"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life." Charlotte Mason
Monday, February 6, 2012
Instruments: Listening and Looking
This year we have been studying the instruments of the orchestra. A fellow home schooling mom recommended Alice in Orchestralia by Ernest La Prade just as we started our school year. The girls immediately loved adding this to their weekly reading schedule. They continued to use The Story of the Orchestra as an illustrated reference of the instruments. They've also been enjoying The Instruments of Classical Music CD's. My younger daughter has been drawing them in an instrument notebook as they listen to a selection.
I was very excited to attend a cute rendition of Peter and the Wolf at our performing arts theater last week. It was just perfect for the little boys and their older sisters were very quick to give them their opinions on instruments and sounds. It was set up as an act with music in the background. It was fun, but the girls were hoping to see the actual instruments being played. My oldest daughter also had a chance to visit a Drum Factory on a field trip with friends about two weeks ago. She learned all about how a drum is made from beginning to end. Again, she enjoyed the experience, but her pet peeve: she didn't get to see them played in a classical piece. (sigh)
Well, this morning the girls were frantically looking in our arts cabinet for a CD. Alice in Orchestralia had just given them a very nice description of Rossini's Overture of William Tell. Sadly, I didn't have it. But, oh, do we appreciate the Internet at moments like this. We found a few You-Tube selections of the piece. This one in particular focused in on the instruments being played as the girls listened. They were overjoyed. The back and forth between them was wonderful. I don't know why I didn't think of it before! They were missing an important aspect of their instrument study: looking at the instrument as it is played in a classical piece. They've gotten very good at listening to a sound and recognizing the instrument but they really needed to enjoy making a visual connection!
Next on my list is definitely to get some instruments with some lessons. I have not been very good about this, but at least they can appreciate the wonderful sounds instruments can create. We're coming close to the end of Alice and I'm so glad we had a chance to read it, thanks for the recommendation Eva : D