Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Music Appreciation: Orchestra for Kids

We liked A Child's Introduction to Poetry (discovered through the Sonlight curriculum) so well, that when I saw an almost identical book on the orchestra, I decided to make it part of our summer studies.  Turns out they aren't by the same author, though the illustrator is the same.  It's called The Story of the Orchestra by Robert Levine, currently available at Amazon for $13.57.

We are required to teach music appreciation, and this fits into that well.  Even though it is centered on the orchestra, there is a lot of info in there that would apply to general music education.  A nice touch is that both books came with a CD.  The tracks coordinate with what is covered on the pages, adding a great deal of interest to the topic.

Before each round of reading, I've been doing a review in which Kylen is to tell me the name of each period, the composers we read about in that period, and one interesting detail about each composer.  I still chuckle every time he talks about Tchaikovsky.  He was a hypochondriac who, at one particular concert, was convinced his head was falling off.  He actually held on to his head with one hand and conducted with the other!  LOL!!!  Even typing about it right now, I can't help laughing - it's just so ridiculous!

The bulk of the book covers instruments.  This can be rather dry at times, but the cartoonish illustrations and colorful tidbits help.  A few interesting morsels from the string section, which we just finished today: the f-slots on a violin are holes!!!!  (OK, maybe that is a "duh" for most people, but I always assumed they were painted on or something for decoration.)  Cello is pronounced "chello" because the "ce" is pronounced "ch" in Italian.  (Greg, smarty pants that he is, already knew that.  Then again, he knows a little Italian, so no wonder!)  Harps have some colored strings, making it easier for the player to find certain ones.  (Totally makes sense!  Just looking at all those strings would make me cross-eyed!)


katrina said...

I haven't heard of that book but am going to have to get it! I am also going to have to get back on track with school....been a little slow going over here :)

Farrah said...

Oh, don't feel bad about those slow times! You guys have had a lot of stuff on your plates lately.