It was 9 AM on a grey, winter’s morning. The wind howled and the rain poured relentlessly. But inside our cosy car we were lost in the world of Papageno and the Queen of the Night. The rain didn’t stand a chance against the magnificent operatic strains of The Magic Flute.
We’ve listened to Mozart’s Magic Fantasy many times now, but I’ll always associate it with that first, glorious car journey. We arrived at our destination filled with excitement for the day ahead – in blessed contrast to the other families, with their yawns and grumbles about the weather!
Isn’t it wonderful, the way that music can transform everyday experiences into sublime adventures?
For me, one of the many joys of homeschooling is learning to enjoy classical music alongside my children.
Our favourite resource is the Classical Kids CD series. We began in medieval Venice with Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery, which tells the story of young orphan Katarina’s adventures during the festival for the dead. The exciting tale is beautifully interweaved with the enchanting music of Katarina’s violin teacher, Antonio Vivaldi.
The rest of our music “curriculum” I pull together from the internet. I search lists of noted composers (like this New York Times one or this one) and their most famous works. Then I source the music on YouTube.
I love it when I turn up gems like this “rant” about Pachelbel’s Canon in D. The comedian’s demonstration of how classical music permeates our culture is hilarious. My kids watch it over and over.
Historical and geographical context
I like to see where composers fit into history, so I’ve created a composers’ timeline on our Timeline Builder app. The kids haven’t paid much attention to the timeline so far, but they might do when we progress beyond the fourteenth century in history.
We naturally learn about the places and eras occupied by the composers we listen to, and sometimes vice versa.
Eighteenth century Venice was brought to life for us by Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery, and it was interesting to learn a little about the music of Edvard Grieg before we visited Norway.
Homeschool music appreciation 2013-14
If either of my children expresses an interest in going deeper, I’ll be delighted to support their explorations. Until then, we’ll be happy learning about classical music together in this easygoing, meandering manner.
I’m linking with these great link-ups:
Highhill Homeschool’s music lesson planning link-up.