Essay, Research Paper: Children`s Music


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Music is an important component for all people to posses in their lives. A child
should be introduced to music at a very young age. The introduction of every
type of music from classical all the way to modern rock is important. This gives
a child the ability to form their own opinion to what they might like the best.
Classical music can teach a child every aspect of music including, harmony,
themes, dynamics, polymeters, and polyrhythms. These are the components that are
scarce in modern music today. The three major components of variation are
melody, rhythm, and meter. Variation is an important key to teach a child so
that they understand the there are many different ways to approach music and
life. The composer Lucien Caillet wrote many variations on the theme “Pop Goes
the Weasel”. Most children have heard this tune in cartoons or songs at school
not realizing the classical context. This is a wonderful piece for children
because of the dramatic and calm instrumentals followed by the variations of the
theme. The music has a whimsical cheerful feel to it and is a perfect example
for an introduction, theme, five variations of the theme followed by a coda.
These are all important parts of a piece for a child to recognize. Wolfgang
Amadeus Mozart is a remarkable composer that all children should study. The
piece, “Ah, Vous Dirai-je, Maman” is perfect for a child in that it
resembles a well known nursery rhyme, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. This
piece is also an example of variations of theme. This begins as a simple melody
transforming into a complex variation containing a difference in meter
throughout the variations with in an increase in tempo. The composition has a
very light and cheerful familiar sound to it and could easily attract the
attention of a child. The use of sensory imagery in music, impressionism, is
another form helpful to increase interest and make music enjoyable. Modest
Petrovich Mussorgsky composed a piece, “Promenade, from pictures of an
exhibition” solely around an art exhibition. This is a dark and gloomy
symphony that represents a marching soldier and paints a vivid picture of an
army. Another composer using imagery was Aram Khachaturian, he composed a work
called “Sabre Dance”. This is an extremely energetic powerful piece that
paints a definite picture of a chase and catch situation. This can be found in
many cartoons today which allows a child to relate the classical music to a
humorous situation. The piece is filled with energy and caused my seven year old
brother to dance and run around the room. He enjoyed this piece the most and
said it reminded him of a Tom and Jerry cartoon.. A modern classical composer,
Steve Reich wrote “Different Trains”, this is a classic example of sensory
imagery. The composer uses many counts of ostinato, tempo, and meter changes to
portray the sounds of different trains in different cities. The sampled sounds
paint a colorful picture and make the piece very interesting and unique. The
originality yet classical makeup attracts children and adults to imagine moving
trains. Dynamics, softness and loudness in music, is another important part of
musical composition. Franz Joseph Haydn wrote “The Surprise Symphony” that
developed a variation in the dynamic level. “This piece was written for a
special after dinner concert. Haydyn knew that many people used this time for an
afterdinner nap so he used calm string music to relax and secure his audience.
He gave them just enough time to begin to doze and then CRASH! The whole
orchestra would play a chord as loud as possible” (Bond 59). This humorous
story and musical piece brings a sense of laughter and a delightful mood to the
music. Children seem to respond the most to the light and humorous feel to
music. This sets a good example of a soft dynamic level followed by a
dramatically loud one. This gives a sense a possible dynamic variety in one
work. A rondo, musical form in which the first section is repeated several times
with a different section between each of the repeats (Staton 179), is a
significant form a child should be taught. “The Viennese Musical Clock” by
Zoltan Kodaly performs a rondo in a simple yet entertaining way. This piece is
another example of imagery, the sounds of the clock melody produces a picture of
little figurines dancing around an old fashioned clock. The mood is happy and
joyful, very enjoyable for a child to learn. Narrative is a form of music that
tells a story. “The Nutcracker is a narrative ballet about a little girl’s
Christmas Eve in a time long ago, and the nutcracker that she receives as a
present” (Staton 92). This story begins with an overture, an introduction
played by the orchestra, by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. This introduction sets the
mood for the story. During the overture guests arrive for a wonderful party at
Clara’s house (Staton 92). Clara receives a wonderful present from Herr
drosselmeyer, a nutcracker in the shape of a soldier. The girl’s brother and
friends are jealous of this present and grab it, accidentally breaking it. Clara
goes to bed but unable to sleep because of her sadness. She goes downstairs to
check on her precious broken nutcracker to find the soldier come to life and
march into battle against an army of mice. This scene leads into “March”
also composed by Tchaikovsky. Clara throws her shoe at the mouse king ending the
battle. The soldier turns into a beautiful prince and to thank Clara, he invites
her to the Kingdom of Sweets. “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” is the result
of this. The prince and Clara sit upon a great throne to watch as dancers
perform the “Russian Dance”, dancing about in tall boots and hats. This is
an energetic dance with an extremely fast tempo. The various dances to follow
are of many other great lands; Arabia and China. The Arabian dance is much
slower and flowing. The Chinese dance is delightful and uplifting. “The Dance
of the Reed Pipes” is a piece played predominantly on three flutes with light
background accompaniment of an orchestra. This also contains a repeat of the
first section but would not be considered a rondo. The instruments in the second
section change from flutes to horns, giving it a powerful energetic feel. The
first flowing flute section is repeated with a strong conclusion from the
cymbals. The narration concludes with “Waltz of the Flowers.” This is when
the sugar plum fairies call for all the flowers to dance a dreamy final dance.
This is a beautiful conclusion introduced by a harp and many horns leading into
a waltz. Clara leaves the Kingdom of Sweets filled with happy dreams and
thoughts. This narration is a wonderful work for children. This is filled with a
variety of dramatic and cheerful pieces to delight a child. The thoughts of
Christmas along with presents and a Kingdom of Sweets is enough to keep a child
delighted. Music in any form is important for all people to have in their lives.
When a child is introduced to various forms of music at an early age it helps to
broaden their minds and see the beauty outside of material things. It is
important for a child to learn to have an open mind before the mishaps of life
have a chance to close them.

BibliographyBond, Judy and Vincent Lawrence. Share the Music Third Edition. Macmillan
Publishing Company, 1995. Bond, Judy and Vincent Lawrence. Share the Music
Second Edition. Macmillan Publishing Company, 1988. Staton, Barbara and Merill
Staton. Music and You Fifth Grade. Macmillan Publishing Company, 1968. Staton,
Barbara and Merill Staton. Music and You Forth Grade. Macmillan Publishing
Company, 1978.
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