Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The Story of Ferdinand

Once upon a time we performed the Story of Ferdinand as an improvised opera!  
Author, Munro Leaf wrote this parable for his 5 year old son in 1936 during the civil war in Spain.  

It's a story about a peaceful, nature-loving bull who prefers sitting and smelling the flowers rather than fighting and butting heads like the other little bulls.  

I incorporated some of Manuela Widmer's ideas (shared at the national Orff conference many years ago) with my facilitation of the musical drama.  Manuela is an Orff teacher from the Orff Institute in Salzburg.  I found her ideas incredibly workable for my style of teaching.

Imagine, a class of 5 & 6 year olds...full of energy and ideas!
I sang the story to the children with operatic vowels and vocal trills, etc...

They were mesmerized at first and then they started joining in on the word  "flooooooowwwwwers".

That's all they needed and they were ready!  

Some of the kids wanted to be in the Orchestra and some wanted to act out the various roles.  They chose their favorite places and after we performed we switched up and everyone tried a new part.  

Orchestra parts include:
  1. flower music - glockenspiels and metallophones (I set them up ahead of time in C pentatonic)
  2. hop gallop music of the bulls - shakers, woods and drums
hop gallop gallop gallop
hop gallop gallop gallop
hop gallop gallop gallop
hop hop hop  OLE!

  1. Ferdinand's walking music - drums
  2. Ferdinand's sitting music - drums
  3. Ferdinand's jumping about music - drums
  4. the bee buzz and sting sounds - kazoos and
  5. 5 men from Madrid walking music - woods

Acting/singing roles include (this is an opera!):
  • narrator (singing like an opera star)  "Once upon a time in Spain..."
  • chorus (whole class)
  • hop gallop speech piece
  • Ferdinand
  • Ferdinand's mom
  • the other little bulls - play fighting with their hands used as horns on top of their heads
  • 5 men from Madrid - walking through the room side by side...
  • flowers
  • bullfighters

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