Welcome to the A Midsummer Night’s Dream Parent Guide! 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.
2-minute activity: Wedding March
1. Listen to the Wedding March until 0:35.
2. Ask your child if they are familiar with the music. Tell them that this is a called the Wedding March, and that it is famously played at many weddings even today.
3. Listen to the excerpt again and have your child imagine the setting of a wedding and who might be in attendance. Have them share their ideas with you.
4. Play it again and have your child march to the beat of the music, imagining that they are participants in the wedding.
10-minute activity: Who is Puck?
1. Introduce your child to the character Puck:
In William Shakespeare’s story A Midsummer Night’s Dream, there is a magical character named Puck. Puck loves to play jokes on humans. Puck sometimes tries to help people fall in love, but things don’t always go according to plan!
Composer Felix Mendelssohn captures Puck’s lively, free spirited nature with a fun melody played in the Scherzo from his music version of the play.
2. Ask your child to imagine a forest, and that they have found the character Puck. Ask them to think about what he looks like and how he might move in the forest.
3. Play the first 1:24 from the Scherzo. Have your child share their answers to the questions above.
4. Play the music again, and have your child listen for the specific musical elements that helped determine Puck’s characteristics (e.g., dynamics, tempo, texture, timbre). Talk about the different possibilities with your child. For example:
What musical elements did Mendelssohn use to create the character of Puck? How did he use them?
Dynamics: was the music soft, medium, or loud?
Tempo: was the music slow or fast?
Texture: was the music smooth or jumpy?
Timbre: what instruments did you hear?
How did these things influence your image of Puck?
Have your child share their thoughts with you (e.g., I saw Puck jumping and dancing all around the forest because I heard the flute playing fast and moving all around).
6. Listen to the entire Scherzo again, but this time have your child draw what they imagined Puck to look like, and any actions he might be doing.