Saturday, July 14, 2012

Night Music and Poetry

One of my favorite parts of this unit, surprisingly, was playing these night-themed piano pieces for the kids.
I played Nocturnes by Respighi and Grieg and Chopin, and Debussy's Clair de Lune. We also listened to recordings of "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" (how could we not?!) and Cole Porter's "Night and Day."

I remember having a conversation with my sister-in-law one time about teaching music to my (then hypothetical) children. I said I didn't know if I wanted to teach them myself, and she said, but didn't I want to share my love of music with them personally---didn't I fear that no one else could convey it the same way I myself could? I saw her point, and I saw that her enthusiasm for teaching her own kids was a huge bonus for them, but I still just wasn't sure: I'm not a piano teacher, I'm a pianist! I felt (and still feel) like I didn't have the extra musical energy (if that's even a thing), or the training, to improve my own piano skills at the same time I was trying to foster my kids'. Not that I couldn't gain that ability by experience, or that others might not do that very thing quite effortlessly, but I just didn't think I could. And I didn't really have the desire to.

All that background to say, that those were my feelings on teaching my own kids piano lessons---but I find that teaching them MUSIC is very different. Here is where I LOVE to share and discuss with them. I love to play for them and ask them, "What did you hear?" "What did you notice?" I love it when they say, "Play that part again!" or "How did you make those sounds?" It's so fun to share my excitement about music, as a language, with them---not necessarily the terms and the specifics (though I find those interesting and work them in when I can)---but just the overall joy of it all. The way certain chord progressions surprise us. The way keys have color, and mood. Text painting and tone painting. I loved those parts of my theory and music history classes and I really love sharing them with my kids.

Poems we talked about:
"Acquainted with the Night" (Robert Frost)
"The Raven" (Edgar Allen Poe)---they loved this one

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