Guest Author - Alissa Moy
Music is a natural extension of the first book of The 39 Clues series, The Maze of Bones and One False Note, the second book as well. As Dan and Amy Cahill visit Austria to gleen knowledge about Mozart and a clue, this opens up discussion about the amazing composer. To begin, locate Mozart's home of Austria on a map and globe. Sneak some basic Geography into the lesson also, by determining where Austria is, as well as some basic facts about it.
The main lesson extension centers around Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Visit "Classics for Kids" and listen to each of the four radio shows. We started with the "About Mozart" section. After listening to the show discuss the following with your child:
-What music do you recognize from this show? Where have you heard it played?
-Mozart was a prodigy. What is a prodigy? What characteristics make up the definition of a child prodigy?
-How did Mozart use varying pitch levels in opera singers to indicate good and evil?
"The Magic Flute" is a radio show that is not only informative, but also enjoyable. After listening to this with your child discuss the definition of a freemason, and how their lives played into Mozart's music choices when composing. Discuss the opera itself, and the story behind it. Ask your child their opinion of the story of "The Magic Flute". There is a wonderful dvd of this opera also, which won a Parents Choice Award.
The wonderful website "Classics for Kids" offers other lesson ideas for Mozart, including online games, a quiz, and a printable activity for the month (actually from January 2008, but not date specific). Print the activity pages before you listen to the radio show "What is a Rondo" and "The Turkish Rondo" music extra. The activity allows your child to follow along with the music and note beats, tones, etc. It is a great way to analyze a classical music piece. There is also a list of several encompassing interactive lesson plans for Mozart, as well as other composers, for future musical instruction. These plans are geared for grades K-5, and they are well thought out and clear.
If your child is interested in learning more about the life of this fantastic composer encourage them to read a biography, such as "Who Was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?" by Yona Zeldis McDonough.
You can find several resources for Mozart studies that I highly recommend at the end of this article as well, spanning the grade levels.
Hopefully this introduction to the works of Mozart will bring in an element of musical appreciation to the reading of The Maze of Bones.