Tag Archives: orchestra

Classical Conversations Orchestra Cycle 3

Classical Conversations Orchestra

I say this every year, but . . . . I really ENJOY the Orchestra 6-weeks of CC! If you need some ideas for things to do in class or to expand on things outside of class, I’ve got some suggestions! I’m always on the look out for new ideas myself, so please feel free to share yours in the comments below!

Activities for Class

Orchestra-ImageIf you’re a tutor out there who is stressing about this particular portion of the year, I’ll give you my layman’s two cents (and empathize with you . . . Tin Whistle is the hardest for me!): Don’t get bogged down in whether or not you love the music, or whether or not the children do. You’re task is largely the same with the Orchestra as it is with any other subject – teach (and drill) the grammar.

Introduce the time period, explain what a symphony is, what an orchestra is, what the instrument families are (more on all of this below). Then spend some time listening for those things you’ve discussed in the musical pieces (what kind of emotion do you hear? what instrument families? etc.).

Melody from andherewegomama.com has a great song (with video) and file folder game for reinforcing the different musical periods.  I also like to put something up on the wall in the classroom and make sure we tie the musical periods back to their place in our timeline (it’s a good time to pull those particular timeline cards out again), and a picture of each composer as we discuss him (my picture above is from Cycle 2). We’ll review those things each week and then build on that knowledge. If it’s at all helpful to you, you’re welcome to download and print off my “Period Headers” and pictures of composers here

Bulletin Board and Wall ideas for teaching about the Orchestra. CC Weeks 19-24

When I first started tutoring, I purchased a bulletin board set with nice pictures of the instruments. While I recognize that this might not be entirely in keeping with the “stick-in-the-sand” method of CC (which I do truly respect and generally try to adhere to), having these visuals has worked well for me. The particular set that I have is large, and the sheets can be left as 4 large posters, or they’re made to do some accordion folding. I choose just to slap them up on the wall in our classroom (or at home) each week. They get the kids’ attention and make the Orchestra study different from the other studies. I think I paid $12 or $13 for this set in a Parent/Teacher store somewhere and this is the fourth year I’ll use it. It’s definitely been worth it to me to have it around!

In teaching Orchestra I will spend time each week talking about the instrument families (If you’re looking for more information on instrument families, this website has a great overview to give you information to share with you kids!). We will cover one family each week. Our community learns the Orchestra song in our assembly time in the morning and we add an instrument each week, so I sync our class time up with our assembly time – Week 19: Violin (Introduce all 4 families and focus on the Strings), Week 20: Clarinet (Woodwinds), Week 21: Trumpet (Brass), Week 22: The Horn (Review Brass), Week 23: Drum (Percussion). We’ll use the posters above to assist us as we discuss the instrument families, and we’ll also use these worksheets I’ve created to reinforce some of the facts about the instrument families:

FUN worksheets for learning (or reinforcing) facts about the instrument families. CC Weeks 19-24

I like to play Bingo with the Instrument Families for at least the first week (Week 19) of Orchestra. It’s popular, so we usually play it again during the review weeks (Weeks 23 and 24) if there is time available. It’s a great way for kids to get familiar with the instruments and their families.  I downloaded a black and white version off CC Connected a couple of years ago, but I prefer the version that I’m using this year. It’s color, and the images are labeled with the names of the instruments, so it reinforces the names and cuts down on confusion. I downloaded it here.

Once we’ve reviewed the orchestra, our vocabulary, and the instrument families, we’ll talk about that week’s composer and add his picture to the wall. Classical Music for Dummies has some great information about the composer and the timer period in which he composed. I often tell people that I underutilized this book the first year or two that I tutored. It’s not just informative about the composer and the piece of music . . . it also has lots of GREAT information in the back section on the instrument families and it’s presented in a really approachable and interesting way. I also like to use the books I’ve included in the “Books” section below to add more information and visuals to our few minutes discussing the composer.

