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.
Today’s composer might be unfamiliar at first, but I bet your bumblebee you know his music. Am I right?
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov helped put Russian music on the classical map. His unlikely journey to composer greatness started with a stint in the military as a naval officer. He was not living his dream, suffice it to say.
Over the years, he slowly wound his way into a musical career and was particularly passionate about preserving his Russian culture through taking classic folk tales and setting them to music.
Now let’s get to know our pal, Nik…
Now let’s get to know Nik’s Snow Maiden…
- WHO // The Snow Maiden is a Russian folk tale character. Stories vary, but basically she is a half-mystical girl made of snow who just wants to be normal like all the other kids. (This story sounds familiar, and now I’m singing this.) She gets her wish, falls in love, and then melts when the appearance of true love draws out the sun. #bummer
- WHAT // Rimsky-Korsakov wanted to preserve this classic Russian tale, so he took the story and turned it into an opera. It ended up being his most favorite of all his works.
- WHEN // The Opera premiered in 1882.
- WHERE // The premiere took place at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia.
- WHY // Preserving those folk tales. It was really important to dear Nikolai. He was on a mission to make sure the world knew and loved Russian culture.
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. Here are a few ideas for incorporating the The Snow Maiden Suite 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 // Talk about how the Snow Maiden melts at the end of the story and make a list of things that melt. Put ice under hot water and let your child observe the melting process.
- Early Education // Identify Russia on a map, particularly St. Petersburg. Look up pictures of the Mariinsky Theatre. Try some role-playing and act out the story of the Snow Maiden.
- Middle Grades // Research the history of Russian fairy tales. Are any of them familiar? Find one that isn’t and learn a new fairy tale.
- Middle School // Research the more expansive story of the Snow Maiden (try this to get you started). Consider the following question: was the Snow Maiden’s search for love worth what happens in the end? Why or why not?
- High School // Consider the following question: how important is it to preserve a country’s culture for future generations? Present your argument.
Enjoy this great work!