Listen to Music that Tells a Story ~ Sorcerer's Apprentice Lesson (with a Maestro Classics Giveaway)


One of our favorite ways to easily enjoy music is to learn about stories in music.

I remember wondering where composers could get an idea for a piece of music. It wasn't until I was older that I realized they could be inspired by great stories. 

One of the very best examples of this is The Sorcerer's Apprentice, by Paul Dukas (based on the original poem by Goethe).

*This post contains affiliate links.

This type of a lesson doesn't have to be complicated. It doesn't even require any writing.

Students all ages enjoy this story, and will remember it for quite some time.

Introduce the Story/Poem: The Sorcerer's Apprentice

We actually have two versions of The Sorcerer's Apprentice. I love to collect rare children's books, and found this one in the vendor hall at The Great Homeschool Convention in March.  (I do see it's available on Amazon, too - this is my favorite version.)


 We have another version that we picked up at a used book sale - I also like this telling of The Sorcerer's Apprentice very much, and think it's better for younger children.

You can also share Goethe's original poem, which has been translated from German into English.


After reading the story and discussing it a bit, I tell children that a composer named Paul Dukas (1865-1935) wrote a piece of music to go along with this story.  We then listen to the music and try to "hear the story" in the music. 


And of course, we must watch the portion of Walt Disney's Fantasia based on the Sorcerer's Apprentice:


As you listen to the music, pause it whenever you feel the music has really reflected the story in an interesting way. I love how the music is dark and spooky in the beginning - Walt Disney's animation even reflects this, too.

As the piece progressed there is a march like rhythm as the pieces of the broomstick are coming to life.  The tempo of the piece continues to go faster and faster as things get more out of control for the poor apprentice.

The end of the piece finishes much like it began, calm and mysterious - with a loud ending (the sorcerer spanking Mickey with the broom).

I think you'll find your children will be quite amused with this piece!

Other ideas for teaching include:


  • Draw or paint a picture while you are listening to the music
  • Write as many ways you can think of that the music sounds like the story
  • List all of the instruments you hear
  • If you have a piano or other instrument can you make up your own story and then "tell it" on that instrument?


This type of listening activity fuels creativity and can greatly inspire our children.

One of my favorite music education companies is Maestro Classics. They specialize in stories in music.

Each Maestro Classics CD is a story in music, complete with award winning music, narration, and activities. It's as simple as putting the CD in your player and listening. There is NO WORK required from the parent! 

They just so happen to have a CD or The Sorcerer's Apprentice which I am delighted to give away to one lucky reader today!From their website:


"The lazy apprentice, confident that he can use his master’s spell to do his chores, chants the magic spell and takes a nap. As the water swirls around the workshop getting ever higher, the apprentice awakens, only to discover that he does not know the spell to stop the brooms! A thrilling narration accompanies Paul Dukas’ dramatic musical score.
A 24-page activity book included with the CD contains a biography of Dukas, information on pitched percussion instruments, sheet music, a kitchen percussion play-along, games and more. MP3 download from Maestro Classics website includes a PDF of the activity booklet."



Follow the Rafflecopter instructions to enter the giveaway.

*This giveaway is open to US and International Residents! An International Winner will receive the .mp3 recording of the story as well as a .pdf download of the activity booklet.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Other posts in this series:

Day 1: Teaching Music Appreciation in Your Homeschool

 This post is part of a Summer Hopscotch from the iHomeschool Network. Visit other bloggers to read about more topics that can help you on your homeschool journey!