Peter and the Wolf
When I was a little girl in the pre-preparatory school, one of my favourite music lessons was when our teacher played the audio book of Peter and the Wolf. I loved the story about Peter who needed to protect his pets from a hungry wolf. Most of all, I loved the sounds of the musical instruments that accompanied the story. Each character in the story has its own musical instrument and each sound is perfectly suited to the character. Our teacher used this story to teach us about the different musical instruments, which family of instrument it belonged to, and the sound it made.
Peter is played by the violin (string instrument family), the bird is played by the flute (woodwind family), the duck is played by the oboe (woodwind family), the cat is played by the clarinet (woodwind family), the grandfather is played by the bassoon (woodwind family), the wolf is played by the French horn (brass family), and the hunters are played by the timpani (percussion family). I have never forgotten the names, sound, or family of any of these instruments. In fact, I loved the cat (clarinet) so much, I literally forced Greg to play this instrument for two years. I took advantage of his devotion to me and the fact he always liked to please me. I came to realise this wasn’t fair of me and allowed him to give it up in grade 6. Greg never took to the clarinet.
The purposes of Peter and the Wolf, created by Sergei Prokofiev, are as follows:
- the teach children how to identify a variety of musical instruments, instrument families and instrumental themes;
- the demonstrate how music can convey different emotions; and
- to extend a story through the use of movement, story sequencing, and musical art.
Peter and the Wolf is approximately 30 minutes long and you can listen to it here:
Sparky’s Magic Piano
My parents noticed my enthusiasm for music and my Dad bought me a Sparky record when I was about 9 years old. I listened to this record over and over again.
There were four stories on the record, as follows:
- Sparky and the Talking Train;
- Sparky’s Magic Piano;
- Sparky’s Magic Eco; and
- Sparky’s Magic Baton.
Of these four, two had a strong musical theme, namely, Sparky’s Magic Piano and Sparky’s Magic Baton.
In Sparky’s Magic Piano, the most famous of the Sparky stories, Sparky is a young boy who does not like practicing the piano. One day, when he is frustrated with practicing, the piano talks to Sparky and tells him he will show him how wonderful it is to play the piano well. Sparky then proceeds to amaze his mother and piano teacher, and then the larger world with his amazing piano playing.
Wikipedia says that these are the piano works which appear in Sparky’s Magic Piano in the order in which they appear in the story:
- Léonard Gautier – The Secret
- Chopin – Waltz in E minor, Opus posth.
- Chopin – Etude in C minor (“Revolutionary”), Opus 10 number 12
- Rimsky-Korsakov (adapted from the arrangement by J. Strimer) – The Flight of the Bumblebee (electronically played at double speed)
- Chopin – Etude in C sharp minor, Opus 10 number 4
- Liszt – Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2, in C sharp minor (excerpt from the end of the piece, arranged for piano and orchestra)
- Beethoven – Piano Sonata number 14 (“Moonlight”) in C sharp minor, Opus 27 number 2 (excerpt from the 1st mvt, arranged for piano and orchestra)
- Chopin – Waltz in C sharp minor, Opus 64 number 2 (excerpt)
- Rachmaninov – Prelude in C Sharp Minor (truncated, and arranged for piano and orchestra)
- Mendelssohn – “The Spinning Song” (from Song Without Words), Opus 67 number 4 (announced by Sparky, but the piano refuses to play it, so the music is not heard)
You can listen to the version of Sparky’s Magic Piano I loved here:
Do you know either of these stories? Let me know in the comments.
About Robbie Cheadle
Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with 9 children’s books and 2 poetry books.
The 7 Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.
Robbie has also published 2 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.
Robbie has 2 adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories in the horror and paranormal genre and poems included in several anthologies.
Robbie writes a monthly series for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms. This series discusses different topics relating to the benefits of reading to children.
Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.
Find Robbie Cheadle
Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram
Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books
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