When it comes to time to listen to the music, I REALLY appreciate the CC moms who put the listening flow charts together and post them on CC Connected each year. This is when I’m thankful to have my “Classical Music for Dummies” CD ripped and loaded on my iPhone, so I can play the songs and watch the time to see where we are in the piece. It helps me to engage the children in class if I can say, “Okay, listen for the . . .  (ex:”Oboe to start playing”, “the strings to all come in”, “the horn to start crying”, etc.)” And, it’s helpful to have moms in class with the younger ones to point to where we are on the flowchart (I usually print enough copies for there to be one for every two children to share). Some pieces of music lend themselves really well to this. Others lend themselves better to just listening quietly and drawing/coloring a picture of what the music makes you think of or feel like. There’s usually a sheet for this out on CC Connected, as well, usually with a little bio of the composer, but of course a blank piece of paper works fine, too. In years past, I’ve also taken paint sticks or large popsicle sticks and cut crepe paper streamers to tape/glue to them and we’ve whirled and twirled to music that had that feel to it.

If time permits, and things are going well, we might listen to a piece (or a portion of a piece) more than once. When a piece has very distinct sections played by certain instrument families, it can be fun to hand out popsicle stick “puppets” of the instruments and ask the children to raise the family that they hear (this can range from easy to very tough . . . and can be quite funny when the pieces get complex!).

Books

Well, if you’ve been spending ANY time on this blog at ALL, you already know that I love the books from the “Getting to Know” series by Mike Venezia. Seriously, I should be paid for my endorsement at this point. But alas, I am not. I just really, really like these books and think they work BEAUTIFULLY for Foundations age kids. Particularly the preschool/elementary ones, but these books are meaty enough to work on up into middle and high school; they’re just easy to read. I actually like to take them to class with me when I tutor. The facts are interesting and some of the pictures are helpful to the more visual kids. They’re a great supplement to the information in Classical Music for Dummies.

Wonderful book for learning about Tchaikovsky  Wonderful book for teaching children about Stavinsky

Sadly, there is no book on Debussy in the “Getting to Know” series (Get on that, Mike!), and I haven’t had any luck finding another book that would appeal to children.

This is a great book (with CD included) for learning about the Orchestra. It also touches on the different musical periods, so it dovetails nicely with how we cover the Orchestra in CC.

Great book (and accompanying CD) for learning about the Orchestra. CC Weeks 19-24

CD’s/MP3 downloads and Videos

I really like this entire series of CDs (you can also download the MP3 files). They’re inexpensive, and they mix the biography in with the music of the composer in a way that makes it really easy to listen to. You can treat it like an audio book and pay rapt attention to the narrator with the biography, or it’s fairly easy to just focus on the music and tune out the spoken word, if you prefer. These can be nice to have playing in the background while your children are playing or working on school work at home. You can pick up an awful lot of information (and hear a lot of classical music!) that way.For this cycle, Tchaikovsky is the only composer this series covers.

Excellent resource for learning about Tchaikovsky

 

This series is also wonderful. Again, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake is the only piece represented (the series does cover a different piece of Stravinky’s)

Fun resource for learning about classical music!

Of course, the classic way to teach children about the different instruments in the orchestra is via some version of Peter and the Wolf, composed by Prokofiev. My favorite version of this is the one narrated by Sting.

My favorite version of this composition! The classic way to expose children to the different instruments in an orchestra. CC Weeks 19-24.

Fun book for learning about the different instrument families!Three years ago, I discovered The Composer is Dead by Lemony Snicket, which I actually like more than Peter and the Wolf for actually explaining the instruments in the orchestra to children. It’s got a lot of dry humor (much of which goes over children’s heads, but adults will find amusing), and does a great job of introducing the orchestra. I’m a VERY visual person, and I’ve got to tell you that the book that accompanies the CD did nothing for me. I think the CD or MP3 files stand on their own just fine, but I’ve had pretty much no luck locating them for purchase by themselves. I’ll include a link to the book here at Amazon so you can see the reviews or look at it for yourself, but I was also able to find a series of youtube videos that someone created using the book and the audio. You can access my playlist of them here.

Games and Apps

The New York Philharmonic website has an entire area for kids that is AWESOME! Definitely check it out and explore. Here are two games from this site that you definitely won’t want to miss:

  • Sort the musical instruments by family:  http://www.nyphilkids.org/games/frenzy/instrumentfrenzy.swf
  • A classic “memory” game with musical instrument images. Nice thing about this one is that the images are labeled and when you flip the cards they play, so you experience the sound of each instrument. Brilliant! http://www.nyphilkids.org/games/main.phtml?

