Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Woodwinds and Brass and Percussion and Strings,
These are a few of my favorite things!
Once upon a time, I played flute, piccolo, bass drum, cymbals and baritone (but… not all at the same time).
In high school, I placed my flute on a shelf to collect years of dust and walked away from a God-given talent, mainly because I never developed a love of the music I played. In the midst of playing solos and ensembles, memorizing many pieces, and leading an entire section of instruments, I had never actually studied classical music or composers. I never appreciated the music I played. I never enjoyed it. Even when I played solos with band accompaniments, I could not tell you anything about a composer or even recognize a piece (except Stars & Stripes Forever). That was two decades ago (TWO DECADES?!?!?). And yet I have thought back longingly to those moments when conductor unified chaos. (Really, I wish I could raise my hands and conduct my home in such a way. Sometimes I try to, but mostly I just sing Amy Joy Tofte’s Catastrophism song (from Cycle 3) until the boys realize I’m talking about their rooms…)
And so now we return to the formal study of such things. I personally have come to appreciate this aspect of Fine Arts more in the past year, albeit through The Nutcracker and Disney’s Little Einsteins. (If you’re like me and want an easy way to incorporate Fine Arts into your home, visit Wikipedia’s List of Little Einsteins Episodes for a list of Little Einstein’s episodes along with each art/music focus and then go to this list to find out which episodes are on which DVD. Last year prior to our official composer study, our boys already knew the names “Stravinsky” and “Tchaikovsky” and were familiar with their music due to Disney’s Little Einsteins, specifically, Rocket’s Firebird Rescue (Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite) and Christmas Wish (Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite).) And despite the fact that I ran away from this classical music stuff at one time, now I look forward to it. It’s fun! (And maybe – just maybe – I will be brave enough this year to take the boys to the Symphony!)
The main thing for composer study is to simply listen to the music to become familiar with the composer’s sound and style, and to learn the vocabulary. You can supplement with biographies and notebooking pages, or coloring pages, or let your child draw or scribble, but the most important thing is to listen to the music and gain a basic understanding of classical music!
Towards the bottom of this post, you’ll find a list of the resources I’ve found, but before I get to that point, here’s my filtered, less intimidating list of things we might use this semester (ha! This one looks intimidating, too, but so you know, I will NOT be using all of this stuff! I might use one or two things, like the very cool and funny multiplication connect-the-dots for the composers’ wigs. But mostly we will just try to listen to the music of each composer. And if you come across broken links, please let me know. I had to re-redo this post several times because I’m Mac-mouse-challenged and Apple-intolerant.)
Because of the enormous amount of time it takes for me to research in compiling these link lists, I ask that you do not copy and paste the links in other documents, websites, or emails, but instead send people to this webpage. Thank you for honoring this request!
For Cycle 2…
Feel free to use our composer notebooking pages from our Cycle 2 Fine Arts Notebooking Packet!
The following image is from our Cycle 2 packet, just to show you what the composer pages look like.
Cycle 2 Resources
For Classical Conversations CC Connected Subscribers: Some great resources for the current cycle await you!
Cycle 2 Files on CC Connected
My favorite method of listening to classical music is using listening flowcharts. From the File Sharing Center drop-down menu, select category “Cycle ” and “Fine Arts” and search for the following files:
Beethoven Musician Flow Chart.pdf
Beethoven Cycle 2 Week 20 Revised.pdf
Brahms Flow Chart.pdf
Brahms Cycle 2 Week 21.pdf
Dvorak Flow Chart copy.pdf
Dvorak Cycle 2 Week 22.pdf
And that’s just a few! There are many more files for Cycle 1, 2, and 3 composers & orchestra including vocabulary cards, composer and orchestra slides, and notebooking pages.
Cycle 2 Composers Biographies, Printables, and Resources
Cycle 2 Fine Arts Notebooking Packet
Beethoven Interactive Google Doodle (fun!)
Beethoven Coloring Page
Beethoven Printable Biography Page
Beethoven Unit Study & Lapbook
Brahms Coloring Page
Brahms Printable Biography Page
Dvorak Coloring Page
Dvorak Printable Biography Page
Beethoven Multiplication Dot-to-Dot
Beethoven, Brahms, and Dvorak Coloring Pages, Wordsearch, and Multiplication Connect-the-Dots
Beethoven: The Story of a Little Boy Who Was Forced to Practice (Booklet with Q&A)
Cycle 2 Music
Classical Conversations Orchestra Song (Public Library – CC Connected)
Musopen: offers free Classical Music MP3s and Classical Composer Bios
Free Beethoven MP3s
Free Brahms MP3s
Dvorak Cello Concerto MP3
Dvorak Symphony No. 8 MP3
Dvorak Symphony No. 9 MP3
As a parent…
These are the resources that I find helpful to introduce children to the orchestra and classical music.
Time Periods of Classical Music Song and Game
Let’s Go to the Symphony Video
George Meets the Orchestra
The Orchestra Song
Classical Conversations Orchestra MP3 Song (Free Public Library – CC Connected)
The King’s Singers Singing Famous Composers’ names in they style of the Composer
A study of Prokofiev and Peter and the Wolf
Periods of Music History Summary PageActivities, Resources and Lesson Plans from the Dallas Symphony OrchestraFamous Musician Resources from Practical Pages
Composer of the Month wall chart
Children’s activities from Lancastor Symphony’s Website
Making Music Fun
Free SQUILT Lessons to practice music appreciation. Also available for purchase is the fantastic SQUILT Meet the Instrument Study. Click here to read a review.
Very fun interactive Classical Music & Composer Study, including classical music audios, composer timeline, instrument seating charts, and much more!
See additional orchestra and symphony websites for kids or interactives listed at the bottom of this post.
As a tutor or co-op teacher…
I find some of the resources below helpful for introducing a group of children to the orchestra, instrument families, and/or composers.
Classical Conversations Orchestra Song (Public Library – CC Connected)
Instruments of the Orchestra Posters
Orchestra Seating Charts (Printable)
Musical Instrument Bingo & Flashcards
Online Interactive – Match the instruments to the sounds
Lancaster’s Instrument Features Page (Printables)
Lancaster’s Printable Music Era Timeline Descriptions
Instrument Coloring Book
My Musical Instrument Book
Orchestra & Famous Composers Extension activities
Here’s our great-big-ole bunch of resources for studying the orchestra, instrument families, or famous composers. This is the Orchestra Study Buffet: pick and choose something to do until you’ve had your fill. Happy music-making!
These resources are not recommended or endorsed by Classical Conversations. Classical Conversations recommends Classical Music for Dummies for composer study during Weeks 19-24, and a complete six-week guide (with schedule and activities) may be found in the appendix of the Foundations Guide 4th Edition.