved prompted him to create his own neighborhood radio station, broadcasting his favorite music to his Denver neighborhood.

The idea for a radio show that featured music drawn from Don’s favorite genres surfaced again in 1980 when he co-produced a radio show called Night Flight, broadcast on KSUN from Sonoma State College in California. From this time forward, he continued collecting important recordings, always with the thought of a future radio show.

Don and his Wife Mary Ellen Bickford solidified the idea for the radio show in 1997, calling it Musical Kaleidoscope, and they created a series of sample radio programs. For the next ten years, they continued collecting recordings, specializing at this time in rare gospel-music records. In 2007, living in Nashville, they rented space in a nearby building, filled it with their recordings, created an office and a studio, and hired employees to help digitize and photograph their now-large music collection.

Don and Mary Ellen created the MusicalKaleidoscope.com website in 2008, while continuing work on the Musical Kaleidoscope project. Their vision gradually increased beyond the radio show, now encompassing video as well as the music-score publications that Don had been working on since 1972.

Throughout 2013, Don and Mary Ellen hosted a regular Musical Kaleidoscope class in their Nashville home with Nashville arrangers, musicians, and composers in attendance. Some of these presentations were videotaped and later became Musical Kaleidoscope classes.

Don and Mary Ellen have continued to prepare content for Musical Kaleidoscope, with over 1,000 show, documentary, score and class videos now fully completed, and thousands of record albums and publications being prepared.

The Musical Kaleidoscope project is currently in development.

Why?

1 - Popular Music Has Become Too Commercialized

Popular music has become over-commercialized, governed by only a few large corporations and dominated by select media outlets and televised award shows. Because of this, most people are exposed to only a limited selection of music, often only the short playlists of a favorite radio station. The wide expanse of recorded popular music from past eras is often not promoted via radio, nor considered fair game for educational venues outside of a few more-progressive institutions.

2 - Classical Music Has Become "Discords du Jour"

The dominant style of discordant classical music that unfolded during the 20th century has driven people away from concert halls, leaving the younger generations ignorant of the great classical orchestral and choral works from the five previous centuries. Furthermore, cash-strapped American concert halls and symphony orchestras have been forced to turn to symphonic presentations of popular music in a desperate attempt to avoid bankruptcy.

3 - Music Has Become "Persona Non Grata" in Our Schools

Once considered of primary importance in education, music has all but disappeared in so many American schools.

Our Solution

Fortunately, we find ourselves at a crossroads as a rare window of opportunity has opened for the first time in history. Because of advancements in technology, we now have the means and content to create the greatest music-education project ever… a project with a scope so wide that it would have been beyond the imagination of anyone just a decade ago. The stage is now being set to introduce to the youth of today an educational and entertainment platform that features the world’s greatest music traditions: popular, folk, classical, and sacred!

The Musical Kaleidoscope Project will offer classes on music topics, great documentaries from the world’s archives (with subtitle options), creatively programmed shows presenting music from all cultures and times, and important books, scores and study scores, both in published form and immeadiately available in an “app” that will be available for phones, pad, TVs, and playstations.

Who Benefits?

Members of the younger generation are already taking advantage of our current, unique crossroads in time and many are turning away from the offerings of the corporate-controlled music industry, looking instead for music that will provide them with greater value.

   –   A 2014 study cited by Trends Journal found that young music students were interested in the roots of popular, country, blues and jazz music, seeking out musicians such as Django Reinhardt, Bessie Smith and King Oliver.

   –   According to Music Business Worldwide, older albums outsell new albums on iTunes worldwide.

   –   Concerts of classical-style symphonic music from the video game world attract sold-out audiences of millennials across America.

   –   Hundreds of youth orchestras have been established worldwide, based on the amazing success of Venezuela’s El Systema programs.

Proof Positive

In 2013, the elaborate prison-like security systems that had been installed at the Orchard Gardens Elementary School in Roxbury, Massachusetts were dismantled and replaced by music and arts programs. This caused the very desperate and dangerous conditions existing in the school to reverse, completely turning around the school and its students. The Orchard Gardens School, located in a poor Boston neighborhood, is now listed on the Boston Public School website as “on track to becoming one of the top-performing schools in the state”.

Musical Kaleidoscope

The Musical Kaleidoscope Project is a completely new concept based on over 50 years of discovery and research. We are ready to begin full implementation of this amazing project and to implement the team that will make it happen.

The keyword of the Musical Kaleidoscope Project is edutainment – a system that is both educational and entertaining. It offers an enhancement to today’s out-dated music-education curricula, providing a teaching platform that treats traditional popular, folk, classical, and world music on an equal basis, and… it will live in today’s world of hand-held devices, as well as in classroom and libraries with our published and re-published editions of valuable books and scores, ready for study by today’s young students. 

2014, updated 2024