One Thousand Stories to Save Your Life

During the 6 weeks of great composers at CC, we study various composers, the parts of the orchestra and lots of musical vocabulary to give a broader understanding of the fine art of symphonic sound. As a classical music nut, I adore these 6 weeks. I had the opportunity to introduce my kids to Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade this week as we studied the Romantic Period of classical music. I whipped up a little lesson plan that you can easily use to introduce your own kids (or yourself) to this glorious and exciting tale, woven into beautiful melodies!

Here’s a kid appropriate version of the Scheherazade story. I had children from age 4-14 listening…so this is a pretty toned down example of the story.

“There once was a great Sultan (a king) who had been betrayed by his Queen. After this terrible event, the Sultan decided that no other woman could ever be trusted again. He planned to kill each and every girl throughout his lands, one each night. Now, Scheherazade was a girl of quick mind who had learned a great many famous fairy tales. She was also strong, kind and good hearted. Her voice was so beautiful that people begged her to tell her stories. Scheherazade made a plan to save all the girls of her kingdom. Knowing she would be in danger, she nevertheless went to speak to the King. He was charmed by her, but trusting not one girl, he ordered her to be the next to die. Scheherazade cried, saying “Sire, please allow me to tell you a last goodnight story. Her tale was so enchanting, the Sultan told Scheherazade that he would spare her life if she would tell him an entertaining tale every night before bedtime. And so, Scheherazade continued to tell stories for the next thousand and one nights, saving her own life and the lives of all the young girls of the kingdom. Her tales were full of adventure and and also taught the King many lessons. He grew to trust and love again and they both lived a long life.”

I always find kids engage more if they have a something tangible to follow along with. I made puppets for my kiddos from the graphics included on the listening map. I printed them off on card stock and attached them to large craft sticks. I held them up during each part the first time we listened, then let them “play” the characters during the second listen thru. They were very attentive, trying to hear their own part so they could wiggle the puppets around. They begged to put on a puppet show as the music played for their Great Nanny (English Grandmother) while she was visiting.

Scheherazade Puppets

Print Scheherazade Puppets

You can print out a copy of my listening map and follow along the minute/second markings and listen for the themes and instruments in each section. Follow the arrows along the first line, then drop straight down and head back the other direction on the next line. There’s a printable link below…you don’t have to try and print this image.

Scheherazade Listening Map
There’s also a blank coloring page with a few details on Rimsky-Korsakov if your little ones are just too young to follow along with the time markers/themes. They can just color how the music makes them feel.

Print Scheherazade Listening Map and Drawing Page

Listen for the bold opening of the Sultan theme (a melody/sound representing a character) in the brass, the singing high violin of Scheherazade and the swelling orchestral waves of The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship.

Here’s the audio file that goes with my materials.


I love sharing my creations with you, and hope get great use out of them. If you’d like to re-share them, please do so with a link to this page, not a direct link to the form. Happy Listening!

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