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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Musical concepts you just can't teach in an elementary school

Lisa - the music teacher at the nearby elementary school - just lamented about the difficulties that would come if she attempted to teach her students about castrati.

I'm inclined to agree.


Eric H. Smith said...

I am sure there is a way to tach this to elementary children. The arts are vital in education and I think that castrati should be at least mentioned without getting into much detail. She could teach the part about castrati sometimes being men that never matured past puberty. I would support her if she chose to teach this.

In Liberty,
Eric H. Smith

Chris Knight said...

I'll never forget the first time I heard about castrati. I was like a junior in high school. That was about the time that Anne Rice's novel "Cry to Heaven" came out and I happened to read a synopsis about it. Ever since then I've thought the subject was absolutely horrifying... and yet very fascinating at the same time. The vast majority of castrati as they are traditionally thought of were made that way by the Catholic church because at the time, women were not allowed to sing in church choirs.

I'm going to have to say that this is something that would not really be that appropriate for an elementary school audience. If for no other reason than because at that age the children should be learning the basics of how to appreciate music. Castrati really falls more in the category of musical history... and not the kind usually associated with Bach or Brahms or Orff. Later on, after they've an understanding of music then they can be introduced to the various ways - some of them very extreme - that music has been created over the centuries. But presenting them with castrati between the ages of 5 and 10 would be like introducing them to the music of Maryilyn Manson: way too much shock there that would destroy any real educational value.