Have more time? Explore these SHORT AT-HOME ACTIVITIES with your child before coming to Symphony Center!


2-minute activity: Exploration!

Guide your child through a discussion about exploration.

  • What does it mean to explore? (Explore = travel in or through an unfamiliar country or area in order to learn about or familiarize oneself with it.)
  • What is curiosity? (Curiosity = a quality related to inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation and learning, evident by observation in human and animal species.)
  • Must an explorer have curiosity?

7-minute activity: Symphony No. 5 by Ludwig van Beethoven

  • Listen to a short sample of the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.
  • While listening to a short excerpt, ask your child:
    • What observations can you make about this musical specimen?
    • Can you hear the “short-short-short-long” note pattern throughout the piece?
    • Count how many times you hear the “short-short-short-long” pattern in this piece?
    • How/Why has this opening rhythm pattern become so famous and memorable?
  • Tell your child, “A field researcher draws sketches of their discoveries. Pretend you have just discovered Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony for the very first time! While listening to the Fifth Symphony, draw a visual representation of the symphony’s “short-short-short-long” melodic pattern.
  • Ask your child to explore all the ways they can represent the melodic sound by using the following visual graphics: repetition; stronger, darker and lighter lines; straight lines and jagged lines; over-lapping shapes and designs.
  • Share your “field research” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. All research can be sent to:

The Education Department
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
220 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60604

10-minute+ activity: Mestizo Waltz from Three Latin-American Dances for Orchestra by Gabriela Lena Frank

  • Tell your child, “Let’s do some Field Research by pretending to travel to Perú.”
  • Listen to Gabriela Lena Frank’s Mestizo Waltz from Three Latin-American Dances for Orchestra.
  • While listening to the music, list the musical elements that reflect the Peruvian (Latin) musical sounds that inspired Gabriela.
  • Ask your child:
  • What instruments do you hear?
  • Do any instruments remind you of a Peruvian animal that you might see during field research?
  • Does the music’s tempo and melody suggest any special activities or sites you might see while in Peru?
  • Ask your child, “Does this music inspire you to tell a story, like Gabriela does through her music?”
  • Write a short poem or story inspired by the music, or draw a picture showing what you heard.