Carnegie Hall has also created an online Safari adventure for learning about the orchestra.

At this website you must correctly answer the questions about the instrument families or your ship will be sunk! 

At this website you can listen to a sample of music and guess which instrument performed it.

This is just another good all around website. It has games and uses Benjamin Britten’s Young People’s Guide to the Orchestra to illustrate the sounds of the different instrument families.

This is a free iPad app for learning about the Orchestra: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mso-learn/id441422027?mt=8

Classical Conversations Cycle 2 Week 20

Classical Conversations Cycle 2 Week 20

Time is flying! It’s week 20 and we’ll be wrapping up this year of CC Foundations before we know it!

Science

Here’s a fun little video with information about the second law of thermodynamics:

Science Project

I found a number of videos this week that complement our bridge-building project nicely. These two from MIT are my favorites:

Part 1-

Part 2 –

Here are two others that are also good:

There are also several books that work well with this subject:

Great Books for using with the bridge science project (CC Cycle 2 Weeks 20-21)

Book for younger children (4-7) for learning about bridges (CC Cycle 2, Weeks 20-21)Cross a Bridge has simple, colorful illustrations of different types of bridges and contains a little history and fun facts about famous existing bridges, too. It is excellent for preschool and very early elementary (in CC speak, Abecedarians).

Great book about bridges! Information about structure and history. Great for elementary aged kids. CC Cycle 2 Weeks 20-21.The Bridge Book is great for all elementary-aged children. It contains information about the history of bridges as well as about their basic structure. My five year old really enjoyed it! It’s only available used at Amazon (I’ve had GREAT luck picking up used books at Amazon for a few cents plus $3.99 shipping. We don’t mind used books around here in the least.), and our library had a copy of it. It was a great combination of informative and entertaining.

Book to go along with weeks 20-21 Science Project (CC Cycle 2 Weeks 20-21)

Bridges! is more elaborate and intended for ages 7-14. It contains history, facts about different types of bridges, and projects designed to help you test out different bridge types yourself. it’s a cute book and most of the projects don’t involve terribly complicated resources (poster board, paper clips, glue, etc.). I know it can be hard to fit in more during the week, but I’ve got my eye on a few extra projects for us to try now or during week 21.

Neat book for learning about bridges (CC Cycle 2 Week 20-21 Science Project)

Bridges and Tunnels is packed with even more history, informative facts, and activities. It’s intended for ages 9-12. There are some really neat projects in this one, but it’s definitely a little more information than my 5 and 7 year old will want to sit down and digest for pleasure. The illustrations and page layouts are very approachable for the age it’s aimed at, though, so if you have an older elementary child or a middle-schooler, this book would be awesome!


Neat game that dovetails with this week's Science Project (CC Cycle 2 Weeks 20-21)

And, finally, here’s a little bridge building app that’s free and available on for Android and iPhone/iPad. We downloaded this some time ago and my son enjoyed it, but moved on and I deleted it. I downloaded it again and he’s been begging to play it all day. He was thrilled when I gave him a few minutes to play on it earlier and he built a bridge (a suspension bridge) that was strong enough to allow trucks to use it. This app gets kids familiar with some of the decision making that goes into building a bridge, even if it can’t be directly applied to the straw or popsicle bridge they’ll be building at CC.

Fine Arts – Orchestra

A FANTASTIC book for teaching kids about Beethoven! CC Cycle 2 Week 20Okay, okay, I know that I already recommended this book in my post specifically about the Orchestra, but it’s just TOO GOOD to not mention it one more time. It ties Beethoven into ALL SORTS of timeline and history sentence items. It has great facts about Beethovens 5th Symphony (the one we’re listening to in Week 20). I really just can’t recommend it enough. A mom asked me at lunch last week (when I was RAVING about this book and the whole series) if her 6th grader would enjoy it as much as my 1st and 2nd graders do and I emphatically said “YES!” For a middle school student it would just be a much easier and faster read, but they’d still enjoy the humor and absorb all the great meat that the book contains. I mean, I LOVE these books myself and I’m . . . well, let’s not discuss my age. Let’s just leave it at – THESE BOOKS ARE AWESOME!

