There is so much joy to be had in simply having beautiful music accompany us throughout our day. For this reason, we often have classical music streaming in the background at our house. However, Artsy Startsy also uses classical music in two very targeted and distinct ways. The first is to soothe the mind and the second is to enliven the spirit.
Fidgety Preschooler? Try Classical Music to Enliven the Spirit
Recently I posted on how to use classical music to encourage quiet time (soothe the mind) but did you know that classical can also be used to "enliven the spirit" when kids seem bored, aimless, or fidgety? I've discovered that when my kids are acting completely insane - arms flailing, jumping off the back of the couch, and arguing about nothings - they either need to just check out completely OR they need to get out some excess energy stored up deep in their guts! Figuring out which solution is best is usually more a case of getting a vibe for the situation and context than having any sense of certainty.
Often, I start by putting on soft classical (like Chopin) because it is my preference and usually the energy in the room needs to just come down a few notches but when that fails to bring order to the chaos - I go the exact opposite direction. Wagner is great for getting kids moving and marching in a way that expends pent up energies! Indeed, there are so many wonderful, energetic pieces to get kids moving.
Being Inspired by a Classical Piece's Title
I normally just like to encourage my Little Musicians to move the way the music makes them feel but if the title of the piece is particularly evocative - as in the case of the Britten's The Grasshopper - then I will often encourage them to move in ways that fit with the way the animal, fairy tale, or person the piece is named after might move.
The Water Goblin!
So! This week we decided to try moving to an early piece by Dvorjak called the Water Goblin! How do you think a Water Goblin would move? We imagined him swimming, diving and splashing through the water. By adding scarves we got a feeling for the ripples and flowing of the water. Next, one of us pretended to be the water using the scarves while the other was the goblin jumping in and out of the waves. Such a great way to get the sillies out!
As promised and just in time for the weekend, here is the second idea in our series on Easel Starters: Glittering Snowflakes! (All you require is pictured above). This time, you may wish to spend a little more time setting the scene depending on how ornate you want your snow flakes to be. If you want the result to resemble an honest to goodness snowflake, feel free to fold the coffee filter in half over and over until it is a smallish triangle for your little one to cut out with safety scissors. Normally, I like to be sure that my child simply stumbles upon the Easel Starter but in this case - it can't kill anyone if you take a brief moment to show your Little Artist how to cut neat shapes along the edges of the folded coffee filter - avoiding the corners.
Once you have a few shapes that resemble snowflakes- scoot! Leave the room quickly and maybe take the scissors with you. Now your child can enjoy the process of painting his snow flake with glitter glue and brush! I've found this to be a beautiful, mindful masterpiece for your little one to create. The delicacy required to paint the coffee filter without ripping it encourages a certain gentleness and focus that is just right for this age. The fine motor skills required to apply a gentle brush stroke and the thought processes required to determine how much glue to add to a thinner surface are all opportunities for growth, judgment and patience. If you need to help on occasion to ensure that the process remains a positive one- don't hesitate to do so!
Et voila! Hang the masterpiece in the window and get ready for more snow... sigh...