Peter and the Wolf

Konos Unit: Attentiveness
Theme: Music

Although I do educational activities with Rachel, the focus of our school day is mostly on Nicholas. However, I include Rachel in our activities whenever possible. With our Konos curriculum, this is actually easier to do than I had expected. While at the library picking out books and resources for our study of music and composers, I happened to find a DVD by Sesame Street that was a performance of Mozart's The Magic Flute, all performed by Sesame Street characters!

Even though Nicholas didn't want to watch the show with us because "Sesame Street is for babies!", I asked him to sit with us and give it a try. Here he is pouting.

But a few minutes into it, he was laughing right along with the show.

Peter and the Wolf is a musical children's story. It is the perfect way to introduce young children to the orchestra. And of course, Sesame Street makes it even easier to do that.

Each character in the story has a particular instrument:

* Bird: flute
* Duck: oboe
* Cat: clarinet
* Grandfather: bassoon
* Wolf: French horns
* Hunters: woodwind theme, with gunshots on timpani and bass drum
* Peter: string instruments

Children can hear the deep sounds of the French horn and realize that music can invoke feelings of worry or fear, as in the wolf coming on the scene. It is really a great production to show the importance of music in storytelling because of the emotions it creates.

Both of the kids really enjoyed the show.

I love that Rachel sat glued to the entire performance Who would have thought that a 2 year old could learn anything about the orchestra but she has! She can name instruments and she can now tell you about a classic symphony performance. I really love that Konos encourages this type of multi-level interactive learning. She wouldn't have picked up on anything if Nicholas and I were just studying about music out of a textbook!

Of course, he's having a blast while he's learning too.

After the show was over, Nicholas brought out my electric keyboard and started to play it. I love how easily he gets inspired about what we are learning and how he goes out on his own to explore the topics further.

What was really neat is that my keyboard has buttons that can change the sound of the notes you play to make them sound like other instruments in the orchestra.

We spent about an hour listening to the sounds of different instruments, listening to different chords, octaves, and more. How neat! Nicholas brought out the keyboard completely on his own. I don't know that I would have thought to include it in our school work.

Yep, I think Konos is going to work for us this year.

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