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 fourth 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. (Find previous posts on the Hebrides Overture, William Tell Overture, and The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.)
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.
Today we don our berets and head to France…
The Rise of French Impressionism
Claude Debussy was a French Impressionist composer. I like compare him to the other Claude, Claude Monet the painter. If Water Lilies made music, it might sound like this. Delicate, gauzy, and slightly sleep inducing. But in a good way…
Clair de Lune is French for light of the moon, or more simply, moonlight. The piece is the 3rd movement of a larger collection of music, and it is based off a French poem that describes the moon as “sad and lovely.” You can hear that in the music, no?
Debussy’s role in music history is an interesting one. His free-flowing melodies were pretty revolutionary for the time, though it’s hard to see that now. While other musicians were deep into the overly expressive Romantic movement, Debussy was quietly penning rule-breaking tunes that caused people to lean in, rather than lean out. Debussy’ music wasn’t intended to shock or surprise anyone…and, ironically, that made it quite shocking and surprising.
Subject Integration: Clair de Lune
When it comes to subject integration, art is your logical place to begin because of the close association between French Impressionist art and music. Compare the works of three famous Impressionist artists and choose your favorite.
GEOGRAPHY AND CULTURE
Allow your foray into French Impressionism to open the door for a little French culture. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Learn some quick facts and locate all of France’s major cities here
- Lots of ideas for creating the French flag
- Learn all about the construction of the Eiffel Tower
Older children can brush up on their French Revolution history HERE.
Enjoy your trip to France, my friends!