Happy April, everyone! We’ve been experiencing some April showers already, but for the most part, our weather has been very enjoyable. If you are looking for some inspiration for listening lessons this month, here are some pieces for you to load onto your playlist!
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When I sit down to plan listening lessons for the month, I make a list of the different events that month. I like to start with composer birthdays. This month, we say “happy birthday” to Sergei Rachmaninoff (April 1st), Serge Prokofieff (April 27th) and Duke Ellington (April 29th)! If you can’t find a composer you would like to feature, you can always use a favorite musician. I like to use a mix of modern and older musicians in class.
Once I have selected a featured musician/composer of the month, I go through each week, noting important celebrations or holidays. This month is jazz appreciation month! Also this month, we celebrate Earth Day.
You can make a simple listening log sheet for your children like this one from Aileen Miracle. For something more simple for preschoolers, you can lay out coloring paper and crayons/colored pencils for your children. I’d recommend listening to the music selection you choose two or three times total. The first time, just listen, then you can talk about what you’ve heard. On the second time through, you can add a different component for listening.
Important April dates:
- April 1st: April Fool’s Day- Try a piece of music that has a lot of surprises in it, like Haydn’s Surprise Symphony!
- April 18th: Tax Day-you could brush up on patriotic songs
- April 22nd: Earth Day- To celebrate Earth Day, you can listen to Holst’s The Planets (check out this post I did on The Planets). See if you can figure out why Earth was not included, and talk about what it might sound like if it were included in The Planets. Handel’s Water Music would be a good listen, as well!
- April 29th: Arbor Day-read a book about trees, (like The Giving Tree), and learn a song about trees. The Green Grass Grows All Around is a fun song about a tree that is always a favorite with children. It may be hard for younger children to sing along with, but they would enjoy listening to it.
- April 30th: International Jazz Day- check out some of the jazz books below to introduce young children to jazz!
Suggested Playlist for April
- The Planets, Holst
- Water Music, Handel
- Prelude in C sharp minor, Op. 3, No. 2 (for piano), Rachmaninoff
- Cinderella, Op. 87, Prokofiev
- Take the “A” Train, Duke Ellington
- In a Sentimental Mood, sung by Ella Fitzgerald
Hopefully, this gives you plenty of music to add to your playlist this month. Happy listening!