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Music For Children Essay, Research Paper

Music For Children Music is an important component for all people to

posses in their lives. A child should be introduced to music at a very

young age. The introduction of every type of music from classical all

the way to modern rock is important. This gives a child the ability to

form their own opinion to what they might like the best. Classical music

can teach a child every aspect of music including, harmony, themes,

dynamics, polymeters, and polyrhythms. These are the components that are

scarce in modern music today. The three major components of variation

are melody, rhythm, and meter. Variation is an important key to teach a

child so that they understand the there are many different ways to

approach music and life. The composer Lucien Caillet wrote many

variations on the theme “Pop Goes the Weasel”. Most children have heard

this tune in cartoons or songs at school not realizing the classical

context. This is a wonderful piece for children because of the dramatic

and calm instrumentals followed by the variations of the theme. The

music has a whimsical cheerful feel to it and is a perfect example for

an introduction, theme, five variations of the theme followed by a coda.

These are all important parts of a piece for a child to recognize.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is a remarkable composer that all children

should study. The piece, “Ah, Vous Dirai-je, Maman” is perfect for a

child in that it resembles a well known nursery rhyme, “Twinkle Twinkle

Little Star”. This piece is also an example of variations of theme. This

begins as a simple melody transforming into a complex variation

containing a difference in meter throughout the variations with in an

increase in tempo. The composition has a very light and cheerful

familiar sound to it and could easily attract the attention of a child.

The use of sensory imagery in music, impressionism, is another form

helpful to increase interest and make music enjoyable. Modest Petrovich

Mussorgsky composed a piece, “Promenade, from pictures of an exhibition”

solely around an art exhibition. This is a dark and gloomy symphony that

represents a marching soldier and paints a vivid picture of an army.

Another composer using imagery was Aram Khachaturian, he composed a work

called “Sabre Dance”. This is an extremely energetic powerful piece that

paints a definite picture of a chase and catch situation. This can be

found in many cartoons today which allows a child to relate the

classical music to a humorous situation. The piece is filled with energy

and caused my seven year old brother to dance and run around the room.

He enjoyed this piece the most and said it reminded him of a Tom and

Jerry cartoon.. A modern classical composer, Steve Reich wrote

“Different Trains”, this is a classic example of sensory imagery. The

composer uses many counts of ostinato, tempo, and meter changes to

portray the sounds of different trains in different cities. The sampled

sounds paint a colorful picture and make the piece very interesting and

unique. The originality yet classical makeup attracts children and

adults to imagine moving trains. Dynamics, softness and loudness in

music, is another important part of musical composition. Franz Joseph

Haydn wrote “The Surprise Symphony” that developed a variation in the

dynamic level. “This piece was written for a special after dinner

concert. Haydyn knew that many people used this time for an afterdinner

nap so he used calm string music to relax and secure his audience. He

gave them just enough time to begin to doze and then CRASH! The whole

orchestra would play a chord as loud as possible” (Bond 59). This

humorous story and musical piece brings a sense of laughter and a

delightful mood to the music. Children seem to respond the most to the

light and humorous feel to music. This sets a good example of a soft

dynamic level followed by a dramatically loud one. This gives a sense a

possible dynamic variety in one work. A rondo, musical form in which the

first section is repeated several times with a different section between

each of the repeats (Staton 179), is a significant form a child should

be taught. “The Viennese Musical Clock” by Zoltan Kodaly performs a

rondo in a simple yet entertaining way. This piece is another example of

imagery, the sounds of the clock melody produces a picture of little

figurines dancing around an old fashioned clock. The mood is happy and

joyful, very enjoyable for a child to learn. Narrative is a form of

music that tells a story. “The Nutcracker is a narrative ballet about a

little girl’s Christmas Eve in a time long ago, and the nutcracker that

she receives as a present” (Staton 92). This story begins with an

overture, an introduction played by the orchestra, by Peter Ilyich

Tchaikovsky. This introduction sets the mood for the story. During the

overture guests arrive for a wonderful party at Clara’s house (Staton

92). Clara receives a wonderful present from Herr drosselmeyer, a

nutcracker in the shape of a soldier. The girl’s brother and friends are

jealous of this present and grab it, accidentally breaking it. Clara

goes to bed but unable to sleep because of her sadness. She goes

downstairs to check on her precious broken nutcracker to find the

soldier come to life and march into battle against an army of mice. This

scene leads into “March” also composed by Tchaikovsky. Clara throws her

shoe at the mouse king ending the battle. The soldier turns into a

beautiful prince and to thank Clara, he invites her to the Kingdom of

Sweets. “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” is the result of this. The

prince and Clara sit upon a great throne to watch as dancers perform the

“Russian Dance”, dancing about in tall boots and hats. This is an

energetic dance with an extremely fast tempo. The various dances to

follow are of many other great lands; Arabia and China. The Arabian

dance is much slower and flowing. The Chinese dance is delightful and

uplifting. “The Dance of the Reed Pipes” is a piece played predominantly

on three flutes with light background accompaniment of an orchestra.

This also contains a repeat of the first section but would not be

considered a rondo. The instruments in the second section change from

flutes to horns, giving it a powerful energetic feel. The first flowing

flute section is repeated with a strong conclusion from the cymbals. The

narration concludes with “Waltz of the Flowers.” This is when the sugar

plum fairies call for all the flowers to dance a dreamy final dance.

This is a beautiful conclusion introduced by a harp and many horns

leading into a waltz. Clara leaves the Kingdom of Sweets filled with

happy dreams and thoughts. This narration is a wonderful work for

children. This is filled with a variety of dramatic and cheerful pieces

to delight a child. The thoughts of Christmas along with presents and a

Kingdom of Sweets is enough to keep a child delighted. Music in any form

is important for all people to have in their lives. When a child is

introduced to various forms of music at an early age it helps to broaden

their minds and see the beauty outside of material things. It is

important for a child to learn to have an open mind before the mishaps

of life have a chance to close them.


Bond, Judy and Vincent Lawrence. Share the Music Third

Edition. Macmillan Publishing Company, 1995. Bond, Judy and Vincent

Lawrence. Share the Music Second Edition. Macmillan Publishing Company,

1988. Staton, Barbara and Merill Staton. Music and You Fifth Grade.

Macmillan Publishing Company, 1968. Staton, Barbara and Merill Staton.

Music and You Forth Grade. Macmillan Publishing Company, 1978.

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