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


2-minute activity: Conflict and Harmony

Guide your child through a discussion about conflict and harmony.

  • Define conflict. Conflict is when things clash together, like an argument between two people. Conflict can be present in our world in many different ways.
  • Define harmony. Harmony is when things work together to create a sense of peace or happiness.
  • Ask your child to name some examples of conflict and harmony in our world.
  • Tell your child that harmony and conflict can be represented in different art forms like music and dance.
  • Tell your child that when they attend The Firebird concert they will hear music and see dance that illustrates the ideas of conflict and harmony.

7-minute activity: Listening for Conflict and Harmony

  • Listen to Death of Tybalt from Romeo and Juliet by Sergei Prokofiev.
  • While listening, ask your child:
    • Does this music sound like conflict or harmony?
    • What do you hear in the music that makes you think this way?
    • Is this music loud or soft? Fast or slow?
    • What instruments do you hear in this music?
  • Tell your child, “Prokofiev wrote this music for Romeo and Juliet, which is performed with ballet. In this example of music, two men were having an argument. How did you hear the argument expressed through the music?”
  • Listen to Russian Sailors’ Dance from The Red Poppy by Reinhold Glière.
  • While listening, ask your child:
    • Does this music sound like conflict or harmony?
    • What do you hear in the music that makes you think this way?
    • Is this music loud or soft? Fast or slow?
    • What instruments do you hear in this music?
  • Tell your child, “This song is called Russian Sailor’s Dance written by composer, Reinhold Glière and it is a part of a larger work of music that was set to a ballet, similar to Romeo and Juliet. This ballet takes place in Russia in the 1920’s. In this piece, the Russian sailors are dancing to celebrate a victory. Do you think this music represents conflict or harmony? Why?”

10-minute+ activity Read aloud the story of the Firebird to your child. You may use the Spotify links and the suggested timings in parentheses to match the story to the music.

The Firebird
Based on a Russian Folk Tale

Introduction – The Firebird and its Dance

(0:20-52) “Once upon a time, a long time ago in a faraway kingdom, there was a prince named Ivan. One night, Ivan was out hunting. It was an extremely dark night and though there was no moon in the sky, millions of stars shone brightly enough for him to find his way.  The forest was full of creatures. A soft wind made the trees shake and the leaves rustled against each other.

(1:05-1:41) The prince went silently in search of his prey, and in the middle of the dark forest, as he cleared his way through a dense group of thorny bushes, he came upon a bird that he had never seen before.  (2:13-2:44) The Firebird, as it was called, had feathers of brilliant colors and eyes that were like crystals. The Firebird was eating golden apples from a silver tree.

(2:44-3:12) The prince was amazed by this beautiful creature, and so he slowly, silently crept closer and closer to The Firebird. (3:12 – 5:08) When the prince was sure the Firebird had not heard him, he lunged at her! The prince captured the Firebird. The Firebird flapped her strong, broad wings and, using every bit of strength in her body, struggled to reach the freedom of the sky.

Finally, exhausted and realizing that she could not escape, the magical bird spoke to Prince Ivan and suggested a deal: If Ivan agreed to let her go, she would give the prince one of her magical feathers. This feather would protect Ivan from danger. If Ivan ever needed help, all he had to do was call for the Firebird, and she promised that she would come to his rescue.

Ivan agreed to this deal and released the Firebird. Once free, the Firebird removed a single, shining feather and gave it to Ivan. She thanked Ivan for releasing her and stretched her wings and flew away into the night.”

Round Dance of the Princesses

(0:20-4:12) “Later that same night, Ivan came upon a group of twelve maidens dancing and playing games in front of a dark, enchanted castle.

(4:12 -5:32) They warned Ivan that they were being held captive by the evil sorcerer, Kastchei, and if caught, Kastchei would turn the prince into stone.

Infernal Dance of King Kastchei

(0:00-3:56) “Shortly after the maidens left, the guards who protected Kastchei appeared, shortly followed by Kastchei, himself. The sorcerer was furious that Ivan had invaded his kingdom and ordered the guards to arrest Ivan at once! Prince Ivan tried to escape, but was captured and brought to the sorcerer.

Even though he was terrified, Prince Ivan remembered the Firebird’s promise. As Kastchei’s guards held him tight, Ivan was able to reach for the single feather. Just as the sorcerer was about to turn him to stone, Ivan waved the feather and the Firebird instantly appeared.

The magical bird put a spell on Kastchei and his guards, causing them to dance a wild and furious dance. They danced faster and faster, until exhausted, they fell down – sound asleep!”

Berceuse (Lullaby)

(0:00-3:53) “As Kastchei and his servants slept, the Firebird sang a haunting melody. It was a lullaby that kept them under her spell. While they slept, the bird told Ivan the secret to the sorcerer’s power. It was kept inside a large egg, hidden inside a wooden crate in the castle. If Ivan wanted to rescue the princess and banish Kastchei and his guards, he would need to find and destroy the egg!”

Finale

(0:00-1:09) “Prince Ivan set out in search of the crate that held the egg. After hours of searching, Ivan discovered a wooden crate and pried open the lid. There, inside the crate, he saw the large egg!

(1:10 – 3:26) Prince Ivan grabbed the egg, raised it above his head and threw it at the sleeping sorcerer. With a crack, the egg broke. There was a bright flash of light and Kastchei, his guards and his castle instantly disappeared.

Ivan thanked the Firebird for her help. Without her feather and the promise she made, he would have been turned into stone. Once again, the Firebird flapped her brilliant wings and lifted off into the sky. Prince Ivan, the twelve maidens, and the rest of the kingdom began to celebrate in joy. The End!”