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!