2010-2011 Composers of the Month

1 Aug

In preparation for the new school year, I have archived last year’s Washington Elementary composers of the month here as a blog post. As you revisit these composers, are there any requests for composers for the upcoming year? Like last year, I will be working with Mr. Stevens, our art teacher, to try to find commonalities between the composer and artist of the month. I have not picked any specific composers yet, so I am open to suggestions! If you are a Washington student or parent, please comment below with your ideas and why you would like to learn more about the composers you list. Thanks!


March & April: Camille Saint-Saëns (October 9, 1835 – December 16, 1921).

Here are the Amazon links to both of the Carnival of the Animals books we looked at in music classes: Jack Prelutsky and Mary GrandPre version, Barrie C. Turner and Sue Williams version. We also listened to Saint-Saëns’s Danse Macabre, a scary piece that is often played around Halloween. Here is a podcast from Classics for Kids about Halloween music that includes Danse Macabre.

February: Duke Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974).

Here is the Amazon link to the book about Duke Ellington’s life that we read in most music classes, as well as the book about the history of African-American music. Here is an excellent website from Carnegie Hall with an interactive timeline of African-American music.

December & January: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (May 7, 1840 – November 6, 1893).

You can listen to some podcasts about Tchaikovsky and his Nutcracker ballet here. Here is the Amazon link to the picture book version of The Nutcracker that grades 1-3 read in music class.


November: Eric Whitacre (born January 2, 1970).

Some of our favorite pieces by Eric Whitacre include Animal Crackers Vols. 1 and 2, With a Lily in Your Hand, and Sleep. Here is information on Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir. The new Virtual Choir 2.0 Sleep video has been released and can be viewed below!

October: Charles Ives (October 20, 1874 – May 19, 1954).

Here is the Amazon link to the picture book we read in music class, What Charlie Heard by Mordicai Gerstein. And here are the Classics for Kids podcasts about Charles Ives.

Camille Saint-Saëns

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  1. A Refreshing Start to Year Nine | Kelly Riley's Music Classroom - November 3, 2011

    […] music history instruction has always been a struggle for me, so last year my big push was the Composer of the Month series I started. The kids loved learning about the composers, and I enjoyed it too, but the folk […]