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 final 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
- Summer from “The Four Seasons”
- Hoedown from Rodeo
- The Lark Ascending
- Symphony No. 3 “Eroica”
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 taking us all the way to outer space…
Composed between 1914-1916, The Planets is British composer Gustav Holst’s most enduring work. The seven piece orchestral suite represents the planets of the solar system and their corresponding astrological characters. An explanation on why seven, not nine: no Earth and no Pluto…the former isn’t associated with an astrological sign and the latter was not discovered at the time…and, turns out, isn’t a planet anyway. Incidentally, Holst did not arrange the pieces in distance-from-the-sun order, which really bothers the J in my Myers-Briggs.
When it comes to subject integration, no surprises on where we are headed below. Enjoy introducing your kids to these pieces while you explore the greatness of outer space!
Here is the whole suite:
If that’s too much (I get it), I recommend starting with Mars (super powerful, god of war and all) and Jupiter (don’t miss the gorgeous melody just before the 3:00 mark. It’s commonly used in British weddings and royal ceremonies).
Fun, right? Now let’s see where it can take us…
Subject Integration: The Planets
Studying Holst’s The Planets is a natural gateway to all things solar system. Here are a few ideas for you!
- Start with a video HERE.
- Great resource HERE with individual content on each planet.
- Get crafty and create your own solar system. Loads of ideas HERE.
- Older children can do a deep dive into the history of Pluto…why it was initially considered a planet and what changed. Start HERE.
I hope you enjoyed this series! I will be taking a couple of weeks off from the blog to enjoy the last of the summer days with my family (last on the calendar, not the thermometer). I will see you soon with lots more new content to help you launch into a music-filled 2018-2019 school year!