Classical Conversations Cycle 2 Orchestra and Composers

Over the 24 weeks of a Classical Conversations year, there are none so glorious as the 6 weeks spent delving into orchestra and great composers. Bold statement? Maybe. Classical music is a balm to my soul, a delight to my ears and my greatest joy in tutoring.

For all my CC peeps, I’ve uploaded my orchestra and composers packet to the shared files on C3. Search under wenderbell and it should be the first result.

For older classes, you’ll find listening maps for Beethoven, Brahms and Dvořák. Also, coloring pages and brief bios for the littles. Plus, a few pages on orchestra instrument families and vocabulary for everyone.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions! All the time notations correlate to the CD included in “Classical Music for Dummies”. Enjoy the next six weeks of Romantic and Classical music!

For all you non-CC folks, I’ll be posting these individually with more details in the coming weeks.

Why is the Harpsichord So Awful?

I’ve been dreading this moment since I first glanced at the lineup of Great Composers for Cycle 1. Handel’s Water Music was no problem, the soothing woodwinds are essentially easy listening, smooth jazz for the 1700’s. Next week I have the privilege of introducing Mozart, the crazy haired, youthful genius of the Classical Period. Who, incidentally is one of my absolute favorite composers. I could listen to his delightful, deceptively simple sounding piano concerto #22 on repeat for hours. However (insert dark foreboding theme music here), this week we are discussing Bach. Fugues and Preludes. Harpsichord Bach. I am not a fan. I know Bach is “the man”. Prolific as a composer and a father (20 kids!). Hard working and methodical in his ability to have every note in exactly the right place. He’s considered a scientist of music. My local classical radio station devotes the noon(ish) hour to him in a segment called “Bach’s Lunch”. That’s my kind of humor, but still…harpsichord? Ugh. It’s just awful.

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Party Cruise Tunes for King George

It’s that time of year again! Time for Classical Conversations six weeks studying orchestra and great composers. This year, we’re tackling the Baroque to Classical periods studying Handel, Bach and Mozart. I’ve said it before, but as a classical music junkie, this is one of my favorite parts of the program. I think an appreciation of great scores and understanding the intricacies of classical music is sadly lacking in our society. There is such a wide range of styles in classical music – thousands upon thousands of fantastic melodies, harmonies and rhythms – if you give it a chance, I’m positive you’ll find something you love. Today, we’re talking about partying like a rock star king, cruising down the river, with your own trailing dj boat.

Great Composers
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Causing a Riot With Rhythm

Every single occasion I listen to this piece, I feel myself steadily descending into madness. One errant note at a time, I’m swirling into a crazed world of instruments playing out of range, rhythms that don’t make any logical sense, and seemingly no control whatsoever. Stravinsky has been called a genius. He is the father of modern music, and this piece is hugely important in breaking long-held “rules” of rhythm and instrumentality, but it also is a little nuts. So crazy in fact, it caused an actual riot when it was first performed in Paris on May 29, 1913. Gird your loins people. This piece is a wild ride.

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Music to Make You Moody

As a part of Classical Conversations, we study great composers and orchestral music for 6 weeks. As a classical music junkie, this is one of my favorite parts of the program. I think an appreciation of great scores and understanding the intricacies of classical music is sadly lacking in our society. There is such a wide range of styles in classical music – thousands upon thousands of fantastic melodies, harmonies and rhythms – if you give it a chance, I’m positive you’ll find something you love.

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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!

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