I don’t teach a lot about composers – because I feel it’s mostly lecturing, and I want the students to experience music more than learn about music. However, I know there is a time to learn about the great composers and hear great music.
So, I have narrowed down the “essential composers,” in my opinion, to Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and Sousa. Yes, I teach George Frederick Handel to the 5th graders at Christmastime when I play the Hallelujah Chorus. And, yes, the 2nd and 3rd graders experience Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker the same time of year. We even listen to Peer Gynt and Carnival of the Animals other times of year… but in March, I focus on ONE composer. Just ONE per year that we really learn about. We also use this time to become composers ourselves (in 2nd through 5th grades), using the Sibelius music program to notate our original compositions.
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