Carnival of the Animals

So my goal with the music part of my blog is to empower parents to teach music to their kids at home. There are several ways to do this and you don’t have to have a lot of background. One book with music I like to use is Carnival of the Animals.


Carnival of the Animals is actually a suite of 14 songs written by the French Romantic composer Camille Saint-Saens. I happened across these lessons from the DSO that you could use too. In this book there are pictures of the various animals in the suite as well as a recording. I would like to share with you how I used this when I was teaching. I feel that even my 8 year old would do this at home. The first few pages talk about the orchestra and I like to introduce briefly what an orchestra is and some of the instruments in the orchestra. Each song has an animal and the songs are short which is great because they really need to listen to them several times. I may spend a week on each animal but may also do another lesson along side this.

  1. Show the kids the picture of the animal and ask them what the animals may look like and sound like. Is the animal big or small, loud or soft, fast or slow, etc.
  2. Then I would read the passage of that particular animal.
  3. Next have them listen quietly or possibly draw a picture of the animal as they listen.
  4. This time read the passage with the music. See if you can line up what they are saying with the part of the music. This may take some practice on your part.
  5. Next I let them move around the room acting like that animal. Before doing this you may want to talk about how that animal may move and make sure it fits with the music.

If you are doing this in a group of kids you need to lay some ground rules for moving about the room.

  1. ALWAYS walk. They can walk fast but always walk.
  2. DO NOT touch anything or anybody. Keep your hands to yourself.
  3. BE QUIET and listen to the music as you move.

I usually have each child find a place in the room where they can put their hands out to their sides and not touch anyone. That way they are spread out from the beginning.

I hope you enjoy this collection of songs. It’s a great way to introduce your kids to music at a young age!



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