Classical Music – A New Way to Teach It
- Tuesday, February 27, 2007
One of the best strategies is to use games. Each classical music theme has two CD tracks, the first with music only and the second with music and lyrics. This format works well for "Name That Tune." Children feel good when they can identify a classical music theme and name the composer.
Add a karaoke element to the fun. If a child names the tune, let him sing a solo with the music. A microphone, real or pretend, will often change shy children into entertainers.
Children love to show adults how much they know. A mother told me that during a TV commercial her kindergarten child's eyes lit up as she exclaimed, "Mom, listen! That's Beethoven's Fifth." She was right.
Another mother told me that when her children watch Looney Tunes, they are continually recognizing classical music themes. She's heard, "Mom, that's Schubert's Unfinished symphony," or "That's Strauss's Blue Danube waltz."
Children will recognize classical music in malls, commercials, cartoons, cell phones, and especially in Looney Tunes. You'll be amazed when they tell you that they are hearing Mozart or Haydn or Wagner.
Beyond the Basics
Once children have learned the basic themes and are excited about classical music, it is easy to incorporate it into your curriculum.
• Read the lyrics while singing to develop the rhythm of the language and promote fluency.
• Use the lyrics to find beginning sounds and rhyming words.
• Use the lyrics to build vocabulary.
• Motivate children to read great literature and mythology, ballet and opera stories, biographies, and folktales.
History, Geography, and Cultures
• Piano (a quiet kitty) and Forte (a rather noisy little dog) appear in illustrations throughout the books. They introduce each musical period dressed in clothing of that period. The music periods can become a historical filing system for other subjects.
• Use maps to find the homelands of the composers and the setting for myths and folktales.
• Through the lyrics and lives of the composers, children learn about other cultures and countries in the world.
The Arts: Drama, Dance
• Many lyrics lend themselves to actions or mini-dramas. Encourage children to use their imaginations.
• Stories such as that of Peer Gynt in the Hall of the Mountain King are made for drama.
• Children can draw or paint as they listen to the recorded music.
• Use marionettes, nutcrackers, scarves, rhythm instruments, and flags.
• Interact with the music--dance, march, sway, or make up actions.
Once you have children excited about classical music, you can teach music concepts and analyze and describe the music. This is an option for those who want their children to be more informed about music. The books define musical terms, and the teacher's guides give aid on how to teach many concepts.
The Classical Magic program includes many types of classical music--symphonies, sonatas, concertos, operas, ballets, and serenades, to name a few. It includes many stories that children can read. The books are organized by musical period, but I suggest that you select the easiest themes first. A recommended order of teaching is included in the Teacher's Guide for Volume 1 and on our website.
You may feel that you can't add anything more to your curriculum. Let classical music help you save time and have more fun. Play themes at the start of the day to improve moods. Use it as a reward after a hard session of work. Very few themes are more than one minute long. They will take very little time from a busy schedule. Sing along in the car. It makes the time fly and improves attitudes.
No previous music experience is needed to use the program. It works especially well for homeschoolers since you can play the music every day, not just on "music day."
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