Monday, April 22, 2013

Classical Composers & Willie Nelson Part I

"Hey Ben, this looks really good, but mom forgot to put up a picture of Willie Nelson.  
I mean, he's important too."
Ever since I was little, I have loved music.  Years of participating in vocal and instrumental music classes from middle school through college has fueled a life-long joy for all types of music (except or saggy pants rap - 'sup wit dat?? What??? Honestly....), particularly classical, bluegrass and jazz.  

Last week I was in one of those let's just change things around in here a little bit moods (which typically happens about every other week, or whenever a Pottery Barn catalog arrives in the mail).  We spend a lot of time in the classroom, and it seems to me that "freshening things up" helps keep our minds and hearts fresh with motivation to the end of the school year.  I always start with rearranging because it is a cheap way to make rooms in the house feel new. However, even after I had muscled things around a bit, the room still needed something different.  And, by different I mean cheap yet snazzy.
Since we typically spend the last month of school diving deeper into the arts in some fashion, I thought that creating a picture wall by the piano of a few famous classical composers might add a little visual interest to our classical music ear training lessons (more about that coming your way in part 2).
Creating the wall was very easy and the best part was that 
it only cost around $10.00!!  
Here it is, step-by-step: 
1. Google images of your list of favorite composers and copy the images onto a word processing document.
2.  Add the composer's name to the image along with his date of birth/death.  
3.  After printing the image onto white card stock, slip the pictures into 8 1/2" x 11" document frames (I found mine at Wal-Mart for $1.98!)  
4.  Then, after taking a few careful measurements, hang the pictures in pairs on the wall by order of the composer's birth date.  
Easy peasy!  I like the simple, clean look of the arrangement, and it makes a nice focal point next to the piano. This project is so affordable, you could study a variety of genres of music and create a wall for each genre.  I would like to have a collection of famous American composers, jazz artists and, by popular request, country greats, which of course will include Willie Nelson. {Smile.}
If children grow up listening classical music, they will truly develop a great appreciation for it, and as they get older, and it will seem less "boring" and more inspiring to them. Our littlest one, Charlie, loves to sit and color while listening to my playlist of favorite classical pieces.  Bach is is favorite (he lets us know this when he sings along to the music!)
Part II of this post will include my simple method for ear training, a list of pieces that every child will benefit from knowing/recognizing, a printable activity page for older students to fill in with notes on various composers, and ideas for encouraging and fostering an appreciation for classical music in your students.  Stay tuned!!


  1. Love it Sue!! Miss all of you.

  2. That is beautiful! Now, getting the piano to go with it might be a little pricey! Maybe someday.


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