In our household, the girls refer to classical music as “ballet music,” much to my embarrassment. Classical music is so much more than that! So it was a great surprise that they received this book from my Dad as a gift. It’s a picture book about the composer Charles Ives who was inspired by everyday sounds, such as car horns, footsteps, and a ship’s whistle. After reading the story a few times, we listened to the song that the story is about, From Hanover Square North (note that the book does not include a cd; I found the song on YouTube). The girls enjoyed picking out the different street sounds in the piece.
We also borrowed from the library an excellent book/cd set for exploring the imagery that classical music can create, Can You Hear It?. This book pairs classical songs with art, so the children can look at the accompanying art while listening to the song, hearing how the different orchestral instruments make the sounds that evoke the imagery. We are having so much fun with this, listening to bumblebees buzz, graceful skaters skating, or bubbles rising to the surface of the ocean. Sample songs include Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumlebee, Gershwin’s An American in Paris, and excerpts from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. So far we have enjoyed dancing and acting out the imagery, but I think we will also paint/draw along to the music as well. Actually, this book is going to go on my to-buy list, because we all enjoy it so much. The art is beautiful too; it will be a great resource as we are learning about different artists.