If your young child is currently taking piano lessons at My Little Conservatory or you’re thinking about signing them up, you may be wondering why small plush toys come with the lesson books. And how do they help teach music? While they may seem cute and cuddly to the kids, each stuffie is sneaking in some valuable lessons and helping to make the music come alive.
The first stuffies that your child will receive are Beethoven Bear and Mozart Mouse. They’re based on the composers Ludwig von Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The stories of these two stuffies/composers are woven through each level of the course, and your teacher will use them during lessons to help bring their stories to life. As your child progresses through the course, Beethoven Bear and Mozart Mouse will meet friends from various genres of music who help your child learn different parts of the staff, notes and musical concepts.
Every lesson contains a segment of a story about the characters. By listening to the stories your child can enter the imaginary and playful world of Mozart Mouse and Beethoven Bear as they learn about music. Every story builds on the previous ones to form one long story. Because the story is recorded on the CDs as well as printed in the the books, your child can choose to read the story or you can read along with the recording. This reading helps to reinforce the lessons, as well as develop their literacy.
The way we use the stuffies here at My Little Conservatory during lessons is by having them sit on the black keys of the piano. They serve as visual aids during the story section of the lesson. You can also have them sit on your piano at home to help entice your child to come play at the piano. Plus, since the stuffies are designed to fit in small hands, we use them in music games and to illustrate musical concepts. Your child will quickly come to love their new friends and want to show you how to play with them.
Here are all the Musical Friends your child will meet along the way at My Little Conservatory:
- Mozart Mouse (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) is the treble clef, Book 1
- Beethoven Bear (Ludwig van Beethoven) is the bass clef, Book 1
- Clara Schumann Cat (the pianist/composer wife of Robert Schumann) introduces the Mouse and Bear to the music classroom, Book 2
- Elgar E. Elephant (Edgar Elgar) encourages Beethoven Bear and Mozart Mouse to learn something new, Book 2
- Nannerl Mouse (Nannerl Mozart) is Mozart’s sister (as she was in real life) and a musician, Book 3
- Prof. Haydn Hippo (Franz Joseph Haydn) teaches lines and spaces, Book 3
- Nina Ballerina introduces Tchaikovsky and other ballet composers, Book 4
- Puccini Pooch (Giacomo Puccini) introduces opera, Book 4
- J. S. Bunny (Johann Sebastian Bach) shows us intervals
- Pachelbel Penguin (Johann Pachelbel) is a walking encyclopedia of music history
As your child progresses through their lessons, the stuffies will come to feel like a little reward for progressing to the next level. But they really are a fun and “sneaky” way to introduce the stories of composers and musical concepts in a way that they’ll remember.