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 sixth 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:
- Hebrides Overture
- William Tell Overture
- The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
- Clair de Lune
- Hungarian Dance No. 5
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’s piece is full of summer pests and unexpected thunderstorms…
Summer from “The Four Seasons”
Ah, summer is officially here. Whether you love it or hate it (or both).
Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons is great for subject integration, because the first level is already obvious – seasons! Antonio also kindly attached sonnets to his music to tell us exactly what to listen for (I love how easy he makes it for us). These basically tell us everything he wants us to hear:
Allegro non molto
Beneath the blazing sun’s relentless heat
men and flocks are sweltering,
pines are scorched.
We hear the cuckoo’s voice; then sweet songs of the turtle dove and finch are heard.
Soft breezes stir the air….but threatening north wind sweeps them suddenly aside. The shepherd trembles, fearful of violent storm and what may lie ahead.
Adagio e piano – Presto e forte
His limbs are now awakened from their repose by fear of lightning’s flash and thunder’s roar, as gnats and flies buzz furiously around.
Alas, his worst fears were justified, as the heavens roar and great hailstones beat down upon the proudly standing corn.
The first movement is fairly sedate, the 2nd (at the 5:58 mark) is full of surprises as the swarms attack, and the 3rd movement (at 8:09) is an all out rock star explosion of sound as the summer thunderstorm shows up in all its glory. Give it a listen!
Subject Integration: Summer from “The Four Seasons”
Now we take Vivaldi’s famous tune and venture to all kinds of different places to make learning come alive for your kids.
Bugs, Storms, and Seasons — Nature Studies is the logical place to begin!
- Why do seasons exist? Kids can head HERE to find out.
- The 2nd movement is all about unwelcome summer bugs. Head HERE for a round-up of fun bug crafts.
- The 3rd movement of Vivaldi’s Summer is intended to replicate a thunderstorm. Your kids can learn all about summer storms HERE.
- Spend a few days predicting and tracking summer weather. Chart idea HERE.
GEOGRAPHY, CULTURE, & HISTORY
Vivaldi is closely associate with all things Venice. It’s a great reason to learn more about this historic city:
- Watch this video to give your kids an overview of the great city of Venice. Picture Vivaldi walking these ancient streets…dreaming up new pieces of music inspired by the beauty around him.
- Get to know one of the world’s most famous churches: St. Mark’s Basilica. The sacred site has quite a storied history: the first version was originally built to hide stolen relics! Head HERE for more fun facts.
- Lots of fascinating facts for older children HERE.
Take some time to learn about sonnets and try to write your own! Head HERE.