If you picked up our Fall Freebie (5 Fall-themed Classical Pieces to listen to with your child and how to listen), you might have already listened to Vivaldi’s “Autumn” from the 4 Seasons with us! In that list, we shared some ideas for listening to the first 2 movements. Now we’d like to share a bit about the 3rd movement and how you can listen. (If you'd like that listening guide, you can grab it here.)
But first...it’s time for a “Classical Music 101” tidbit - for anyone who is new to this wonderful world of classical music, with all its terminology. (If you are an old pro, you can skip this!)
Classical Music 101: What’s a “Movement”?
Classical pieces (we usually call them “pieces” rather than “songs” since a song suggests that someone is singing) are often written in sets. One entire “piece” might consist of three or four separate pieces. Each shorter piece is called a movement. The movements complement one another, often sharing musical material. A typical pattern you might see looks like this: the first movement is upbeat, the second movement is slow, and the third movement is fast again (this is true for each of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons). When a multi-movement piece is played at a concert, the audience is generally expected NOT to applaud between movements!
Ok, back to the 3rd movement of “Autumn”.
The string orchestra starts with a rhythmic pattern in 3-beat groups. Listen for the strong beats (the first of each group of three) and jump or clap on each strong beat. Whenever the solo violin comes in, the music becomes more free - this is your chance to do a little bit of free dancing, letting your body respond to the flourishes you hear. Be ready to jump or clap again on those strong beats whenever the orchestra comes back in with the opening rhythmic music, and dance freely for new solo violin sections (possibly pretending to play the violin).
My toddler loved jumping on the strong beats, and dancing/spinning during the more lyrical violin sections! She didn’t always jump right on the beat, but she had a lot of fun moving her body, and asked to do the song again when it ended (so of course we did!).
As YOU dance and move without inhibitions, your child will feel free to experience the full joy of this music. Depending on the age/size of your little one, you can decide whether to hold her while dancing, or let her freely engage with the music. Try it both ways or any way that feels natural to you and your little one!
Optional extension activity: Before or after you listen, you could show your child a picture of a violin (Google image search, anyone?) and listen to a few additional short clips of solo violin music. (One fast and one slow example below from the masterful violinist, Hilary Hahn)
Extra note about the piece: This movement tells the story of a hunting party, setting off early in the day with horns, guns and hounds. After an eventful chase, the wild beast (represented by the solo violin) eventually weakens and perishes.
We hope you try this out and let us know how it goes!
For those of you who are enjoying these musical tips and would like a little more, hop over and join our brand new Facebook group! We're going to be posting more videos there as well as answering questions from you about music with your kids. We're excited to share more tips and offer lots of encouragement as you enjoy music with your little ones!
Hope you have a musical minute today!
P.S. I almost forgot: here is a link to Vivaldi's "Autumn," the third movement. This one is fun to watch!