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

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

DIY "Peter And the Wolf" - Characters with Instruments

Who doesn't love "Peter and the Wolf" by Sergei Prokofiev? The melodies, instruments, story, etc....
Well, you can create your own Peter And the Wolf-type activity at home with a favorite story of your choosing.  All you need is a favorite book, some various instruments and some kids!
We had a lot of fun with this, hopefully you can too!

I chose a story that was simple, had a few re-appearing characters and was already a well-known story to my kiddos..... "The Little Mouse, The Red-Ripe Strawberry and The Big Hungry Bear" by Don and Audrey Wood.

They love this story and it leant itself easily to 3 characters who would each get an instrument sound: the mouse, the strawberry and the bear.... and since I had 2 boys participating in this and one would be upset if he didn't have as many as his brother, I also stuck in the page turn as needing an instrument.

First, I printed out a sheet with each "character" (again, pics from a google image search. And yes, I am STILL out of my color ink cartridge!)

Next, I had the kiddos go and gather instruments.

They chose which instruments should be assigned to which characters (It was fun to see which instruments they picked for each one; the drum went fairly easily to the "Big Hungry Bear").
We practiced playing each instrument when the character's name was said before starting the book.

Then, the performance began with a musical introduction (which was incredibly loud and I'm amazed it didn't wake up little brother).

We read through the story once (with me helping them with extra emphasis on particular words and waiting for them to remember which instrument was what), then finished with an exciting musical finale where they all played as loudly as possible.

We went through it again under the instructions that they had to remember to use their instrument on their own, and by this time, they were pro's! :-)

They were uber excited about this and wanted to try it again with "Peter Pan" - another favorite - which has many more characters, so we recruited more instruments and went to round 2, which was a little harder to keep track of, but still lots of fun.

This was great for more opportunities to use instruments, matching instrument sounds with character-types,  practicing listening and remembering skills, and a great, user-friendly connection to a great piece of music - since you can remind them of how Prokofiev used different instruments for his characters in his musical tale,  Peter and the Wolf.

We may try this again this week with "Where the Wild Things Are" since especially that middle "rumpus" section would work well for some instrumental improvising. :-)

What other stories would you use?

Have fun!