Welcome to Classical Music 4 Kids!

Come and enjoy my attempts to get children interested and more excited about art music. To learn more about how to get started, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Classical Music for Kids and Adults Alike

Here's a great opportunity to support an amazing tenor who sings music that will delight kids and adults of all ages! Four days left to send him to Europe for a Recital Tour!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"Das Rheingold" Cartoon

I just posted a fun set of cartoons I found on YouTube made for Wagner's Das Rheingold. To check it out CLICK HERE. I'm not sure how appropriate you'll think this is for kids as there are quite a few scantily clad women in the cartoon - it kind of reminds me of the He-man cartoons I watched in the early 80s. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Teaching Kids to Listen

I recently read a wonderful article on a music listening strategy called "Phenomenology", which was originally devised as a way to appreciate visual art. To put it as simply as possible (which is not easy to do) you break down a work of art into its "structural" pieces, reflect on how they are organized, then on what those pieces and organization mean.

I believe this method of listening could be easily adapted to help children appreciate any kind of art music from a very young age. Here is a general outline of the process:

  1. Listen "openly" - in the first stage of listening you aren't really listening for anything in particular, you're just getting an ear for the piece.
  2. Reflection 1: Syntax - here you are identifying what sounds make up the piece. For an art song an adult might listen for instrumentation/orchestration, and a child would use different adjectives such as fat, round, soft, sharp, banging, harsh, etc.
  3. Reflection 2: Semantics - in this listening you are graphing or mapping how all of these pieces fit together in time. A trained musician might do a theoretical analysis, someone else might just draw a map. This is usually the more technical phase, but doesn't have to be more technical than the person is capable of. A child could simply draw a timeline and then draw pictures of the sounds as they happen.
  4. Reflection 3: Ontology -ontology is the study of existence, or why something exists the way it is. Questions to answer include: is this a statement about the current (or historical) political climate? Is it just a fun study on how sounds interact? Usually the simplest discovery of meaning can be the most profound.
  5. Listen "openly" - this is where, in my experience, my mind is blown. After putting all of the pieces together listening "casually" becomes an entirely new experience.
One important thing to mention is that each of those reflections usually requires several listenings. In the article I read the author listened to Edgar Varese's Poeme electronique (sorry, can't find the accents) and did a total of thirteen listenings. By the end, a piece that sounded completely inaccessible and random suddenly made sense on so many levels.

My daughter has completed her required work for the school year and is entering her summer break. We are setting some reading goals with her, and I am going to attempt to set some listening goals with her as well.

My plan of attack includes first, listening to a piece (or two or three) with her using the method outlined above. We will repeat this process until I feel she understands the process. Next, I will give her a list of four or five pieces I think she would enjoy from various time periods and leave her to listen on her own. Lastly, we will meet together and discuss her discoveries. I'm not sure it will work, but I am very excited about the possibilities. I'll keep a record of our progress on this blog. Now to decide what to listen too....

Monday, September 22, 2008

Another Muppet Video - Stars & Stripes Forever with Sam the Eagle

I just had to put up one more - I love this stuff!

Beeker's Rendition of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony

Hello everyone, I'm finally back!!  I've got a load of stuff to post, I've just been way to busy.  So stay tuned the next couple of days/weeks for a ton of great stuff.  And to celebrate, here is one of my favorite Muppet's performing one of the greatest works of music ever:

And Gonzo, the Chickens, and Strauss...

Stay tuned for more!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Quick Facts: Did You Know?

Young people who participate in the arts for at least three hours on three days each week through at least one full year are:

  • 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
  • 3 times more likely to be elected to class office within their school
  • 4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair
  • 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance
  • 4 times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem

Young artists, as compared with their peers, are likely to:
  • Attend music, art, and dance classes nearly three times as frequently
  • Participate in youth groups nearly four times as frequently
  • Read for pleasure nearly twice as often
  • Perform community service more than four times as often
Did you know the arts could have such a profound impact on how youth excel and how they choose to spend their free time??

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Review: Pavarotti's Opera Made Easy - My Favourite Opera for Children

This CD is a pretty good introduction to opera for children. The music is well done and the song choices are perfect for kids with selections from the operas The Magic Flute, Hansel & Gretel, and The Tales of Hoffmann (and more, but those are the highlights that our kids enjoy).

I love using the library to review material like this though. Because I would not recommend buying this. The main reasonss it didn't make it to the top of my list is that the songs were in their original languages. While this is ultimately wonderful, it is better with children to start them with an english version to help them become familiar with what the song & opera is about before introducing them to its original language.

I was more impressed with Mozart's Magic Fantasy.

I have been looking into film versions of opera lately and soon I will be posting about The Magic Flute and Hansel & Gretel.

We've also been listening to some Broadway music (I highly recommend CATS - more on that in a separate post), and while it's not classical -- it's still great stuff. I love how musicals and operas tell stories. I love how when children listen, their imaginations take care of the rest. There's no need for pictures or video and that is such a good experience for children. How often do our kids get that nowadays? I also enjoy introducing them to the operas and musicals in video format or live, but there's something extra special that first time around. It's so fun to watch them and see the wheels turning.

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