Wednesday, August 1, 2012

composers and confessions

happy birthday, mr. william schuman!  wait?  you haven't heard of him?  i confess.  i hadn't learned of him either.  

*hangs head in shame*  

in an interview with bruce duffie, mr. schuman said, "One of the things I don't have to do is evaluate my work as a composer. I don't lack for people who do that."

*giggle*  can you relate to that?  i sure can.  although we can be our own worst critic, there's a bit of pressure from others, too. *sigh*

let's not beat ourselves up over what we've missed in our own educational journey.  we can learn it together!  my new motto.

so, without further ado, i give you a shaper of american music and musicians, mr. william schuman...

you might take comfort in knowing that, initially, mr. schuman was drawn to baseball and seen as a class prankster.  there is hope for our young {seemingly-distracted-from-serious-study} students.  i'm sure he would always be thankful to his mother for encouraging him to see arturo toscanini conduct the new york philharmonic orchestra.  that was his turning point.  between the ages of 16 to 21, he wrote over 100 songs.

gotta love those mamas!  and a father who didn't squelch his passion.

personally, i love that mr. schuman wasn't one to hoard his gifts, but had a passion to educate, as well. 

my upbringing was far from classical.  my music exposure was limited to 4 years of unsuccessful piano {the only song i remember how to play is "oh, how i love jesus"}, all-state choir, church choir, fine arts, a lil' theory in college, and worship team.  composers and symphonies?  not so much.

i'm hoping to change that a little for the littles.  it's important, y'all.


music study builds self-esteem, teaches patience, exercises thinking skills, encourages self-discipline, advances social development, and diligence. 

ummm... no pressure. 


we were lucky enough to take the girls to their first symphony recently.  this is the view from our $1 seats.  it twas high up there, y'all.  but oh-so-lovely.

my symphony experience would not have been complete had i not heard the symbols.  you know, the guys who sat motionless beside their instruments for 2 entire songs.  the anticipation left me in suspense.  

then i heard it... tchaikovsky - maybe you'd recognize that name more from composing the nutcracker ballet?  that caught gracie's attention.  our lil' dancerella, you know.  oh, my lil' dancer might also be interested to know that mr. schuman was president of juilliard from 1945-1962.

where was i?  oh, yes...

then the *clash* of the symbols, which made us all jump in our seats.  be still, my heart.  *swoon


oh, and if you're in the nosebleed section at the symphony, take note that there might only be 4 stalls in the women's restroom.  but there might just be a comfy sofa for your wait.


if a symphony is not within a reasonable driving distance, i especially encourage you to take advantage of the wealth of information that can be found online.

classics for kids is a wonderful source for introducing kids to classical music.  i've been known to play samples of music from their site while we paint.  sounds relaxing, yes?

new york philharmonic kidzone offers engaging information with online games.  kids have an opportunity to learn about the soloists with the orchestra and the conductor, including short biographies of how each person got involved in the the field of music.  children can also assemble their own instrument.  

for older kids, who don't mind less fluff, has a unique presentation.  you are able to actually observe a video of the orchestra perform, as you watch the musical piece being played.

for education on the go, there's a plethora of musical apps.  if you're like me, free is the favored budget.  what do you think of the mso learn app?  this should give your student a beginner's knowledge in the collaboration of the beauty of the orchestra.  classics for kids also has an app {wguc public radio}.


A Chance to Win! 
*giveaway now closed*

maybe you have a hands-on learner?  i'd love to invite you to sign-up for the knowledge box central newsletter, then leave a comment letting me know that you'd like to win a lapbook on classical composers and instruments. i'm walking my girls through this very same lapbook!

*now the business side of this fun*  the winner will be chosen august 7th.  i will contact you, so please make sure i have your 411.  you'll have 48 hours to reply or another winner will have to be chosen.  *sigh*


"If the student truly absorbs the concept of free inquiry in the field of music, unimpeded by blind adherence to doctrine and tradition, he will bring something of this approach not only to other fields of knowledge but to the conduct of his daily life."  ~William Howard Schuman, August 4, 1910 – February 15, 1992  


to read about other famous and fascinating birthdays in august, head over to iHomeschool Network.


  1. "music study builds self-esteem, teaches patience, exercises thinking skills, encourages self-discipline, advances social development, and diligence."


    I really didn't know that much about this composer, either - and I'm a musician. He is one of the lesser known, that's for sure.

    I'm pinning this -- thank you!!

  2. I am not a musical person other than to say I love music. However, I have decided I'm going to take a piano lesson this year. I have a piano and have always wanted to play. I figure why not give it a try. Not sure someone tone deaf can learn but we'll find out I guess : ) Thankfully my girls got the hubs side of the family genes when it comes to music. His whole family plays an instrument and sings well.

  3. Having a son that has played in the Youth Symphony for the last 6 years, this makes my heart smile!!! I truly believe that with all we have available, there is no excuse not to introduce our kids to "culture" of all kinds!! You never know what will spark an interest!!

  4. "hangs head in shame"

    I do introduce but none of us play anything. Well does Penquins at Play count on the piano OR the first part of The Dance by Garth Brooks? That is all I remember from my piano years. I have thought about putting the girls in piano... but ONE MORE THING ON PLATE.

    again "hangs head in shame".....

  5. It's incredible what the gift of music can bring to a child. LOVE homeschooling for this very reason, we can spend hours on it and the kids love it!

  6. Lovely post. Agreed that music is so important. "It soothes the savage beast" don't you know? I am off to check out some of these links and apps.


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