Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Flight of the Bumble bee

Here are two versions of what we listened to today for Art and Music. We paired the music with Chrysanthemums by Hiroshige. I googled for the picture but could not find it online. It can be found in the Can You Hear it book. If you wish to pair this music with some art just try googling bumblebee and see what looks interesting. The CD was an orchestral version of Flight of the Bumblebee and the instruction was to listen for when the violin 'played' the bee and when it slowed down, heavy with nectar, and was played by the clarinet. I personally had a hard time making the determination so we just enjoyed. Hope you do to.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Peter and the Wolf

We just finished Peter and the Wolf. We read the book and listened to a shortened version over the span of two days. The version we used was from Music for Little People a Celebration of Classical Music and it was approximately 30 minutes long. The 'regular' version is much longer (I found this one that was over an hour long.) There are many versions of the book as well. From the library I picked out the version by Vladimir Vagin and also one by Michele Lemieux. (There is even one in graphic novel form by Miguelanzo Prado.) I wouldn't recommend starting w/ the graphic novel (aka...comic book) as it may direct attention away from the music but if there are several versions at the library, pick them all up and see which art your child likes better. If you know your art (and I don't) you can talk about how the drawings or paintings are made, with what type of media etc.... That will be for next time. I provide the links as a guide but just go to your library's website and type in Peter and the Wolf.

I took some pictures while Andrew was listening and thought that would be so sweet to post here. As I review them I see that they will provide some comic relief. But he truly was engrossed in the book.

footnote: Peter and the Wolf is performed by an orchestra and sometimes read by a narrator. Each character is portrayed by a different instrument. It is great listening practice to pause and ask what instrument the child hears.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hymns for a Kid's Heart

I bought Hymns for a Kid's Heart- volume two. Andrew does not like 'pretty music' and this was no exception. He insisted I stop the CD when we played it. The book however is MUCH more than that. It has mini-biographies on each composer and a personal story of them- very much a living book. I just started reading the first one aloud to him while we were eating lunch one day. The composer was Joachim Neander who wrote Praise to the Lord, the Almighty. Apparently Joachim ran with a 'bad crowd' until he accepted Jesus at which time he prayed for new friends...and got them! The next day Andrew and I were 'playing people' and Andrew mentioned that one of his characters was like Joachim. It took me awhile for me to figure out what he was saying...first, neither of us knows how to pronounce Joachim and second, I hadn't remembered the story. But Andrew was able to tell me what he was talking about...by referencing with his eyes while saying "You know... THAT book." That was a sweet little referencing CM moment all wrapped up into one little package;)

So, we will continue to read the book and sneak in a hymn or two. He did enjoy when I tried playing it on the piano. (The book has the sheet music included.) Our church does not use hymns. I am not sure how you would classify what we sing ...Praise and Worship I guess. But it is good to have a go at all different types of music.

By the way...if you go on youtube you will find many variations of this hymn. Here are just three. It is a great way to listen to the way different instruments sound. One warning on Youtube...please do not let your child watch alone. There is no telling what 'recommended' videos pop up after the first one you watch.

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty- church bells



Saturday, June 14, 2008

Good Vibrations

I continue to try and upload youtube and having way to many difficulties. So, here you go...a short clip of Andrew stomping in the water. "What is this? you ask...."What's the big whip?" you say... well, let me inform you of the grand connection that Andrew made. (The actual conversation is on another video that I will never have time to edit so I will just give you a summary.)

We had been reading several books on instruments that I have outlined in previous blogs. After stomping in this puddle we walked a bit and THEN Andrew informed me that the vibrations were like music. After some discussion and probing questions, he related to me that the vibrations of the waves were similar to the waves on string instruments. To me..that connection..is a big whip!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Zin Zin...

I planned on working from The Story of the Orchestra today with composer Mahler. First I couldn't find any good youtube clips. Then, Andrew picked up Zin Zin the Violin from the shelf so we went with that. It is a very cute book and a Reading Rainbow pick as well. We have watched that episode in the past. The book introduces a child to various instruments in the orchestra and also words such as solo, duet, trio...

I found a wonderful website from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The Instruments page lists all the instruments in the orchestra. It then plays the instrument by itself, to the tune of 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' and then in a selected piece of music that highlights that instrument. Here is a question for all you who have kiddos with implants. I asked Andrew what he thought of the music and he said, "it sounds off key. It sounds bad." He LOVES to listen to music of all kinds. So I wondered what you all thought about the music on this page. Sometimes, with some classical music, he will say, "I don't like it. It's beautiful music." I'm going to fish around on the internet for some different websites like this one. I want to see if it is the website specifically, classical music or what... Andrew would listen today if I turned on 'real player' where there are crazy designs that flit around on the screen while you listen to the music. It was a bit like watching Fantasia. (Do ya think he's a visual learner???)

Monday, May 19, 2008


Today we listened to Brahm's Hungarian Dance. Here is an awesome clip of the violin playing this.

And here is a clip of it being performed (with some mistakes..i think) on the piano as a duet.

Andrew preferred the piano. When I asked him why he said, because we have one. So..... I dug out my 3/4 size violin that I played in sixth grade for a semester until they cut orchestra because of funds. Andrew's first request; "Play the Veggie Tales Theme Song!" Well the strings were not even able to be set correctly....and I couldn't have remembered a single thing anyway. But we may try and tune it up and see what happens.

So that brings me up to date on our music study. We are also using another interesting book that pairs famous paintings with great classical music. Another post....tbc....


For week two we listened to Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty. Too 'beautiful' for Buddy. This first clip is just an orchestra.

Correction on above comment. Buddy just looked at the ballet and said, "these are dumb." Here is a long clip of the actual Ballet.

This was done last week so I don't remember all we talked about. I will start blogging closer to the actual discussion. There was an interesting tidbit in the book about how he was a paranoid individual and almost walked off a concert because he somehow began to imagine that his head was falling off.


Our first pick was Wagner. The Story of the Orchestra gives a brief overview of the composer as well as interesting tidbits that a child might find interesting. For example, "Often Wagner would borrow money from people and be outraged that they expected a 'genius' like himself to pay it back." I can't recall what Andrew's thoughts were specifically about this music. (that is one of the reasons I want to blog this.) We try and listen to the CD FIRST- then look up on youtube. Here are two that we watched on Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries. The book suggests imagining the warrior woman with horns, stampeding. You can watch the second clip to see them for real. So you could imagine while listening (to the first clip) and talk about it. Then watch the second one and see how they are the same or different than your imagination!

The Story of the Orchestra

We are currently using The Story of the Orchestra in our CM music study as a way to introduce music to Andrew. It is a lovely book that includes a CD. It uses classical music and highlights composers as well as specific instruments. I am using it to scaffold what we are doing. We actually skipped initially to the romantic period. (I have no idea why. Buddy was just interested in those pages most.) I will be using this blog to post what we hear each week and also post links to favorite youtube pics of the same music. We have already briefly reviewed Wagner, Tchaikovsky and Brahams. I will try post on each one individually. If you have favorite ways to introduce music to your kids, please do so here.

I will also be using this blog to post what we are doing for art as well.