Antonio Vivaldi’s beautiful composition, “The Four Seasons,” has been used by teachers and musicians in lesson plans worldwide. This gorgeous masterpiece has so many teachable components to work with, but for today’s Top 10 Tuesday music activity, I am going to focus on the “Spring” concerto. We are entering the Spring Solstice this week, and I feel that this music perfectly sets the mood to this lovely time of year.
You will need several items to complete this activity:
(1) A recording of the “Spring” concerto from “The Four Seasons.” Here it is on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4kTei0XrCs
(2) One set of rhythm sticks. Here is a picture of my favorite set. They are available for purchase through Amazon. Click HERE to view them.
(3) One rain stick. I always have loved the rain stick that is see-through so your child can understand how it works. It, too, is available through Amazon. Click HERE to view it and check out the photo of it below.
This activity is a little abstract, so if you want to use it with preschoolers, I would gear it towards Pre-K children. It will also work for any school-aged child, as it develops fantastic musical listening skills.
It is said that Vivaldi wrote a poetic sonnet to go along with each of “The Four Seasons” concertos. For Spring, here is the sonnet:
SPRING (CONCERTO NO. 1)
1 Joyful Spring has arrived,
The birds welcome it with their happy songs,
And the brooks in the gentle breezes
Flow with a sweet murmur.
The sky is covered with a black mantle,
Thunder and lightning announce a storm.
When they are silent, the birds
Take up again their harmonious songs.
2 And in the ﬂower-rich meadow,
To the gentle murmur of leaves and plants
The goatherd sleeps, his faithful dog at his side.
3 To the merry sounds of a rustic bagpipe
Nymphs and shepherds dance in their beloved spot
When Spring appears in its brilliance.
–Read the poem to your child. Explain how poetry and music follow a pattern of beats and use different ways to express the mood of what they are describing. Poems use language, and music uses tempo, dynamics, timbre and melody.
–Next, explain to your child that Vivaldi’s “Spring” concerto was written to express birds singing, dancing, trees, the sunshine and a thunderstorm….the many elements of the Spring season itself.
–Listen to a recording of the “Spring” concerto and as it is playing, discuss which Spring element is being expressed in the music.
–Once you and your child have identified the Spring elements, hand them a set of rhythm sticks and the rain stick.
–Listen to the “Spring” concerto again, only this time, instruct your child to play the sticks to all of the elements of Spring with the exception of the rain and the thunderstorm. For the rain, your child will play the rain stick. This will clue you in that they understand what they are listening to.
Not only has your child used listening skills with classical music, but they have also identified the elements of the spring season!
For further resources, lessons and information on Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” I highly recommend a teacher resource kit that I found online from Canada’s National Center for the Arts. Click HERE to view this excellent PDF. It’s a great packet of material.
I hope you all have enjoyed today’s Top 10 Tuesday musical activity. For a complete list of the Top 10 instruments under $40 that will help promote music education in the home, click HERE. For an archive of all previous Top 10 Tuesday music activities, click HERE. Check back each Tuesday for more musical fun, and until then, play on!