Wednesday, January 30, 2013

First Grade in Our Home: Music Study

This is another area where I have diverged from the AO rotation.  I will likely join up with it at some point, but this year, I wanted to do a bit of an overview of orchestral music using some resources I have put aside for the last couple years.  Now, I know next to nothing about classical music and have never played an instrument.  So once again, I'm learning alongside the children. (This is a recurring theme in our homeschool, it seems. LOL)  Starting with an overview of the basics sounded just about right.  One of the things I love about music study is that we can do it amid the chaos that is often our home, with four other little children throwing tantrums playing while we do lessons.  Can't say that about most of our school subjects!  So this is a weekly subject I save for when the littles are awake and can join in.

Term 1 - Introduction to the Orchestra
:: Learning about the Instruments -  We spent a week with Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (love this CD set for this whole term, really!), and then a couple weeks with the wonderful mp3s at Children's Vinyl Records Series.  There are several relevant tracks that are fantastic: "A Child's Introduction to the Instruments of the Orchestra" and "A Child's Introduction to the Orchestra" are two we used in this first term.  Also, some favorite picture books: Story of the Orchestra and Meet the Orchestra.  While listening, my children love putting these cards in order from lowest to highest by instrument family.  They also love to pull the card that plays each character in...
:: Peter and the Wolf - Love this picture book version and this one.  We have the David Bowie narrated version on CD, as I mentioned above.  We listen often and the littles love to act it out--but of course!
:: The Carnival of the Animals - Another fun one to act out, big hit with everyone down to the baby.  Can You Hear It? has some fun pages to look through for a few of the pieces.  We also used some of the activities from Kids Can Listen, Kids Can Move.  I'd love to get this version for our home library--has anyone seen it in person?

Term 2 - Close-up on a Composer
:: Vivaldi - Four Seasons.  We took four weeks, one for each season.  I read the accompanying poem and the suggestions from Can You Hear It?, and then we listened.  I left a children's biography on their free reading shelf too.
:: Handel - Water Music, Fireworks Suite, Zadok the Priest, The Messiah.  Just listening, enjoying, discussing, reading.
:: Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker.  We listen to a narrated version and read lots of picture book versions.  We also did some activities from Kids Can Listen, Kids Can Move and Can You Hear It?.
The last few weeks corresponded nicely with Christmas. ;)

Term 3 - Music and Movement
For this term, I wanted to incorporate more from Kleiner's Kids Can Listen, Kids Can Move, mentioned above.  I made a list of the activities I thought they would most enjoy and we're just moving through them, one per week:
Leroy Anderson - Syncopated Clock, Forgotten Dreams, Sleigh Ride
Octavio Pinto - Run, Run!
Brahms - Hungarian Dance No.5, Hungarian Dance No. 6
Leo Delibes - Pizzicato
Flight of the Bumblebee (we'll work from Can You Hear It? for this one)
Haydn - Symphonies 94 and 101

Making "snow angels," as Kleiner suggests for Anderson's "Forgotten Dreams"
And perhaps the most fun aspect of our music study this year has been, as I mentioned, live performances.  With the ages of my children, heading to the symphony hasn't really been an option, but thankfully, our local library has a chamber music group come a couple times a year for a family-friendly performance.  It's a treat for us all.

So, that's that!  Any suggestions I should check out, resources for learning about orchestral music that you love for the early grades?  I'm all ears. ;)

Next time: art, one of my kids' very very favorite subjects.

No comments:

Post a Comment