As we have been continuing our Carnival of the Animals listening lessons, we have now reached the tortoises. This is my favorite part because I get to tell the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. It is a great piece for younger children (like the rest of Carnival of the Animals) because it is not very long and it lends itself easily to movement.
The music of Tortoises may sound familiar to you. It uses the melody of the famous Can-Can, which is a very fast piece of music. How exactly does it do that, you may wonder? The composer transformed the melody from a fast Can-Can to a very slow-moving Can-Can.
The story of the Tortoise and The Hare
I like to use the story of the tortoise and the hare when I play the Tortoise from Carnival of the Animals. Here is the story of the tortoise and the hare, in case you are unfamiliar with it. One day, the tortoise and the hare were racing. The tortoise was a very slow creature, while the hare was extremely fast. When the race began, the hare left the tortoise far behind in the dust. It looked as though the tortoise didn’t have a chance. Then, the hare began to get a little too comfortable with his lead and took a nap. By the time he woke up from his nap, it was too late. As fast as he was, he could not make it to the finish line before the tortoise.
If you choose to tell the story, you could play the original melody of the Can-Can to represent the fast Hare and then compare it to Tortoises. This is a great introduction to teaching children different tempos of music.
In class, we practiced moving slowly like the tortoise along with the music as we lined up at the end of class.
Ideas to try at home
- coloring pictures of the story
- retelling the story of the Tortoise and the Hare
- comparing and contrasting the different versions of the story
- listening to the Can-Can and listening for it in the music from Tortoises
- moving like a tortoise
- having your own race with one child acting out the tortoise and the other acting out the hare
- practicing passing shoes to the beat