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

Monday, March 4, 2013

Teaching about the Orchestra!

The boys and I are getting ready to go to an educational concert based on the wonderful story, "Beethoven Lives Upstairs."  They are excited, and a bit confused about what this experience will be like.
So, we created a concert experience to a) teach them about what it's like to play in an orchestra, and b) get them prepared for going to see the concert.

I must say that my good friend Elmo has been helpful in this venture. The CD "Elmo and the Orchestra" which I mentioned before in this post, has been very instructive for the boys in learning more about instruments and classical music. I found myself referring to Elmo a lot in our activity.... like, "remember Elmo called them the BIG double basses?" and "Yes, maybe the orchestra WILL play the 'storm' one."

So, our tasks today were to assemble an orchestra, arrange them on a stage, gather an audience and enjoy a wonderful concert!

Enter..... plastic people. Including super heroes. And pirates.

First, I went online and dragged and resized some coloring pages of selected orchestral instruments to be pint-sized for our purposes.

If you'd like to join in the fun, pick a few of your favorites, arrange their size to fit your peeps and print them out! Most of the ones I printed out had lighter lines, so they're harder to see in the pic... sorry. :-/

Next, grab some coloring utensils, scissors, tape, a box for the stage and lots of little plastic people.

Have kids color the instruments any colors they'd like. Go over the names of the instruments, whether it's a shiny brass, a percussion, a string or a woodwind instrument. The instruments we used were violins, double basses, clarinets, trumpets and timpani.

When each instrument is done being colored, cut it out and ask the child/ren to assign instruments to various "players."
They can use tape to affix the instruments to each person, they may need help depending on age.
(The "stage" has a picture drawn on a piece of paper by K (above) when asked to draw an orchestra.)

  Once all the instruments are assigned, you can help your kids make sure the "musicians" sit/stand with like instruments - the "buddies" stick together, and they all work hard to make awesome music. They're like players on a team - similar to baseball, soccer, etc. teams.

Next, we had Daddy the pirate, Mommy, K and J come to the concert. They gave their ticket to the man at the "door" and  found their seats. K brought along his lego robot spaceship and J brought along his sports car. Normal occurrences in concert halls, of course.

The orchestra played their beautiful music. It was exciting, thrilling, and very loud. :-)

If you'd like, you can play a portion of a symphony here for some listening fun. Just grab one of your favorite recordings, or if you have no idea where to start, go to YouTube or Pandora, etc. and type in "Beethoven Symphony" or "Mozart Symphony" or "Dvorak Symphony" and you'll get plenty of options.
 (Thank you, Batman, for that thrilling violin solo.)
(one pirate needed a block because he was too short...)

...and the audience rose to their feet in grateful applause!

We were having so much fun, we realized we forgot a very important person... the conductor. We quickly grabbed one from among the eager volunteers and all was well.

This was great fun and helped get the boys more pumped for seeing the real, live orchestra soon!
Hope you can give it a try too!

1 comment:

  1. Such a great idea! Both of my kids play string instruments and never understood their position or placement in an orchestra until they were placed in one at 5th grade. I love this concept so that kids understand where and why the instruments need to be. Pinned!