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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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