I have to say, I have some of the most creative students you will ever meet. I've been using a combination of the composer notebooking pages from notebookingpages.com, the composer bios from the book The Story of the Orchestra and various listening examples I've compiled. It seems, though, as hands on, interactive and exciting as I try to make it, it's evidently not quite enough for my students.
Last week, we learned about Bach. I learned all sorts of things I never knew about Bach while looking over their notebooking pages at the end of class. For example: Did you know that Bach was a space alien? He had blue skin, and green eyes, with orange hair! Furthermore, it turns out that his name wasn't even Bach, it was... Are you ready for this? Chew-BACH-a!
This week I decided that I was not going to give them the chance for such silliness. I elected not to give them the full page coloring sheet of Brahms. But, that didn't stop them. This week, they dubbed Johannes Brahms "Santa Brahms" and informed me that he looks "scary," and proceeded to relate him somehow to the Godfather (I didn't quite understand, probably because they didn't understand).
My first instinct was to be frustrated. However, upon more thought, I've decided to embrace it. Call me a bad teacher, but they remember the facts. They read the information. Even though they colored the great composers crazy colors, I bet that if I showed them pictures of Bach and Brahms, they would be able to recognize who was who... and (most importantly) they are learning that classical music can be fun, and doesn't have to be stuffy.
I'm pretty sure that Bach and Brahms will forgive me.
"The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music, they should be taught to love it instead."