More Classical Music My Kids Love
One of the subjects I’d like to be a part of our children’s education is music appreciation. Ian’s already learning to play piano and enjoy making music through a Yamaha course, but I also want to help them all become familiar with some of the beautiful music that has been enjoyed for centuries through a little composer study à la Charlotte Mason. Our children are still so young, but my plan for the next few years until we are “officially” homeschooling is to gradually add in the subjects that I want to be a part of our curriculum. Otherwise it would be pretty overwhelming when Ian turns six if I suddenly try to jump into everything at once. So since I have a fairly extensive background in music (not to mention an absurdly large collection of classical music CDs), I’ve decided now is a good time to start being a little more intentional in this area. (I tend to think in terms of the schoolyear starting in August, even though I intend to homeschool year round, taking breaks as we need them rather than a big summer holiday)
Last year I shared about some of the music we started listening to when they were quite little in the post “Music My Preschoolers Love.” They still enjoy all those pieces, but now they’re also ready for a few more mature findings. Yes, they’re SO mature now that the oldest is 4 1/2. Seriously though, having been exposed to it early has made them more open to hearing things not necessarily meant for children so young. I especially like finding CDs or other audio files that explain a bit about the music and give the kids something specific to be listening for. For example, after hearing the composer tell about using tubas to portray the big boats in Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel, Elijah started asking, “Mommy, is that the big tubas?” every time they played.
That CD is the first one we bought from the Maestro Classics series. It was such a hit, both with the boys and with me, that I also decided to get Peter and the Wolf, even though we already have another recording of this piece. I just really like all the extras that come on their albums–(plus the Peter and the Wolf (MP3) was just $5 thanks to a coupon from HomeschoolShare–they’re also sponsoring a giveaway until the end of July so check it out!) And we just got The Soldier’s Tale to include in the last week of our July composer study on Stravinsky (post coming soon). I’ve put the rest on the kids’ wishlists for gift ideas and I hope we can eventually collect the whole set. Here are all the titles available:
- Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel
- Peter and the Wolf
- The Soldier’s Tale
- The Tale of Swan Lake
- My Name is Handel
- The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
- Casey at the Bat
- The Tortoise and the Hare (which I’m definitely getting when we study fables!)
- Juanita the Spanish Lobster (available in English or Spanish)
- Carnival of the Animals is set to be released September 1
The Maestro Classics website also has homeschool curriculum guides with lots of great suggestions for integrating different subjects with the music from each CD.
Another great resource for exposing your children to the works of the great composers is the Classical Kids series. A fellow homeschooler shared these with us, and while I haven’t yet listened to all of them yet, they get great reviews. They tell a story about the composers’ lives, using various pieces of their music throughout the CD. What a great way to help your kids become familiar with the unique musical “voice” of different composers! Over the next school year I’ll be using these as the framework for our composer study, choosing one CD a month and supplementing with podcasts from Classics for Kids (lots of great resources there!), music from my own collection and kid-friendly biographies from the library.
- Beethoven Lives Upstairs(DVD also available)
- Mozart’s Magic Fantasy
- Mr. Bach Comes to Call (DVD also available)
- Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery
- Tchaikovsky Discovers America
- Hallelujah Handel
- Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage
- Song of the Unicorn (Medieval music)
There are two additional Classical Kids CDs that are thematic rather than being about a particular composer.
And just in case you needed any more ideas, I’ve recently added to our music library a couple other albums combining classical music (or classical style) with engaging stories. We’ll be listening to Ferdinand the Bull and Friends when we “row” The Story of Ferdinand. And although our listening schedule looks pretty packed this year, I’m really looking forward to queezing in some time for the award-winning Baroque Adventure: The Quest for Arundo Donax.
Wow! That’s a lot of music! I hope you’ll try out some of our suggestions and share some of your family’s favorites in the comments. 🙂
(If you’re interested in implementing Charlotte Mason-style composer study in your home, check out Ultimate Guide to Composer Study over at Homegrown Learners for lots of great information and ideas!)
Posted on July 24, 2012, in Charlotte Mason, Composer Study, Homeschool Resources, Our Vision, Parenting Resources, Preschool and tagged classical music for kids, composer study, homeschool preschool. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.