Summer is here! I could not be more thrilled. Though it is busy in its own way, I love the change of pace that comes with the summer schedule. Easy evenings, late bedtimes, and no homework = all my favorite things. What does your summer have in store?
I spent more time than necessary pondering where to take the blog this summer in terms of music lessons. I don’t expect most people to be intent on accomplishing music appreciation lessons in between summer camps, family vacations, and trips to the pool. However, I do know that a lot of homeschooling families keep a year-round schedule. And some families use summer to catch up on things that may have gone by the wayside during the school year (ahem**cough cough**music).
I landed on a combined list for June and July (handily labeled “Summer”). Hopefully it will be a resource for those of you who need it, and if you don’t — well, I will see you in August. Or September. #orwhenever
You can find the Summer Playlist on Spotify HERE.
Even if you don’t plan to do any music lessons, please still use this list to fill your home with great classical music this summer. Music has a powerful effect on a child’s developing brain, and simply having this kind of music on in the background will help prepare them for a great school year next year. Really!
(Spotify note: You do not have to be a paid member to access the list – you can set up a free Spotify account that allows you to listen with ads. FYI -with the free version, only shuffle play is allowed on mobile devices. If you use an actual computer, you can choose individual songs. My Spotify user name is kristihillmusic – just sign up and search my username to access the playlists.)
Ok, let’s get to our Summer Playlist!
CANON IN D // PACHELBEL
This famous piece made the list because June is the month most associated with weddings, and this happens to be one of the most well-known wedding pieces ever. The story of how this one rose to fame is super interesting – we will unpack it later this month.
SUMMER FROM “THE FOUR SEASONS” // VIVALDI
We’ve already touched down on Winter and Spring, so it’s no shocker that Vivaldi’s Summer is on our list this month. Your kids will love what the music represents – and it’s easy to hear. (The link will take you to the 6:00 mark, which is the beginning of the 2nd movement. Listen to the end – it kicks in gear at 8:11!)
MUSIC FOR THE ROYAL FIREWORKS // HANDEL
Music for the Royal Fireworks is commonly heard in 4th of July fireworks shows. Of course, it was written by a German-living-in-England, so American freedom was not really on the agenda when Handel penned this tune. You’ll get the full story in July.
NEW WORLD SYMPHONY “ALLEGRO” // DVORAK
NEW WORLD SYMPHONY “LARGO” // DVORAK
There are patriotic undertones for the next two pieces on our list as well. Dvorak composed his New World Symphony after moving to, you guessed it, the New World, AKA ‘Merica. The Largo movement now has an association with the military, and the Allegro movement sounds like a famous movie score. Can’t wait for you to hear these two!
THE FROGS // TELEMANN
This violin concerto from Baroque great Georg Telemann gained the affectionate nickname The Frogs because of its fanciful depiction of the little critters. Perfect for summer.
FANFARE FOR THE COMMON MAN // COPLAND
This is another piece that has become synonymous with patriotism. It was used in the Opening Ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and beautifully depicts American composer Aaron Copland’s ode to the everyday working man.
FINLANDIA // SIEBELIUS
This gorgeous piece makes the summer list in honor of it’s original premiere date – July 2, 1900. You might know this one as the tune for the gorgeous hymn Be Still My Soul. It originally had lots more to do with censorship, Finnish patriotism, and the Russians. More about that in July!
THE WASPS // VAUGHAN WILLIAMS
I’ve often thought summer would be perfect if it weren’t for all the bugs. Vaughan Williams depicts a buzzing wasp in this piece, and your kids will be able to hear it clearly right at the beginning. Then they can enjoy the rest of the piece – which is not so buggy.
RADETZKY MARCH // STRAUSS
This one made the list in honor of Father’s Day. It was composed by the senior Strauss, father to two sons who also became famous composers. We’ve talked about the sons on the blog already (here and here) and now Dad gets his turn. Warning: it’s more of a cautionary tale of what not to do when it comes to father/son relationships.
STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER // SOUSA
The last of the patriotic inspired pieces on our list — can you tell I am working the 4th of July into our summer list? A Sousa march with a great story is perfect for celebrating our country’s birthday.
SUMMERTIME // GERSHWIN
Finally, the quintessential piece that embodies the languid heat and lazy days of summer. I included both a vocal and instrumental version on the Spotify list. The operatic vocal might turn your kids off, but try and give it a shot. Go for the instrumental if they just can’t deal. (Instrumental linked here.)
And that’s it! I hope you can use this list to get great music in your kids’ ears this summer. Find the playlist HERE. I will have a lesson post for you Thursday!