Thursday, October 12, 2006

Today was music day!

Due to String Bean's recent interest (some would say, fanaticism) over her violin, we did a mini-unit on violins and orchestral music so that Lego Maniac and Bam-Bam would be able to vicariously experience her interests (after all, she's put up with dinosaur, knights and bug units!).

Here are the books we read today:

Arnold, Caroline (photographs by Richard Hewett), Music Lessons for Alex
This is a great book detailing a 10-year-old girl’s first nine months of learning to play the violin. Great detailed descriptions of what needs to happen before a student can play music.

Romanelli, Serena & deBeer, Hans, Little Bobo
A fantasy story, this book tells the story of an orangutan who finds a violin and learns to make music. This is a cute story that would has great examples of practicing before you can play a lovely tune, that different kinds of instruments can make different kinds of music, that playing together to create a “band” can create beautiful music. This is a silly story that makes for a great “rabbit trail” starter.

Prokofiev, Sergei (illustrated by Peter Malone), Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf
This is a beautiful version of the classic orchestral piece by Prokofiev. The illustrations are bright, beautiful and encourage close attention to detail. The story comes with a fully orchestrated and narrated CD so the kids can “read” it to themselves.

Ganeri, Anita, The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra
A great resource for any music unit, this book has great descriptions and pictures of all things orchestral – history, terms, types of instruments, composers, orchestras from around the world, and on playing in an orchestra. The CD includes Benjamin Britten’s composition “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra”, written in 1945 for a documentary about music; an added bonus is the beautiful narration by Ben Kingsley!


Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf is a fantastic video of the Royal Ballet School’s performance of this classic. The narrated is the only adult – all the other parts are performed by children. The costumes are wonderful and the dancing is beautiful; you don’t even notice that there is minimal set/props for the 30 minute ballet.

Disney's Peter and the Wolf is a classic cartoon version with Sterling Holloway (voice of Piglet) as the narrator. Included on this 30 minute video is the music-only “Music Land” about a feud between the Isle of Jazz and the Land of Symphony and Mickey and Goofy hamming it up in “Symphony House”. This is a great “finish” to a music unit with the younger set.

But, of course, no music unit would be complete without a concert. But, unfortunately, I can't show you our concert as Blogger doesn't seem to want to upload pictures today!

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