Explore the activities below with your child(ren) before arriving at Symphony Center – they are broken down by activity length so you can prepare on your own schedule.
Click here to return to the Spanish Rhythm and Dance Parent Guide!
3-minute activity: Maps and Instruments of Spain
1. Show your child(ren) the maps of Spain below, focusing on the southern part of Spain in yellow. For a larger version, use these PDF images.
2. Use the prompts below to start a discussion about Spain.
“Do you see how close it is to the Mediterranean Sea? Does anyone in our family come from Spain? Where is Spain on a map or a globe?”
3. Tell your child that many great orchestral works imitate the styles and sounds from southern Spain, specifically the section called Andalusia. Show him or her Andalusia on the map, and explain that many other cultures brought musical influences to Andalusia, including Portugal, Italy, Egypt, North Africa, India and Lebanon. Ask what those music influences might have brought to Spain (e.g., dances, native instruments, melodies, rhythms, songs, etc.).
4. Show your child the instruments below, or use this PDF worksheet.
5. Explain that Spanish music features traditional instruments. Explore the sound clips with your child so you can hear what each instrument sounds like.
5-minute activity: Create your own Spanish dance!
1. Tell your child that you will be listening to a short excerpt of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio espagnol, Movement V: Fandango.
2. After listening, ask your child to describe what kind of movements dancers would be doing to the music (e.g., sway, stomp, clap, glide, flick, bend, or turn).
3. Together, choose three action words that describe the movements, and then have your child practice those movements.
4. Listen to the excerpt again, and have your child perform their dance using their three chosen movements. Help your child switch movements by indicating the change of motion after about 20 seconds through an agreed signal (e.g., clap, snap).
10-minute activity: learn about the flamenco dance and how to perform one.
1. Share the following descriptions of Spanish dances with your child.
Flamenco: A traditional Spanish dance that uses arm and hand movements that tell a story, punctuated by clapping and percussive footwork. Flamenco is part of an oral tradition passed down by families and it differs from locale to locale. As it traveled through Andalusia, and eventually South America, it incorporated the local dance traditions and rhythms of different communities and cultures.
Fandango: One of the many flamenco rhythms and the name for a gathering of people where song and dance is performed.
Palmas: Rhythmic handclaps that flamenco dancers perform to accompany their dancing.
Compás: The rhythm used for the palmas.
2. Watch this video on YouTube, which features the 12-beat compás.
3. Practice the compás together with your child. First start by saying the numbers out loud, making sure to emphasize the bold numbers below:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 (repeat)
4. After your child masters speaking the rhythm, have them clap the rhythm while still speaking the numbers. Repeat until your child has learned the rhythm. Use the YouTube video as a guide as necessary.
5. Try moving the pattern to another part of the body! Have your child start the rhythm in their feet, by stomping with their right foot, then left foot on the bold numbers.
6. Get creative! Brainstorm with your child other ways to perform the flamenco rhythm.