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  • Betsyrosef

Going back to the Classics!

Updated: Jul 15, 2020

Classical Music!

This week, we are learning a bit about Classical Music, about the instrument families, and what to expect when going to a concert.

I am not going to lie, this was an intimidating topic for me. There is just SO MUCH information and things I could put in here! I grew up playing piano and violin. My parents had season tickets to the Hastings Symphony (in Hastings, NE) and when I was in high school, I played violin with them for a few years. I completely nerd out when certain pieces come on. I jam out in my car to Toccata and Fugue in D Minor like most people rock out to their favorite 80’s song.

While researching materials and ideas for this blog, I came across this Mom’s blog article “How to make classical music fun for kids” where she said that kids don’t accidentally learn to like classical music. I love that, and I think it is So. True. But it can be hard to start, so here are some fun activities to do with your kids!

This week, I am adding in an “Older Kid Challenge” for any of you who have older kids or kids who already know some of the basics we are talking about. Feel free to try them or leave them!


Meet the Orchestra Monday!

To start, print out THESE instrument flashcards. THIS link shows you how to organize them into families.

Once that's done, get your kids and let’s meet the Orchestra with George. This video is the CUTEST and does a fantastic job going over the instrument families (Using the flashcards, see if you can put each instrument into its family).

Now let’s get it into your body! Can you copy my actions for each instrument family?

FANTASTIC! Take turns shouting out an instrument family, and doing the correct movement.

Alright, now that you are a pro with Instrument Families, can you watch THIS piece, 1812 Overture Finale Excerpt, and SHOW me which family you are see/hear? (It changes a lot so pay attention!)

Ok, here's your CHALLENGE! Can you do that again, but only LISTEN to the piece. Can you tell the difference in the different families sound?

*Older Student Challenge:

Try THIS Interactive Game? Can you remember all the family and instruments' names? Now print the Modern Orchestra Set up, cut all the sections out and see if you can put it back together!


Talk about it Tuesday:

Ludwig Van Beethoven December 16, 1770 - March 26, 1827

Activity 1: Let’s talk some history! This week we are focusing on Ludwig Van Beethoven and what he did for classical music and the orchestra.

Read THIS paragraph about his life and listen to THIS 5 min clip about his impact on the symphony! Both are quick and simple.

*Older Student challenge (or if you have a student who is just loving it!): Here are 3 more 5 min clips about Beethoven. Check them out and if you are feeling especially confident, take the quiz that goes along with it!

  • Clip 1 Beethoven and the piano.

  • Clip 2 These songs sound like clocks… (and one even inspired Cinderella!)

  • Clip 3 Did you know artists today reference Beethoven?

Activity 2: Craft Time! Let’s make a Conductor's Baton

Remember yesterday when George learned about the orchestra? Do you remember how the conductor uses that funny stick (Conductor’s Baton) to make the orchestra play? Well now it’s your turn!

Make your Baton!

THIS uses wood skewers and wine corks. An unsharpened pencil

with ribbon or tape rolled around one end would also work!

Conduct the Orchestra!

Listening to THIS piece, The William Tell Overture Finale, and take turns conducting the orchestra!

  • (HERE is a fun video to learn a bit more about conducting if your kids are interested!)

  • Remember! Conduct big when the music is LOUD (Forte, for-tay) and small when the music is soft (piano).

  • When you are not conducting, can you pretend to play along with the song? See if you can match the instruments you are hearing!


Watch It Wednesday! Fantasia!

I grew up watching the original Fantasia. It is a great fun way to introduce littles to some classics (Side note, my mom never let me watch Night on Bald Mountain, the 2nd to last song. Too scary. Check it out before you show it to littles).

Go ahead and watch it! (It is on Disney +, or you can find most of it on youtube). But not the WHOLE thing yet, Just the beginning through when Mickey gets in trouble with magic ( Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, Nutcracker Suit (all 6 parts) Sorcerer’s Apprentice). Questions to ask?

  1. Does the music always have a story?

  2. If it doesn’t, what does it do?

Now it’s your turn to use your imagination and create!

Listen to THIS part of the Pastoral Symphony by Beethoven. While listening...

  1. Can you draw what you hear?

  2. Is your picture a story or just colors/one object or item?

  3. Can you tell me the emotion of the piece?

  4. If you were going to make up a story to the song, what would it be?

Once you are done, go watch the rest of Fantasia! How is their story different than yours? Were the emotions the same?

Try it out Thursday!

It’s time to make more instruments! Check out THIS pin on how to make egg shakers/ Maracas and your own horn/kazoo!


  • Listening to this week’s playlist, (DJ's Choice, Fantasia, or Classical for Kids) can you move and dance along with the pieces (songs)? Can you make your moves and body BIG when the song is LOUD (forte, for-tay) and low to the ground/small when the music is soft (piano)?

  • DJ’s: Take turns being “it” and pausing the music whenever you want, and when the music is off, we all FREEZE! Funniest face/frozen picture wins!

  • Now try playing your Maracas or Horn while you dance!

  • CHALLENGE (what do we say to a challenge?) Can you move like the emotion of the song!


Food and Fun Friday!

Concert Etiquette/ Concert Time!

I found out Beethoven’s favorite food! HERE is the short article about it, but I’ll give you the highlights

“He loved macaroni with butter and cheese and a soup with twelve drowned eggs. He chose fish over meat, his favorite was Pollock with potatoes. He liked flat water and light Austrian wine.”

We can skip the “drowned eggs” but I am loving this wine and mac n’ cheese idea! HERE is the macaroni and cheese recipe

While you are sipping your wine and making mac n cheese, let me talk to your kids about Concert Etiquette.

A concert night at home:

HERE is a live recording of Peter the Wolf (I love this one!)

Let’s make a night of it! Dress up fancy and "go to the concert!" Practice your best Concert Etiquette while watching Peter and the Wolf! Don't forget to take a family pic and post it to our fb!

There you have it!!! I hope it was a fun week for you all and you got to learn something new! Below I have a few more cartoons, live concerts, books and playlists for you! Enjoy!


Additional Resources

Upcoming live streamed concerts

Cartoons Live Ballet Performances

Peter and the Wolf Swan Lake Ballet

Silly Symphony The Nutcracker Ballet

More Playlists! Books:

Beethoven for Kids Zin Zin Zin a Violin

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