If you've ever thought that teaching young kids about classical music was difficult, boring or too advanced, then let me introduce you My First Classical Music Book, by Genevieve Helsby.
I definitely shied away from teaching kids about classical music for a long time! Or at least that was true until I got this book!
This book makes classical musical approachable and almost magical! It's not too dense, but it's not skimping knowledge. Plus, it's colorful and fun, but not overly kiddy.
Plus, it comes with a CD of classical music classics, that are used throughout the book to bring the book to life. Plus, setting the scene for classical music with a bit of background and story really does help to keep kids tuned into an often lyric-less piece of music they might not normally gravitate to.
When I used this book in my preschool music classes, I usually only read 2 pages each day, which is a good pace if you plan on listening to the music with the class (which you totally should!). At that pace, it took us almost the whole year to get through the book, which was pretty awesome.
One of my colleagues actually got me this book and she really had teaching it down to a science. She was super animated with the readings, and she had read it enough that the kids could finish the sentences and even call out what composer they were listening to within the first couple seconds of the piece!
For anyone who's taken a music history exam, it's kind of wild to see a bunch of 4 year olds doing the kind of work I associate with college level classes! When you're familiar with a specific recording of music however, sometimes all it takes is the first 1 second to know what song it's going to be, and the same is true for kids, even with classical music.
The book does a good job of keeping it fresh with more modern references that many kids will actually catch onto (with references to Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc). Plus, the small cast of animal hosts help tie together hundreds of years of musical history in a way that's not too intellectual for kids to follow.
Whenever I taught preschool music classes, this book was ALWAYS in my bag (this one, plus Portside Pirates and Creepy Crawly Calypso). I tended to use it as a follow up a high energy activity (like the Tooty Ta) because it gave us a chance to wind down in a way that was fun, musical and a bit more cerebral than "thumbs up, elbows back!"
Want to get the hardcover for yourself?! It's a MUST HAVE for preschool music classes or for any parent or teacher wanting to introduce their kids to classical music!
You can find My First Classical Music Book on Amazon (which helps support the Prodigies Blog)!
We hope you enjoyed this little book review! Find more articles about music, education and early childhood over on the Preschool Prodigies Blog!