We decided to host a program on musicians once a week during the month of June (we dedicated July to artists). I went through picture book biographies and chose titles I thought would be good for storytime or to build a program around. This did limit us a bit, since I was looking for shorter books and I was working with ages 4-8 for the program. But you could adapt this program for any age and use longer books if you wanted.
The first week, we kicked things off with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
We started the program by giving the kids some background information on Mozart-his full name, date of birth, when he started playing and composing music, what he was famous for, why he's important, etc.
Then Miss Pamela read Play, Mozart, Play! by Peter Sis. This was a great choice for our young audience and we had them repeat the "play, Mozart, play" refrain along with us.
I used some short Mozart pieces from Beethovan's Wig and had the kids shake the parachute along to the music and listen to when it slows, when it's fast, soft or loud.
I talked about how Mozart composed classical music and how classical music is often used in movies and TV and how a lot of classical pieces have become famous because of that. I made a short quiz of songs (things like the theme to Masterpiece Theater, songs from Fantasia, William Tell Overture, Ride of the Valkyries, In the Hall of the Mountain King, etc) I had the kids listen and tell me if they had ever heard the songs before and where-the adults had lots of fun with this too!
I didn't have a good movement song to go with one of Mozart's songs, so I used Tippy Toe from The Learning Groove as a way to get the kids listening to thinking about classical music.
I then talked about how classical music can have a lot of secrets and surprises in it and you really have to listen to it and I had the kids lay down and listen to Haydn's Surprise Symphony, which is one of my favorite classical pieces-and if they don't know they jump in the middle which is always a lot of fun!
Then it was time for crafts and activities:
-Compose your own music-we set out various instruments and let the kids play-this got very loud because we put out a couple small pianos and some play drums!
-Musical staff thumbprints-I printed off a blank staff and had the kids use their thumprints to make the musical notes
-Mozart wigs-I had some white yarn already cut out for our superhero masks, so I reused the leftovers and had the kids gather the yarn all together to create wigs perfect for a classical composer.
-Mozart "Did You Know" fact wall-Pamela is amazing and created a did you know wall with some fun facts about Mozart.
We had a huge turnout for this program-27 kids!-which was much more than we were expecting. A lot of our homeschool families loved this program and decided to use it as a history unit, which was a fun idea. And we sneakily educated the adults about classical music and picture book biographies along with the kids, so it was a win-win all around!