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!



Why Music Perspectives?

I have 7 years teaching experience in the public school system. My first job I was an assistant band director for fifth and sixth grade band. I taught group lessons or some people call them sectionals. I also taught an acting class and general music. After I got married and moved to Michigan it took a while to find a job. I did some long term subbing in general music and first grade before I landed at job in Kalamazoo Public Schools. Orchestra and general music were what I taught my first year but eventually just general music. At first I was K-6, then the 6th graders moved out and I was left with K-5.

I still on a rare occasion will sub a music class for the public schools but mostly I just use my skills to teach my kids at home. My goal is to pass on some ideas on how to teach music at home whether you homeschool or not. I believe it’s never too late to learn an instrument or sing. We all have the capability to do so and can enjoy music.

Tin Whistle

We started Classical Conversations last year and I was a substitute tutor. Half way through the year I took over for another tutor. This year I was a tutor from the beginning. It seems a lot of tutors dread tin whistle. I know it can be tricky but hang in there and do your best. The kids will learn a little each year. I have 8-9 year olds and I’m amazed at how good they are.

Maybe this is a good time to mention I have a degree in music education. I was an assistant band director for a year and then taught general music for about 5 years. I long term subbed first grade in there too. Anyway, I believe you can do it and I’m here to help!

Although tin whistle is in the key of D many songs written for the recorder will work. If you google Recorder Karate you can find the images for “Hot Cross Buns,” “Merrily We Roll Along,” “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring,” and more! I like to have kids take three steps to learning a song.

  1. First we say the rhythm using ta for a quarter note, too-oo for a half note and te-te for eighth note pairs.
  2. Then I have them say the rhythm and finger along.
  3. Lastly I have them play.

Of course this could take some practice and they may also need to say the note names in there as a step. Instruments take a lot of time to learn and a lot of practice so don’t expect a ton in only 30 minutes 6 times total!

Here are some other resources.

“A Thump in the Night” by Sharon Burch

This is a music teacher who wrote books for very younger children to help them learn to read music. The character travel to Treble Clef Island and encounter many different places along the way. She has other books as well since the first one only introduces a few of the notes. Its a great way for the really little ones to get it or even older ones that prefer a story.

“Mr. Everybody’s Musical Apartment” by Miles Music

This is mainly made for teaching recorder but it teachers all the note names and some of the songs could be used for tin whistle or easily transposed.

As for just general music stuff, there are a lot of resources out there with fun games and materials to print for FREE. (My favorite word)

If you go to Color in My Piano and click on Printable> Games and scroll down there are some rhythm games and also some music staff games. You can print the music staff and then use M and Ms or gems from the dollar store to mark spaces and lines.

Here are a few ideas from my Pinterest board. //“>Music Ideas

If you need more ideas please feel free to contact me with your specific situation and I will try to help out. If you have more ideas post them in the comments.