Classical Music for Spring
It's up to you how you would like to use these pieces and teaching suggestions.
Incorporate them in your morning time. Or, focus on one piece each week. (Remember, repeated exposure - even when you think your children aren't listening - is best.)
I've created a variety of Draw What You Hear sheets for your children to use as they are listening. I love these sheets because anything goes - children simply draw what the music makes them think of.
Included in the description of each piece below is a little something musical to share with your kids, but don't force this on them. Just mention it - then move on. We want them to fall in love with the beauty of the music.
*A note about the word "classical": When used in general music terms, classical (with a lower case c) music means serious or convention music that follow long-established principles. This is different than the Classical Era of music , which is music composed between 1750-1820.
(If you want to learn all about the eras of music, just dive into our Musical Era Bundle, and then your children will be experts!)
Classical Music for Spring
To Spring: by Edvard Grieg
This lovely piano solo from the Romantic Era evokes the many sounds of spring.
Just one of over 60 short piano solos written by Grieg, To Spring is the most famous.
Because this piece is from the Romantic Era, we will hear big changes in the dynamics (louds and softs). There is a lot of emotion in this one piece. It sounds as if things are beginning to bloom and new life is appearing everywhere.
This piece is very short - under 4 minutes. Encourage your children to watch the performance one time without doing anything else. The second time, ask them to list all the ways it sounds like spring (What spring adjectives can you list?).
Of course, doing a Draw What You Hear sheet is always appropriate.
(It might be fun to listen to a recording of Edvard Grieg playing the piece, too!)
On Hearing The First Cuckoo in Spring by Frederick Delius
This tone poem for small orchestra was composed by the English composer Frederick Delius in 1912 - at the beginning of the Modern Era.
You can hear the cuckoos in the beginning and middle of the piece, and then they appear more obviously in the end (listen for the clarinets).
The rich sounds of the orchestra make you feel just like you are in the middle of the English countryside.
Encourage your children to close their eyes and just LISTEN - imagine what they might be doing on a walk in that English countryside. What are they hearing? What are they seeing?
Song Without Words ("Spring Song") - Felix Mendelssohn
This charming piece is one is a series of short, lyrical piano pieces composed by the Romantic Era composer Felix Mendelssohn.
In a letter to a friend, Mendelssohn had this to say about the Songs Without Words:
"If you ask me what I had in mind when I wrote it, I would say: just the song as it is. And if I happen to have certain words in mind for one or another of these songs, I would never want to tell them to anyone, because the same words never mean the same things to others. Only the song can say the same thing, can arouse the same feelings in one person as in another, a feeling that is not expressed, however, by the same words."
This is a marvelous sentiment to share with our children.
Music provides each listener with their own unique experience. Whatever your child hears while listening is THEIRS and theirs alone. Music speaks to each of us differently.
Encourage your children to be as creative as they can be with the Draw What You Hear sheet!
Symphony #6 (The Pastoral), mvmt. 1 - Ludwig van Beethoven
Composed in 1808 (The Classical Era), this symphony is the only of two of Beethoven's nine symphonies to have been given a name: The Pastoral or "Recollections of Country Life".
Beethoven said of this work: "The hearer should be allowed to discover the situation." The situation Beethoven probably had in mind was the countryside, which he so dearly loved.
I often think of the changes in weather while listening to this piece - and springtime brings about many changes in weather, doesn't it? I wonder if your children hear weather when they listen to this, or something else?
After they watch and listen to this orchestra performance, you can also share this clip from Disney's Fantasia with them!
Recomposed by Max Richter (based on Vivaldi's Spring)
I'm sure you are expecting Vivaldi's Spring to be on this list of Classical Music for Spring. Well - it is... kind. of.
You can of course listen to the Vivaldi's Spring with your children. Then, compare it to Recomposed, by Max Richter.
According to Max Richter (who was born in 1966 in Germany), this is what he thought about Vivaldi's Spring:
"As a child, I fell in love with it. It's beautiful, charming music with a great melody and wonderful colors. Then, later on, as I became more musically aware — literate, studied music and listened to a lot of music — I found it more difficult to love it. We hear it everywhere — when you're on hold, you hear it in the shopping center, in advertising; it's everywhere. For me, the record and the project are trying to reclaim the piece, to fall in love with it again."
I happen to really love Recomposed - and I think your children will, too. Ask them if this sounds like spring arriving, and if they notice which ONE family of instruments is used in Recomposed (the string family).
I hope these five pieces bring your children the sounds of spring through classical music.
At SQUILT Music Appreciation we are building a lifelong appreciation of music, one child and one piece at a time!
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