There is a video (slightly under an hour) called “Beethoven Lives Upstairs” that is supposed to be an accurate and entertaining account of Beethoven’s life. I haven’t yet watched it, but Common Sense Media recommends it for ages 6 and up.  Our library has a copy of it in circulation, or you can purchase and stream it at Amazon (and Amazon has the DVD version, as well).

Kid-friendly biography of Beethoven! CC Cycle 2 Week 20

There’s also a short animated biography about Beethoven (by Muffin Stories), aimed at younger children, available here-

A friend and fellow CC tutor pointed me in the direction of these two videos. The first is a satire of Beethoven’s 5th symphony. As an adult, it’s hysterical! Some of it will go over younger children’s heads, but it’s still QUITE funny!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzXoVo16pTg

If you’re tutoring and need some more ideas about how to handle teaching the Orchestra to your class, you can check out this post at Solagratiamom.com. It’s from last year, but the same basic principles apply.

On an ALMOST totally unrelated note, I pass along the following to all those of you whose children are obsessed with the soundtrack from the Frozen movie. These guys have mixed the “Let it Go” music with Vivaldi’s “Winter” Violin Concerto (part of “The Four Seasons” work that he is most renowned for). If you want to expose your children to classical music mixed with something they already love, this may be the perfect mix. There are no vocals, but my guess is that your children can provide those, should they care to, on their own.

History

Yeeesh. Trying to to find books or videos about the Vietnam war that are appropriate for early elementary age students was just impossible. For me, at least. Did anyone out there find any good resources?

There is some information in the Crash Course History video on the Cold War that I posted last week. It transitions directly from the Korean War to the Vietnam War . . . but it’s not really geared toward our Foundations-aged kiddos.

I saw this blog post about drawing pictures to review and thought, “Why have I never thought of that?????” Simple, straightforward, and great for visual learners (I definitely have one of those!). Love these brilliant CC moms out there!

 

Review Games

Review Games for CC

This week, we reviewed CC at lunch one day using our Cranium Zooreka game. Like most of our efforts at review, it was pretty simple – take a turn, answer a CC question. My kiddos have realized they can usually talk me into a game in the middle of the school day as long as they propose we do CC review in some form along with it. This game took us while to play this time (we actually walked away and came back to it later in the day). We got in a LOT of review!

A few weeks ago, I ordered an Eggspert game to use at home and for review in the classroom. We’ve only used it once in class and a couple of times at home, but my kiddos have really enjoyed it! The only downside for the classroom is that there are only 6 controllers, so you do have to play in teams, or nominate a child or two to be the “Quiz Show Hosts” if you have a class of more than 6 children. But, it’s fun, and since there’s a timer, you can move through questions pretty quickly. Again, we got a LOT of review in while using it and the kids had a great time!

This post is linked to:

Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood Solagratiamom™

Classical Conversations Cycle 2 Orchestra

Classical Conversations Orchestra

Confession time.  I can’t sing. I mean, seriously. In fact, I sometimes wonder how the children in my CC class manage to learn any of the material from someone who teaches most of it with songs that she usually butchers mercilessly. Now, on the upside (sort of), I can actually TELL that I can’t sing. I’m not tone deaf. In fact, I have a HUGE appreciation for music and musical people. Before our children came along, my husband (who has an AWESOME voice! The proof is on his album.) and I were season ticket holders to the symphony. We loved it! Then the kiddos arrived and going out became more of a rarity. And we choose to do other things (like go places we can talk in peace!) when we do go out, usually. But, I say all of that to say . . . I really ENJOY the Orchestra 6-weeks of CC! And I have LOTS of ideas for things to do in class and even more for outside of class to help reinforce the concepts we’re learning during this period!

Activities for Class

Orchestra-ImageIf you’re a tutor out there who is stressing about this particular portion of the year, I’ll give you my layman’s two cents (and empathize with you . . . Tin Whistle is the hardest for me!): Don’t get bogged down in whether or not you love the music, or whether or not the children do. You’re task is largely the same with the Orchestra as it is with any other subject – teach (and drill) the grammar.

Introduce the time period, explain what a symphony is, what an orchestra is, what the instrument families are (more on all of this below). Then spend some time listening for those things you’ve discussed in the musical pieces (what kind of emotion do you hear? what instrument families? etc.).

