"Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature can not do without." ~Confucius

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What we're listening to... in the car!

Isn't our society amazing? Never before has there been such an ability to multi-task! A few-hours' ride to the beach can become an educational experience instead of just a "when will we get there????"-fest.

K will sit and listen to music, stories, etc. often, but in the car, he really seems to zone in on what is going on with the materials. Little J picks up what he can. He's a rather silly lad and will laugh out loud at a word or sound that he thinks is funny.

So, on our most recent rides hither and tither as we get the most out of these last few weeks of summer, here are three listening materials that are getting good mileage on our trips:

"Elmo and the Orchestra" by Sesame Street

 This Sesame Street CD has Elmo and Big Bird meeting up with an orchestra made up of "little birdies" who take them on a musical tour as Elmo tries to remember one very famous symphony he had heard before. The hubs and I appreciated the humor throughout... like the conductor, Leonard Birdseed and the famous pianist Barbara F. Seville... but this is probably the boys #1 requested listening in the car recently. K loves the "storm" piece (from Beethoven's 6th) and J loves the "fast drums" song (Khachaturian's Sabre Dance).   We got this out of the library, but will be purchasing it soon!

"Peter and the Wolf" (Book adapt. by Janet Schulman)

There is no shortage of adaptations of the story of "Peter and the Wolf." It is a tale set to music by Sergei Prokofiev in 1936 on a commission for him to create a 'children's symphony.' Although this piece was not received with much enthusiasm at its first performance (much to the composer's chagrin), it has continued to be performed and loved by children for many years and is one of the most popular pieces of music of the 20th century.

We've been listening to the narrated CD that comes along with this book. The illustrations are very folk-like and I love that the instruments assigned to each character are included throughout.
One spoiler for some will be that the story is adapted from the original... like, the wolf gets taken back to the forest, not the zoo; and the duck gets coughed up, rather than stay in the wolf's belly.
(I'll do a future post on more Peter and the Wolf options someday, I hope....)

"The Carnival of the Animals"  Text/Narration by Jack Prelutsky

Again, a very famous work for children, Saint-Saens "Carnival of the Animals" is a very creative piece with a variety of musical pictures that mimic the animals (or non animals.... like a piano). This book is narrated by the esteemed Jack Prelutsky (who also narrated the Harry Potter audio book series), with is admirable vocal inflections. The illustrations are intriguing and inviting, the rhyming text flows poetically, and the music is, as always, descriptive and joyful.

So, enjoy those long car rides and pick up a few of these to open up your kids' minds to the creative genius in these musical selections.

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