Last year I purchased a package deal of Opal Wheelers biographies of famous composers. I am still glad I did. The coloring pages and the music on CD have been very useful to us. While I read from the book, Mozart the Wonder boy the boys work on coloring pages, two from each chapter which they colored with felt pens or water colors. They can listen for hours if their hands are kept busy.
I love how all of Opal Wheelers stories of the composers begin by telling us about the lives of the composers as children. We read about how they grew up and what people were in their lives. We learn about their families and what kind of children they were. We can see if they had a good life like our own or if there where difficult thigs in it. Her way of telling their stories makes it easy for my boys to picture themsleves in the lives of these little geniuses and see them as real people with family and troubles etc. Knowing more of the realities and personalities adds so much to the understanding of the music we are enjoying.
After reading Mozart the Wonder boy, we filled out a biography notebook page about Mozart and said what we liked about him. (his music of course!) We put him on the composer timeline to see when he lived compared to Beethoven and Bach whom we learned about last year.
Zak's Lapbook coverMozart Tonight. Which is a richly illustrated book that takes us behind the scenes on the night Mozart is to perform the opera Don Giovani. The story fills in the gap where opal wheeler leaves off and tells us more what he was like once he grows up and marries. It was also a wonderful introduction to our look at the opera The Magic Flute by showing us what an opera is and what all goes into performing one.
Once we completed many coloring pages and had a grasp on the flow of the life story of Mozart, we turned our attention to Mozart's last work, the opera entitled The Magic Flute. I used Classical Kids Mozart's Magic Fantasy to introduce them to the opera. We haven't listened to an opera or seen an opera before so I was thrilled when the boys REALLY enjoyed this production of it. They really like the birdman character and so we did a few activities with him.
First of all we made bird masks. And we learned the birdman song. Then the boys put on their bird masks and lip synced the song. So cute! Here is T.J.'s video
From one of my digital copies of "The Tutor" I found a 'story' of the Magic Flute which we read through and narrated and then did some copywork of their narrations. I wrote down on a white board what they remembered about the birdman, and then they copied it onto the notebook page. There is a notebook page for the birdman and one for the queen of the night.
For fun to end our study of Mozart, we ate cookies and cocoa and listened to the whole production of Mozart's Magic Fantasy from start to finish with out any breaks. (When we listened to it the first time I broke it into smaller sections so we could talk about what was happening in the story etc. We did one section, maybe half of an hour, twice a week until it was completed.)
If you ask the boys before we did this study on Mozart they would say that He was their favorite composer...now after the study HE STILL IS their favorite composer. What is it about the music of this young man who endears himself to us so well?
BTW One of the best spots on the internet for getting ideas and finding resources for a Mozart composer study is Jimmie's Mozart lense. And....she has pages and pages of these wonderful lenses for just about any topic you may be studying. Check out her lense master page. I just them!