Want to incorporate classical music appreciation as a weekly component in your homeschool schedule? Come check out my kid-friendly, easy-on-the-parents Music Curriculum. You can try a free sample lesson HERE.
We are still working through the January playlist (found here on Spotify). Monday I posted a mini-lesson on The Skater’s Waltz, and today’s lesson is a composer study with multiple subject integration possibilities.
Ralph (pronounced “Rafe” as in, rhymes with “safe”) Vaughan Williams might not be as familiar to you as Mozart or Bach, but he is one of England’s most beloved composers. His work appears on the January playlist in the form of Sinfonia Antartica, aka the Antarctic Symphony.
The Antarctic Symphony was originally written as a soundtrack for the 1947 film Scott of the Antarctic. The movie tells the story of Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated Terra Nova expedition when he attempted to be the first person to reach the South Pole. (The descriptor “ill-fated” might give you a hint as to how that turned out).
Vaughan Williams was super inspired by the subject matter. He loved what he wrote so much he expanded the music into a full symphony. It is epic in scope and fittingly dramatic. Check it out:
Note how he uses howling voices to represent the cold wind around the 3 minute mark – cool! #punintended
Let’s get to know Ralph-rhymes-with-safe: (I love infographics, so I made you one – pin for later!). Here’s a few doo-dads about RVW:
(Interested in listening to more of Ralph’s music? Start with his most famous – The Lark Ascending. It will likely show up on a spring playlist when the birds start chirping!)
Integration Ideas for Every Stage:
Classical music studied in isolation can be a little abstract, especially for young children. I love to find ways to integrate the music into other subjects to make it come alive, and the Antarctic Symphony is a great piece to use as a jumping-off point.
Here are a few ideas for incorporating the Antarctic Symphony into other parts of your school day. And, of course, you’ll want to have the music playing in the background while you work…
- Pre-school // Discuss the differences in hot and cold weather and identify the seasons of each.
- Early Education // Discuss the seven continents and identify Antarctica on a map.
- Middle Grades // Research the climate in Antarctica. What animals can live in that climate?
- Middle School // Research the Terra Nova expedition and explain what Robert Scott Falcon was trying to accomplish and why.
- High School // Research Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova expedition. Answer the following questions: 1) What was he trying to accomplish? 2) What were the obstacles in his way? 3) Did he reach his goal? 4) Could he have done anything differently? 5) How does the music of the Antarctic Symphony reflect this journey? Present your findings.
Enjoy this great music — happy listening!