Happy Birthday Tchaikovsky (Free Unit Study & A Giveaway)


On May 7, we celebrate Tchaikovsky's birthday. 

I've found a great way to study composers is to focus on just one each month. Why not study Tchaikovsky in May? 

While most famous for composing The Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky wrote so many works that children (and adults!) will love and should know about.

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky is a Russian Romantic composer, born in 1840. He died in 1893, from what is believed to have been Cholera.  His music reflects a life that was full of happiness and sorrow, and so very much talent.

When he was just 14 his mother died, and within a month Tchaikovsky was writing his very first composition, a waltz in her memory. 

Following are a list of resources for learning about Tchaikovsky in your homeschool, as well as a free Nutcracker Unit Study I created, and a very special giveaway.

If you are at a loss as to how to approach composer study in your homeschool, let me share our very basic plan with you:


  • Listen to the composer's music A LOT.
  • Find a good children's book about the composer.
  • If possible, find a narrated recording/activity about one of the composer's great works.
  • Add some notebooking/lapbooking to cement the learning.


You can find out lots more in The Ultimate Guide to Composer Study. This is an exhaustive resource for studying composers in your homeshcool. 

Resources for Studying Tchaikovsky

First, I would play Tchaikovsky all the time for my children.  Here is a  YouTube channel full of Tchaikovsky's greatest works. Play snippets of Tchaikovsky throughout your day.  

Quick listening activities include: 

  • Draw a picture of what you hear (put a big roll of butcher paper on the floor with lots of markers and let your kids have at it... add to the paper throughout the month - a Tchaikovsky Collage!)
  • Listen to Tchaikovsky for 2 minutes. Write as many adjectives as you can to describe the music. 
  • Listen to Tchaikovsky for 2 minutes. Write the names of all the instruments you hear.
  • Listen to a different piece of music with dinner each night - discuss as a family.

Studying a composer doesn't have to be daunting or time consuming. Just DO IT, and your children will thank you one day.


Online Free Resources 

Hey Kids, Meet Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

The Biography of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsy from Classics for Kids

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky - short audio shows about the composer and his music

Tchaikovsky Composer Study - a Squidoo lens from Jimmie (very nice - includes notebooking pages!)

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Composer - from DSO Kids


Free Nutcracker Unit Study

Last year I created a unit study of The Nutcracker ballet.  It is designed to teach your student all about the music, story and composer of the ballet. 

Download The Nutcracker Unit Study. 

*It doesn't have to be Christmas for you to study the ballet, you know (but bookmark the unit study if you just feel weird learning about The Nutcracker in May!).

Other Recommended Resources

Peter Tchaikovsky:  Getting To Know the World's Greatest Composers

Famous Children:  Tchaikovsky

Tchaikovsky Discovers America

The Best of Tchaikovsky:  Classical Kids

The Story of Swan Lake from Maestro Classics



 My children loved The Story of Swan Lake, a beautiful CD with activities from Maestro Classics.  (I reviewed this CD early last year.)

The beauty of a Maestro Classics recording is that it requires NO WORK from you, and 100% enjoyment on the part of your children.

Maestro Classics is graciously giving away a copy of Swan Lake to one lucky reader. Follow the instructions in the widget below to enter. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway


This post is a part of the iHomeschool Network's Birthday Lessons in May.  Starting Wednesday, May 1, visit other bloggers in the network for other birthday lessons!