This week is “Movie Week”!! It is, for some, the favorite week. I try to pick out a movie that most kids have not seen. It needs to be age appropriate and relevant to our discussion and … oh yes, entertaining. This year in our music history segment I am trying to highlight a place and then associate it with composers who lived there. I am hoping it will be less dry than just saying, “Handel was born in Germany but lived in England”. So how does this relate to Movie Week?
This week’s movie is “Hans Christian Andersen” starring Danny Kaye. Do you remember it? I do. As a child, it made quite an impression on me. It takes place in Denmark – well not actually because it probably takes place on a studio set in LA – but it is supposed to look like Denmark. I am trying to get the students to look at the scenery: the babbling brooks, the cobblestone streets next to the waterways, the scene where they head out on the open sea to Copenhagen. Then I am planning to play some music by composers who lived nearby. My dream is that they see what scenery inspired these composers. I will tell you truly that I never know if my grand plans work, but worst case scenario they see a fun movie and hear pleasant music. Best case, they make a connection and when I pull out a piece for them to play and it is by one of those composers, they remember. We are only watching the first 5 tracks as the story gets a little slow and we see a lot less scenery so it does not suit my purpose.
As a side note, if you want to see scenes from this movies, pull it up on YouTube. It is a difficult movie to find so that is your best bet. The music is by Frank Loesser who also wrote “Guys and Dolls”, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and a few others. Danny Kaye does a great job and I think you will recognize many of the songs especially “The Inchworm”. Have Fun!!