Tuesday Tome Week 16 – Stories of Composers

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Stories of Composers For Young Musicians by Catherine Wolff Kendalls makes for great bedtime reading. (I have been reading to my children since they were infants. We read before going to bed but we also read throughout the day.)

My children take violin and piano lessons and my goal is to make classical music a delight for them. As such, we play classical music during our meals and we read as much about composers as we can. I have invested in some CDs about composers’ lives but my children were still too small at the time – we are talking preschool age.

Stories of Composers

They are now 6 and 8 and these stories seem to go over better. It will be an interesting test, after reading this book with them, to re-visit the initial CDs and see if the kids have a better reaction to them.

Because they did enjoy this book. It was a bit boring for my six-year-old in the beginning, because the book has no pictures beyond a portrait of the composer. But she soon realized these composers fell in love and married – well, most of them did. She is in this phase of awakening to romance.  Continue reading »

One night, as I started reading another story about another composer, she interrupted me by asking, “Mommy, when will he marry somebody?” Whatever it takes to peak their interest.

I have learned a lot from this book about people who otherwise would just be names to me, next to the title of the Suzuki piece my children are practicing. For instance, the Gavotte by P. Martini in Book 3 for violin. My son is polishing that piece to perfection these days. Well, now we know P. stands for Padre (“father” in Italian) because Martini was a priest. To my daughter’s disappointment, he never married, of course, being a Catholic priest.

Thirty composers from Bach to von Weber, whose lives were compressed to 4-10 pages each, can flash before your eyes in a week, making for a wonderful time of discovery and learning alongside your children. I have nothing bad to say about this book. On the contrary. I learned from some of these men’s mistakes in areas that have nothing to do with music. And I can tell the children’s awareness of life, situations, and how music came to be has grown.


Very Young People’s Concert

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For the first time, we attended a Very Young People’s Concert by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. It was wonderful. We plan to go again next year.

The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra tuning up before the concert

The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra tuning up before the concert

We had tickets for it last year, but inclement weather canceled the concert altogether and we got our money back. So we were happy the weather cooperated this year.  Continue reading »

Tickets cost $8 per person. I made the reservations myself and when they asked me for the name of the school I said Cardinal Point Academy. I do not have our school registered as such officially anywhere. I do not need to. This is America, the land of all possibilities… If you want to have a school, you have a school. The laws allow you do do that.

Cardinal Point Academy sign

The sign on our seats, showing the name of our homeschool

It was an interesting experience to see the name of our school on the seats reserved for us. The entire Tennessee Theater was organized this way, and I would like to congratulate the organizers for doing it.

Ceiling detail in the Tennessee Theater

Ceiling detail in the Tennessee Theater

We have attended other concerts at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium and I have never seen labels on seats. The ushers are happy to help in both locations, but it feels so nice to visually see where everybody is situated.

Boy and girl at the Tennessee Theater

My children before the concert, inside the Tennessee Theater

This particular concert’s theme was “Let’s Tell a Story” and the mascot, Picardy Penguin, showed up on the screen, to teach and entertain. My kids loved Picardy, by the way.

A talented vocalist demonstrated how to make something sound funny, dramatic etc., or how to express nervousness in song. Sorry, her name escapes me.

They had a theme song, “Music Can Make You Laugh or Cry” and we all sang that in the beginning and at the end. They brought in nine modern dancers for Peter and The Wolf which added to the experience. Personally, I don’t care for that piece of music, so it was nice to have something else to focus on. Sorry, Prokofiev!

If you are a teacher, homeschool or otherwise, you receive a CD and a packet with information and lesson plans to educate the children before and after the concert. All in all, this goes down in history as the best field trip of this school year. So far at least.