Introducting Musicals to your Children

Today's post is about musicals because my husband and I are going to see The Phantom of the Opera tonight for our anniversary. I have NEVER seen it - a crime, I know. Needless to say, I'm very excited and I think it's safe to say my husband is, too.

Since I was a Music Education major in college and used to be an elementary music teacher in my former life, music is a must in our homeschool curriculum. We used to do a lot of informal music study in our house, but now that I have the sole responsibility for the education of my children I love that I can make it a big part of our learning.

When my daughter was 3 1/2 I took her to her first musical, Beauty and the Beast at the Fox Theater in downtown Atlanta. Although our seats were the very top row (and I'm not kidding - the very top row), she sat on my lap and was enthralled with every minute of it. We listened to that music literally for years afterward.

I think our next musical was Fiddler on the Roof. Since it is financially impossible for us to go see all musicals downtown, we went to see this at a local private school where my good friend is one of the music directors. Tickets were $10 and the production was FABULOUS! The story was good for children her age (she was 6 at the time) and the music was most certainly contagious. My daughter is blessed to have a granddaddy who lives nearby that also loves musicals, so he would purchase DVDs and CDs for her. We watched "Fiddler on the Roof" a lot after we saw it live, and even my son (who was then 3) liked parts of it.

Another great musical is Once Upon a Mattress which is just a different version of The Princess and the Pea. We saw this again at the same private school and loved it. The next year we saw Seussical there - and for months afterward my daughter and I would be singing "A person's a person no matter how small!".

Other musicals we have just watched at our house include:

The Sound of Music
South Pacific
(for older kids)
The Music Man
Mary Poppins
The Wizard of Oz
West Side Story
(for older kids)
Hello Dolly

And, most recently, we went to see The Little House on the Prairie musical and met Melissa Gilbert after the show!

As I think about our upcoming school year (I will be doing some serious planning all next week) I would like to incorporate a musical each month - even if they are a review of ones we have already seen. We can listen to the music and learn about the composer(s) and also talk about the time period a musical comes from and how the story reflects what is going on during that particular time. In my opinion, music is a gift you give to your children - a gift they can draw on for years and years to come. I still have vivid memories of my dad humming the 1812 overture (and that's a hard one to hum!), singing Adelweiss, and a record cabinet full of great music!

I found someone's list on Amazon of musicals - if you need help choosing musicals for your kids, I think this will be helpful! Here is a short article about introducing musicals to your children - it has some helpful tips which I like. While looking at this article, I also stumbled upon another site, "Classics for Kids". I think I'll be spending some time here as I do planning next week! Our all time favorite music comes off of 2 CDs called "Beethoven's Wig" -- this is classical music with funny lyrics, and it's catchy.

In addition to musicals my daughter takes piano lessons and I hope to get both children involved in a music program through church this fall. I'm teaching a music class for the younger ones in our homeschool co-op, so there's a little music instruction, too. My hope for my children is that they each enjoy music, play music, and share music with others. And, even if it is not their passion in life, they at least will have an appreciation they can pass along to their own children.
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