This assembly program is designed to foster literacy, comprehension and vocabulary building.  Music is a language that can express thoughts and feelings.  When music is used in conjunction with books and poetry, children use their imaginations to experience literature in a unique way.

  • Use their imaginations to predict what will happen next in the story of “Peer Gynt”.
    Guess what they think the music will sound like in describing the action of “Peer Gynt”.
    • Do sound effects to help tell the tale of “Peer Gynt”.
    • Deduce which animal is being portrayed in Saint Saens’ music Carnival of the Animals and hear the hilarious Ogden Nash poems that go along with the music.
    • Listen to a piece of music Beth composed and give a short description or story relating what the music brought to mind.

Who’s Afraid of Classical Music is a lively, interactive assembly program of spirited music by Gershwin, Schumann, Debussy, Bartok and Sussman, and is appropriate for students from Kindergarten through 8th grade. Students will enhance their listening skills, which will carry over to the classroom. They will also realize that they are already familiar with classical music – they’re heard it in movies, commercials and cartoons. Beth helps bring classical music down to earth as she plays familiar snippets of music heard in The Wizard of Oz, Fantasia 2000, Bugs Bunny cartoons, United Airlines commercials and video games to name a few. Beth modifies the program depending on the grade level of her audience. The program runs approximately 30 minutes for younger grades and up to 45 minutes for older grades. A free CD of the pieces played on the program is given to each school. Copies for in-classroom use can then be made in order to extend the learning experience. Teachers have reported back that when playing the CD in class, creative writing flowed and the demeanor of the class improved.

Click here to see Beth's Study guide material

During the assembly the children will learn to become better listeners through games and interactions such as:

Learning the secret joke of Debussy’s Golliwogg’s Cakewalk
• Clapping syncopated rhythms while hearing a Gershwin Prelude
• Guessing titles based on musical clues as they listen to pieces from Schumann’s Scenes from Childhood.
• Suggesting interpretations of a Rumanian Folk Dance by Bartok (which Beth plays back for them)
• Finding out what famous movie inpired Beth to write a piece called The Wizard.

Performing Arts Content Standards, which are covered in these programs
include the following strands:

• Artistic Perception – Historical and Cultural Context – Aesthetic Valuing – Connections, Relationships, Applications - Language Arts
• There are also connections throughout the curriculum including History, Social Studies and Vocabulary.

Other educational benefits of these assemblies:

• Motivates students to be inquisitive and to participate. *
• Encourages students to seek multiple interpretations to question rather simple right or wrong answers (critical thinking skills) *
• Learning in the arts can lead to improved achievment in other academic subjects *
• Classical music opens up pathways to learn and stimulates the brain in ways that other subjects do not.
• The effects of listening to classical music are long lasting!

*from the California Arts Council’s “An Arts in Education Research Compendium