Nothing says Christmas like the music of Tchaikovsky’s famous Nutcracker. This music is so embedded in the American conscious, it will ring deeply familiar to you…even if you have no idea why.
Of this very familiar collection of pieces, March is one of the most familiar. It takes place early in the first act, when all the guests are arriving to the party. There is a joyful and festive spirit in the air, but the full magic has yet to be released…
During the March, you will hear two parts of the orchestra taking turns “talking” to one another, as if they are in a conversation. Have your child do some Musical Sketching, listening for how the horns begin the conversation and the violins answer them back.
Try this orchestral version to start:
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Now that you’ve done some sketching, enjoy two more versions to continue to bring this music to life…
The ballet version:
And a good classical music/cartoon mash-up (March starts about two minutes in):
Finally — add some great books. Teaching your children about the music of The Nutcracker and then adding some beautiful visuals through beautifully illustrated books will complete your mission of engaging your kids in this amazing music. Enjoy!
- The Nutcracker tells the story with minimal text and lush illustrations.
- Ella Bella Ballerina: The Nutcracker is from author James Mayhew – one of my favorites. Little Ella is transported into famous ballets. (Other titles include Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella.)
- This version of The Nutcracker is based on George Balanchine’s NYC ballet. More gorgeous illustrations and heavier on text.
- Have a middle grades reader? The Toymaker’s Apprentice is a fun re-telling of the traditional story.
- Peter Tchaikovsky from the Getting to Know the World’s Composers series will provide your child with interesting facts about the composer’s life.
- Tchaikovsky Discovers America tells the story of his first trip to the U.S.
- Ever wondered how The Nutcracker became such a big deal in America? The Nutcracker Comes to America will tell you the story.
I hope these resources help your family add some beautiful classical music to your home this holiday season!
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Disclosure: Affiliate links used in this post