I talk a lot about subject integration here on the blog, and it is a major part of my music curriculum. I believe classical music studied in isolation is way too abstract for young children, and subject integration can be your secret weapon when it comes to making music appreciation meaningful to your kids.
This is the second post in a ten-part series designed to show you how to take a piece of great classical music and use it as a gateway into other subjects. (Head here for the first post on Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture.)
Hopefully, by the time school starts next year, I will have tipped your thinking toward how you can incorporate music appreciation into everything else you are doing. Music appreciation will easily slip in and out of your lesson plans and your home will be filled with great music that has stood the test of time.
Last week’s lesson dove into all things Scottish with Felix Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, and today we go Italian with a universally loved and super familiar piece of classical music…
Good Music, Good Food, Good Life
Gioachino Rossini is a blast of a composer. He wrote a whole bunch of operas, most of which were pretty good, then he retired young to travel, entertain, eat good food, and spend time with friends.
What a good life! I’m jealous.
Before Rossini left the world of music to immerse himself in French cuisine, he finished his career with one last opera. It was based on a play about folk legend William Tell. The opera itself is a little neither-here-nor-there at this point. But the overture? That’s where it’s at.
And you know it!
Famously used as the theme for The Lone Ranger, the William Tell Overture is such a part of our popular culture you might not realize it is a piece of “classical” music. And it’s so fun and engaging for kids, they will never notice they are actually learning something.
Start with your sketching. Then I will show you how to take this piece into several other subjects.
Okay, ready for subject integration? Here are some ideas to get you started!
LITERATURE AND FOLK TALES
William Tell is a Swiss folk hero. It isn’t completely conclusive as to whether or not he was a real person, though. Catch up on the story HERE.
Great books are the best subject integration of all. The go-to classic for the story of William Tell is the Newbery award winning The Apple and the Arrow.
GEOGRAPHY AND CULTURE
Switzerland is famous for taking a neutral stance in global conflicts. But why? Older children can explore this interesting part of Swiss history HERE.
As mentioned, Rossini left composing in favor of great food and good friends. He has a famous drink named after him, and you can have fun making them at home. A Rossini is similar to a Bellini, except strawberries replace peaches as the main ingredient. Make a kid-friendly version by pureeing strawberries with a bit of sugar, then combine the mixture with ginger ale or Sprite. Get your kids in the kitchen to help, then sip your Rossinis while you listen to this great music!
And there you have it! Start with a great piece of classical music, veer into geography, stop by the craft table for little ones, and end up in the kitchen creating a composer-inspired treat. That’s subject integration at its best.
Enjoy introducing your kids to this fun piece of music!
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