Musical Monday: I See a Song

 Happy Monday, everyone!  Well, my post today stems from something new I learned this afternoon!  I have always known Eric Carle for his popular stories such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, The Tiny Seed and The Grouchy Ladybug.  Little did I know, he also has this amazing book, I See a Song.  Now, I haven’t officially held a copy of the book in my hands and read it that way (though I intend to get myself a copy immediately!), but I have watched and read it online and it…is…cool.  It is a book that everyone should “read” with their children, and hold an ensuing discussion or two about.  There is so much you can do with this story!

The book begins with a written opening from a hunched-over, older-looking man, about to perform on the violin: “I see a song.  I paint music.  I hear color.  I touch the rainbow and the deep spring in the ground.  My music talks.  My colors dance.  Come, listen, and let your imagination see your own song”.  The rest of the pages of the book are filled simply with illustrations (all in typical Eric Carle style), no words or “story”, per se.  How much I love this, I can’t even say.  I get a little ahead of myself when I think about it because there is just SO MUCH you can do with this – at home with your children, or in ANY classroom for any age of child.

I have taught a couple of lessons on the emotions of music to my little preschoolers.  Because of time constraints, we couldn’t go too far in-depth, but they really dug it.  They completely understood how different pieces of music sound different, make you feel different, invoke different reactions from different people.  We talked about happy, sad, angry and scared in music terms…but the list could go on and on.  We then picked out “happy” colours, “sad” colours, etc., and coloured a giant picture as we listened to different songs.  It was fun, neat to see and TOTALLY relevant to these little guys’ lives.  When you’re small and emotions run so rampant, they LOVED having a way to express it accurately and put a name to it.  Awesome.  And this book?? Couldn’t we just take it SO MUCH further next time?

When I get to this part of my lessons this coming year, I am going to use this book extensively, but it would be very easy to also touch on it quickly and easily at home.  Have a look through it first with your kids, getting them to predict what the pictures are saying, what they think the story is about.  A second time, discuss any feelings that come from the pictures (nothing is wrong!! remember everyone has a different interpretation!), what they think the man is feeling.  Maybe a third view of the book could include some accompanying music (I like the idea of classical), culminating with the kids making their OWN designs based on how the music/pictures make them feel.  Talk about the title and what it means to “SEE” a song…how music can paint pictures in our heads, but that ultimately those pictures come from how the music makes us feel.  It could continue to stem out from there, listening to lots of different kinds of music, from different time periods, countries and cultures.

You Tube has an animated version, set to classical music that I really like.  I actually really like the idea of using the video to do a lot of the teaching once the story book has been read and discussions have been had.  It is paired to very appropriate music and interpreted in a way that is easy to talk to children about.   Have a watch!  Enjoy!


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Amber Robinson (403) 852-5837
Margaret A. Powers

Educator - Director of STEAM Innovation - Consultant

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