Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Classics Kids Should Know: Papa Joe's Music

Papa Joe's actual name was Franz Joseph Haydn, but his students, including both Beethoven and Mozart would have referred to him fondly as Papa Joe.  Haydn had a great sense of humor and was a kindly mentor and instructor as well as an incredibly talented musician and composer.

Three pieces kids might really appreciate by this great musician are his "Surprise Symphony," "Toy Symphony," and "The Clock."

Surprise Symphony

SOME people have always had trouble staying awake while visiting a concert hall where a symphony is being played.  Haydn used to get really annoyed that people would fall asleep while music was being played, so he developed his symphony number 94 as a joke for these sleepers.  

Listen to the Surprise Symphony, and I think you will understand what the thinking was.  

Can your child listen enough times to begin to anticipate the surprise?  How many times is the audience meant to be surprised? 

Toy Symphony

No one REALLY knows who wrote the Toy symphony for sure.  It may have been Haydn, it may have been Mozart or it may even have been written by another.  However, it certainly fits with Haydn's style and sense of humor and so I include it here.  Young children will have a blast listening for the cuckoo and ratchet sounds that help to give the symphony the sense of toys at play and the fun spirit that makes it so appropriate for the young.

Can your kids identify the gears?  Do they hear the cuckoo clock?  Can they identify any other sounds like the toy trumpet?  Watch while the musicians play.  The ones with the funny hats have highlighted instruments that were not typically considered a part of the symphony regulars.

The Clock

The Clock is so named because, well, listen to the second movement and you'll know.  It will take a minute, but kids will be able to identify the reason too.  Let them dance around to the tic-tock beat and really feel the clear steady beat to the piece.  The official name of The Clock, is Symphony No. 101.  This is a great one for young kids because they can really hear the beat providing you with a great example of "beat" for the young.

Franz Joseph Haydn

Classics for Kids did two audio descriptions about Franz Joseph Haydn I suggest if you are studying the composer with your kids.  They are:  Father of the Symphony and Franz Joseph Haydn.  Of course, he and his music are also discussed in other audio files on the site.  Obviously, there are tons of other compositions to check out by Haydn, please explore and let us know which pieces are your kid's favorites.

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