This week are are inspired by the Symphony! We recently attended a classical music concert performed by the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, which included several young and very young ensembles, all with an equally impressive, grown-up sound. It was particularly impactful for Valentina as she saw firsthand that you don’t have to be a “grown-up” to play beautiful music in a majestic setting. We followed up with more classical music at home as well as instrument-themed activities and wanted to share our favorites with you:
Exploring Instrument Sounds: While most of us are not equipped with an arsenal of classical music instruments at home to allow for a hands-on exploration (we currently own an old guitar and an electronic keyboard), there are many readily available resources online that will allow your child to learn about all of the orchestra instruments, while experiencing their sounds. Of course, if you happen to have a violin or an oboe or a piano at home, it is an added bonus! Here are some links with the sounds of the orchestra that I recommend:
- If you are looking for an electronic key board (that happens to have pre-programmed orchestra instrument sounds), I recommend Casio SA76 44.
Exploring Composers: If you feel that your child is ready to start learning about the famous classical composers there are several great, child friendly websites that offer the composer’s brief history, music samples and lesson plans. We’ve had a lot of fun exploring several of the composers ahead of our trip to the Symphony.
Some of Our Favorite Classical Pieces: I also wanted to highlight some of my favorites classical music pieces that have resonated with Valentina (in no particular order!)
- Saint Saens, The Carnival of the Animals
- Johann Strauss II, The Blue Danube Waltz
- Beethoven, 5th Symphony in C minor
- Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
- Brahms Hungarian Dance #5
- Rimsky-Korsakov Flight of the Bumble Bee (explore in different instruments!)
- Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody in C sharp Minor
- Mozart Symphony No. 40 in G Minor
- Grieg Peer Gynt Suites 1&2
- Prokofiev Peter and the Wolf
- Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker in its entirety
- Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake in its entirety
- Chopin Nocturne op.9 No.2
- Bizet Les Toreadors
- Some great suggestions here as well: http://www.letsplaykidsmusic.com/14-best-classical-music-tracks-for-kids/
Going to See a Live Performance: There is nothing like seeing the orchestra perform first hand. That being said, don’t spend a fortune on your tickets! Keep in mind that your child might not be ready to sit through an entire “grown-up” orchestra performance since there is little in terms of visual stimulation. I recommend seeing more child friendly shows similar to the Youth Orchestra performance that we saw last week. The tickets were $20 for adults $5 for children. You might also find that your local college, music school or a high school is doing a show. Here are some of the upcoming performances on our calendar:
- March 30th: Free Concert @ Berkley School of Music Featuring Marimba and Berkley Percussion Ensemble.
- April 7th: Free Concert by BYSO @ The Boston Children’s Museum Featuring Petit Ensemble (BYSO’s youngest string players).
- April 10th: Free Concert by Berkley Clarinet Choir
- April 12th: Free Concert by Berkley Spring Winds, Flutes and Piano
- April 29th: Presto Change-o! by BYSO featuring a magician (tickets $20/adult) at the Symphony Hall
- May 7th: Free Concert by BYSO @ BU Concert Hall Featuring Petit Ensemble.
Follow up with instrument making at home: Our follow up activity this week was making our own instruments. While we stuck to very basic and familiar designs, there are so many ways that you can go with this activity.
- Make a simple shaker from old pasta/dried beans, pipe cleaners, tape, paper cups and some bedazzlements 🙂
- Make a “guitar” with an an empty plastic container and a range of rubber bands that differ length and thickness to allow for a wider range of sound.
- We also attempted to make a wind instrument with rubber bands and a cardboard tube. While our result was not very successful, it still captured the basic idea of how the wind instruments produce sound.
- Importantly we had a lot of fun! If you are stuck indoors like we were this snowy Tuesday, I recommend this activity accompanied by the classical music on the background.
Later this week, we take a break from the classics with a fun filled performance by the Boston Children’s Theater – Curious George and the Golden Meatball : ) Join us, there are still tickets left!
Anna and Valentina