She posted that she is going to focus on a classical composer each month and that she would expose her children to works by that composer. I think it's a fantastic idea! In teaching, I have found that little kids are much more open to different genres of music and don't have all the negative associations that older people do (e.g., they don't find classical music as "stuffy" or "elitist") and it's a great time to begin shaping their tastes. I think that some of my favourite moments in teaching have involved having my students play imaginary timpani along with Sibelius' Finlandia, playing imaginary instruments from the string family along with Vivaldi's Four Seasons or pretending to play a trumpet with Copeland's Fanfare for the Common Man. Why wouldn't I begin that with my own child?
As a graduate of music in university, it may seem odd but we don't listen to a lot of music in our house. I seriously believe that I suffer from A.D.H.D. and I have found that since I hit my 30's, I have a really hard time tuning out extraneous stuff going on around me. A t.v. in the background makes me think I will lose my mind and at workshops, when we need to read and comment on a text, I am almost incapable of retaining what I have read unless there is silence. It's very frustrating. Because of it, though, I don't often have music on unless it's a CD from one of Pk's music classes and it's "homework". I tend to avoid art music in the background especially (I don't know whether it's a universal term but when I was at university, what is commonly referred to as "classical" music was called "art music" since "classical music" really refers to music from the classical period, composers such as Haydn and Mozart). We used to have these exams that were joking called "drop the needle" - we were responsible to learn a selection of music and at the exam, the prof would randomly play excerpts and we had to name the composer, the period, the movement and the title of the piece. When I am anywhere that art music is playing (like a restaurant or a bookstore), I find myself trying to identify what I am hearing and if it doesn't come to me right away, I brood on it.
I like the idea of being deliberate about exposing my children to a different composer a month. I don't think I will do much teaching yet - they are so young, I think that right now, it's just the exposure that's important and we can learn more down the road, as interests develop and music lessons become more structured. For now, I just want to build appreciation of different styles and to develop their ears to hear different instruments and musical elements.
This month, Jill is presenting Mozart and that seems as good a place to start as any. I have to be honest (and Jill and I have been having a fun conversation about this), as a former trombone player, Mozart isn't my favourite. He didn't include a whole lot of low brass in his compositions, although in his Requiem Mass, there is a trombone solo, in the Tuba Mirum, that took years off my life in terms of being scary to play. I tend to like darker, moodier and more richly orchestrated music but I can recognize his absolute genius and appreciate the balance of lightness and sophistication in his creations. Of course, there's also his absolute genius, the HUGE extent of his repertoire and his ability to create a long-standing work of art in one sitting.
We are going to listen primarily to two of his symphonies that I enjoy - Symphony No. 40 and Symphony No. 41 "Jupiter". Not surprisingly, 40 is in G minor so I get my need for darkness filled. Dh claims that he remembers it being used in a Smurfs episode, which is definitely possible. I love the Requiem Mass but I may save that one for down the road. I would guess that Pk might find parts of it a bit scary (e.g., the Dies Irae, one of my favourite movements). Someone gave Baby Bean a Mozart CD for babies that I don't mind either - it's some of his gentler stuff performed by piano, flute, trumpet, violin and cello.
If you listen to Mozart, what are your favourites?