Melody from andherewegomama.com has a great song (with video) and file folder game for reinforcing the different musical periods.  I also like to put something up on the wall in the classroom and make sure we tie the musical periods back to their place in our timeline (it’s a good time to pull those particular timeline cards out again), and a picture of each composer as we discuss him. We’ll review those things each week and then build on that knowledge. If it’s at all helpful to you, you’re welcome to download and print off my “Period Headers” and pictures of composers here

Mary, from homegrownlearners.com, has uploaded a great file called “SquiltCycle2.pdf” to CC Connected. It’s an example of the Squilt (Super Quiet Uninterrupted Listening Time) curriculum she has created (see her blog and website for even more info), and it is chock full of good information for teaching this cycle of orchestra!

Bulletin Board and Wall ideas for teaching about the Orchestra. CC Weeks 19-24

When I first started tutoring, I purchased a bulletin board set with nice pictures of the instruments. While I recognize that this might not be entirely in keeping with the “stick-in-the-sand” method of CC (which I do truly respect and generally try to adhere to), having these visuals has worked well for me. The particular set that I have is large, and the sheets can be left as 4 large posters, or they’re made to do some accordion folding. I choose just to slap them up on the wall in our classroom each week. They get the kids’ attention and make the Orchestra study different from the other studies. I think I paid $12 or $13 for this set in a Parent/Teacher store somewhere and this is the third year I’ll use it. It’s definitely been worth it to me to have it around!

In teaching Orchestra I will spend time each week talking about the instrument families (If you’re looking for more information on instrument families, this website has a great overview to give you information to share with you kids!). We will cover one family each week. Our community learns the Orchestra song in our assembly time in the morning and we add an instrument each week, so I sync our class time up with our assembly time – Week 19: Violin (Introduce all 4 families and focus on the Strings), Week 20: Clarinet (Woodwinds), Week 21: Trumpet (Brass), Week 22: The Horn (Review Brass and Woodwinds), Week 23: Drum (Percussion). We’ll use the posters above to assist us as we discuss the instrument families, and we’ll also use these worksheets I’ve created to reinforce some of the facts about the instrument families:

FUN worksheets for learning (or reinforcing) facts about the instrument families. CC Weeks 19-24

I like to play Bingo with the Instrument Families for at least the first week (Week 19) of Orchestra. It’s popular, so we usually play it again during the review weeks (Weeks 23 and 24) if there is time available. It’s a great way for kids to get familiar with the instruments and their families.  I downloaded a black and white version off CC Connected a couple of years ago, but I prefer the version that I’m using this year. It’s color, and the images are labeled with the names of the instruments, so it reinforces the names and cuts down on confusion. I downloaded it here.

Once we’ve reviewed the orchestra, our vocabulary, and the instrument families, we’ll talk about that week’s composer and add his picture to the wall. Classical Music for Dummies has some great information about the composer and the timer period in which he composed. I also like to use the books I’ve included in the “Books” section below to add more information and visuals to our few minutes discussing the composer.

When it comes to time to listen to the music, I REALLY appreciate the CC moms who put the listening flow charts together and post them on CC Connected each year. This Cycle, a flow chart for each of the three classical pieces has been posted by “thegossards” if you have access to CC Connected and you’d like to download them. This is when I’m thankful to have my “Classical Music for Dummies” CD ripped and loaded on my iPhone, so I can play the songs and watch the time to see where we are in the piece. It helps me to engage the children in class if I can say, “Okay, listen for the . . .  (ex:”Oboe to start playing”, “the strings to all come in”, “the horn to start crying”, etc.)” And, it’s helpful to have moms in class with the younger ones to point to where we are on the flowchart (I usually print enough copies for there to be one for every two children to share). Some pieces of music lend themselves really well to this. Others lend themselves better to just listening quietly and drawing/coloring a picture of what the music makes you think of or feel like. There’s usually a sheet for this out on CC Connected, as well, usually with a little bio of the composer, but of course a blank piece of paper works fine, too. We’re in a very small classroom this year, so we won’t be doing any dancing, but in years past, I’ve also taken paint sticks or large popsicle sticks and cut crepe paper streamers to tape/glue to them and we’ve whirled and twirled to music that had that feel to it.

