Wednesday, August 19, 2009

on classical music, forests and rats

So, I’ve been trying to get my kids more familiar and more in love with great classical music (any tips on how to do this?). Last week we were driving in the car, Emmeline was asleep and I realized I had a perfectly captive audience. I put on one of my all time favorite songs ever: Bach’s prelude in G for cello. It is amazing. I turned it up loud and told Hazel and Charlie to close their eyes and tell me what picture they saw in their heads. After all listening intently, in miraculous silence for quite a while I turned it down and asked them to tell me what pictures they say in their head.

Hazel: “I was in a forest. It was beautiful and sunny and there was a lot of wind and then it turned into the music.”

Beautiful stuff. I love that girl.

Charlie: “Rats.”

Mom: “what?”

Charlie: “RATS. First they were alive, and then they were dead.”

Hmmm. Hmmmm. Not exactly the classical music lesson I had in mind.

Take a listen and see what comes to your mind.

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  1. Love this. I just had the twins listen to it with me (they wanted to play with trains so they were a bit reluctant but finally went along). I pulled up a you tube video of a guy playing the Prelude and taught them a bit about the cello then I had them close their eyes and tell me what they could see. Silas: "nufing" Oliver: "Can I go now?" But we listened longer and I described the horses running and birds flying that came to mind and we ran around the house flapping our wings and soaring to the music (well, Ollie didn't - he watched me and Si and played with my cell phone). Then I had them listen some more and asked if they saw anything else and Si said "racecars and trains!" I guess I could see that - really beautiful race cars and trains going in sort of slow motion maybe...We'll keep trying! Thanks for the idea!

  2. Hi Saydi, it's the former Hermana Hinckley here. I wandered to your blog when I found you on facebook. . . lovely photos and cute kids! I am married to a classical musician, a cellist who plays this very Bach piece, but he really makes our living as an opera tenor. (Sadly, he had two solo gigs in Boston last year with Boston Baroque and the Handel and Haydn but I did not know you were there. One of our common friends on facebook tended my baby so I could hear my husband in the Messiah in the beautiful symphony hall last December). So our kids have a lot of classical music in their lives. As a baby, our son would only stop crying when my husband was singing in full, very loud, opera voice and he used to go crazy for the overture of Cosi fan tutte. Both our kids are very musical and mimic Brian's warm ups. We have lots of music time in our home where Brian plays the piano and sings with them. Most music time consists of silly songs, but they are very much exposed to real instruments and great music. We love to watch Fantasia and Willy the Operatic Whale (since Daddy sings like Willy). They both are fun ways to get familiar with a lot of classical music, and sadly with Willy, to teach about death and going to heaven. We also have a little music group with other moms in our neighborhood that has been very fun. Yes, the greater the exposure, the greater the love. My husband was so mad at Baby Einsteins Meet the Orchestra DVD because they did not even use real instruments so beware! Take care Saydi! We need another hot tub reunion sometime. I just saw TeraLee yesterday and almost saw Josie in London in 2007 (but then our plans changed).

  3. Dad read this to me last night and it was a fun giggle! I didn't know there was a "listening spot". I'll try that next. That wonderful imaginative Hazel and funny funny Charlie! We miss you!

  4. Love, love, love this piece! And so do my kids! We also picture in our minds what the music is telling us. Sometimes I tell them a story to the music, sometimes they color or paint, many times we do interpretive dancing and jumping. Landon definitely tries to jump as high as he can.

  5. Carissa12:59 AM

    Saydi - have you heard of the children's group? My son LOVES the Magic Flute and can listen to it everyday for the whole 45 minutes. They have intros to other composers too.
    Some libraries have them - but is cheapest if you want to buy new and amazon for 2nd hand. LOVE seeing how your family grows. MISS YOU!!! and Belated HAPPY BDAY!!!

  6. We have a very funny CD called Beethoven's Wig: Sing Along Symphonies. They set lyrics to some of the most famous classical pieces. The lyrics are hilarious and actually usually teach a little bit about the composer or the piece or the style. My favorite is "Please Don't Play Your Violin at Night...Wolfgang, go to bed, turn out the light!" (Eine Kline Nachtmusik) Oliver always requests "the kicking dance song" Offenbach's Can Can, which includes the line "If you go to Paris, France, you can do the Can Can Dance, kick your legs up in ze air, shake, shake, shake your derriere." We get lots of giggles out of that even though he has no idea what a derriere is! You can read about these CDs (who knew there was more than one?!) at



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