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Classical Music and The Moon

Fifty years ago man landed on the moon. 

As we teach our children about the astronauts who made the historic landing and the science surrounding the Apollo missions, we can also include something many people may overlook - the artists, composers, and other creatives who have been inspired by the moon. 

Long before man landed on the moon, composers like Debussy, Tchaikovsky, and Dvorak were composing music evocative of the moon. 

Include a study of this music as you celebrate the moon landing - or as you teach  children about astronomy and the phases of the moon. The beauty of an education like this is that our children begin to see subjects in many dimensions and perspectives. 

Learning isn't pigeon-holed into science, math, or reading. It is integrated, united, and connected. 

Classical Music and The Moon - a playlist for celebrating the moon landing

 


Teaching Suggestions & Printable:

Download the Draw What You Hear printable.

Play a piece for your child (there is a short snippet about each piece below) and ask them to draw what they hear. 

Remember - all ideas and drawings are valid - music means different things to different children!


Draw What You Hear free printable - Classical Music and the Moon

Classical Music and the Moon: 

 

Tchaikovsky: Lake in the Moonlight

From the famous ballet, Swan Lake, children will most certainly recognize this famous theme, Lake in the Moonlight. Point out the oboe solo in the beginning, the minor (sad) key of the music, and the smooth, flowing quality of the music. 


 

Dvorak: Song to the Moon

This gorgeous song, from on opera by Dvorak, has lyrics you will want to share before your children listen.

Moon, high and deep in the sky
Your light sees far,
You travel around the wide world,
and see into people's homes.
Moon, stand still a while
and tell me where is my dear.
Tell him, silvery moon,
that I am embracing him.
For at least momentarily
let him recall of dreaming of me.
Illuminate him far away,
and tell him, tell him who is waiting for him!
If his human soul is, in fact, dreaming of me,
may the memory awaken him!
Moonlight, don't disappear, disappear!

An opera is a story told with singing, and the solo singer in Song to the Moon is a soprano, the highest pitched female voice.


 


Debussy:
Claire de Lune

What a gorgeous piece of music - one every child should know! 

This is part of a larger suite written by Debussy - the Suite Bergmasque. Claire de Lune (The Moon) is the third movement in this suite. 

The tempo (speed of the beat) of this piece is Adagio - which means slow and leisurely.

Debussy was a French composer, who was writing music during the same time as the Impressionists. You can hear a very romantic quality to his music. Children may hear the reflection of the moon on the water. 

Ask them to close their eyes and imagine what Debussy wanted to the listener to see.

 


Benjamin Britten : Four Sea Interludes - III.Moonlight

Britten, a more contemporary composer, writes this almost eerie orchestral interlude to evoke images of the seaside where he grew up. 

This music, from the Modern Era (1900-present), will have a "movie music" quality that your children might notice. Listen for a wide variety of instruments and a big range of dynamics (louds and softs) in the music.




Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1 - Romance

Chopin, known as the "Poet of the Piano", is remembered for his Romantic Era piano compositions. 

This music - in his words is:

"intended to convey the impression one receives when gazing on a beautiful landscape that evokes in the soul beautiful memories — for example, on a fine moonlit spring night."

Point out to your children that a concerto is a large scale work for orchestra and solo instrument (in this case, the piano).

What about the music conveys a moonlit spring night? Is it the delicate piano? The lilting strings? The slow tempo? 

 

 

Keep Them Learning!

To give your children more beautiful music, check out our Musical Eras series.

Additionally, did you know we offer live, online music appreciation classes in SQUILT LIVE!  Take one thing off your plate and let a degreed music expert teach your children about beautiful music! 

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1 comment

  • This is WONDERFUL 🥰 Thank you for sharing 😊

    Tamara Flecknell

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