If time permits, and things are going well, we might listen to a piece (or a portion of a piece) more than once. When a piece has very distinct sections played by certain instrument families, it can be fun to hand out popsicle stick “puppets” of the instruments and ask the children to raise the family that they hear (this can range from easy to very tough . . . and can be quite funny when the pieces get complex!).

Books

Well, if you’ve been spending ANY time on this blog at ALL, you will be SHOCKED (voice dripping with sarcasm) to see the following books from the “Getting to Know” series by Mike Venezia. Seriously, I should be paid for my endorsement at this point. But alas, I am not. I just really, really like these books and think they work BEAUTIFULLY for Foundations age kids. Particularly the preschool/elementary ones, but these books are meaty enough to work on up into middle and high school; they’re just easy to read. I actually like to take them to class with me when I tutor. The facts are interesting and some of the pictures are helpful to the more visual kids. They’re a great supplement to the information in Classical Music for Dummies.

AWESOME BOOK SERIES!!! CC Cycle 2 Week 20AWESOME BOOK SERIES!!! CC Cycle 2 Week 21

Sadly, there is no book on Dvorak in the “Getting to Know” series (Get on that, Mike!), but this one has gotten excellent reviews. It’s  en route to me, and I’ll come back and adjust my recommendation accordingly.

Book for learning about Dvorak. CC Cycle 2 Week 22

This is a great book (with CD included) for learning about the Orchestra. It also touches on the different musical periods, so it dovetails nicely with how we cover the Orchestra in CC.

Great book (and accompanying CD) for learning about the Orchestra. CC Weeks 19-24

CD’s/MP3 downloads and Videos

I really like this entire series of CDs (you can also download the MP3 files). They’re inexpensive, and they mix the biography in with the music of the composer in a way that makes it really easy to listen to. You can treat it like an audio book and pay rapt attention to the narrator with the biography, or it’s fairly easy to just focus on the music and tune out the spoken word, if you prefer. These can be nice to have playing in the background while your children are playing or working on school work at home. You can pick up an awful lot of information (and hear a lot of classical music!) that way.

Great CD Series! Mixes music with biographical information. CC Cycle 2 Week 20 Great CD Series! Mixes music with biographical information. CC Cycle 2 Week 21 Great CD Series! Mixes music with biographical information. CC Cycle 2 Week 22

Of course, the classic way to teach children about the different instruments in the orchestra is via some version of Peter and the Wolf, composed by Prokofiev. My favorite version of this is the one narrated by Sting.

My favorite version of this composition! The classic way to expose children to the different instruments in an orchestra. CC Weeks 19-24.

Great book/CD (see video at website) for learning about the Orchestra. CC Weeks 19-24Two years ago, I discovered The Composer is Dead by Lemony Snicket, which I actually like more than Peter and the Wolf for actually explaining the instruments in the orchestra to children. It’s got a lot of dry humor (much of which goes over children’s heads, but adults will find amusing), and does a great job of introducing the orchestra. I’m a VERY visual person, and I’ve got to tell you that the book that accompanies the CD did nothing for me. I think the CD or MP3 files stand on their own just fine, but I’ve had pretty much no luck locating them for purchase by themselves. I’ll include a link to the book here at Amazon so you can see the reviews or look at it for yourself, but I was also able to find a series of youtube videos that someone created using the book and the audio. You can access my playlist of them here, or push play below.

Games and Apps

The New York Philharmonic website has an entire area for kids that is AWESOME! Definitely check it out and explore. Here are two games from this site that you definitely won’t want to miss:

  • Sort the musical instruments by family:  http://www.nyphilkids.org/games/frenzy/instrumentfrenzy.swf
  • A classic “memory” game with musical instrument images. Nice thing about this one is that the images are labeled and when you flip the cards they play, so you experience the sound of each instrument. Brilliant! http://www.nyphilkids.org/games/main.phtml?

Carnegie Hall has also created an online Safari adventure for learning about the orchestra.

At this website you must correctly answer the questions about the instrument families or your ship will be sunk! 

At this website you can listen to a sample of music and guess which instrument performed it.

This is just another good all around website. It has games and uses Benjamin Britten’s Young People’s Guide to the Orchestra to illustrate the sounds of the different instrument families.

This is a free iPad app for learning about the Orchestra: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mso-learn/id441422027?mt=8