Saturday, November 15, 2014

Movie Musicals

This morning, I was talking to one of the moms in my Music Together class, and she mentioned in passing that, in order to avoid watching Frozen for the umpteenth time, she had decided to put in Annie (the original of course). Since Frozen is still a huge hit among my students, both young and old, this conversation got me thinking about the movie musicals that I grew up with, both in and out of the classroom.

The new is always going to be the most prevalent in my students' minds, so my little Music Together friend loving Elsa and knowing every word to "Let It Go" is not surprising. Plus, I have to admit, I kind of enjoyed the movie myself and have watched it more than once. Watching Louisa sing and dance to "Let It Go" was a wonderful way to start my Saturday mornings back when Frozen first came out. Today, as a change of pace, she actually requested a song from our current Music Together collection, Bongos- a Japanese folk song called Hotaru Koi, or as she calls it "the sparkly song." I love that this was the song that she chose today, but I digress, let me get back to the point after I share our selfie from this morning:

So adorable! :)

I would be interested to know what movie musicals you watched with your parents or when your music teacher had a substitute when you were back in grade school. Here are the musicals that I have on hand for my kids (not for subs, but for the days when my cold is so bad that I am just not going to be able to teach that day or the go-to pre-concert calm down activity):

Newsies: An incredible story about the creation of the newsboys union in New York City. This is also a huge hit on Broadway right now and I can't WAIT to see it when it comes to D.C. this Spring!
The one thing you'll need to be aware of is that they say that word "jackass" in the trolley strike scene in the middle of the movie. I always mute it, or if I forget to, I explain that cursing was not as big of a deal back then, etc etc. I do the same when explaining why the young boys are smoking cigars- the kids get it and don't make a big deal out of it.

If you look closely you'll recognize Jack, the main character, to be this generation's Batman- Christian Bale. However, this was the movie where I fell head over heels in love with Christian, not Batman. I LOVE waiting for the kids to realize that Batman is up on the screen- they freak out!


Annie: The story of little orphan Annie's unexpected (and totally miraculous) adoption set to music. Now, this movie does have some questionable themes and scenes, but I always preface it with: this was a different time, and we have learned a lot about what is right and wrong since this time period. Just like Newsies, the kids don't really make a big deal out of it.I know that there are several versions of this movie out there, but the original is, and always will be, the best. I mean, how can you get any better than Tim Curry, Bernadette Peters, and Carol Burnett all in one movie?!

Stomp!: Well this isn't exactly a musical, but it is one of the movies that my students enjoy year after year. I often use it to introduce a found sounds unit, but it is awesome for my younger students as well. They love to add their own body percussion into the mix.


The Aristocats: A story about cats who are cast out of their house by a jealous butler who must find their way back home, on the way enlisting the help of Thomas O'Malley- O'Malley the Alley Cat, and having some pretty interesting adventures. I mean, come on, they're singing cats, what could be more adorable?

Plus, this song is awesome:

Those are my favorites, but I also have The Music Man, The Wizard of Oz, and Mary Poppins. All classics, all wonderful to expose my students to the world of musicals. Do any of you have any favorite movie musicals to share? I challenge you to find one that I have not seen/don't love.

I think movies like Frozen are great because they expose young children to the world of music whether or not they are getting a musical education from their parents or in the classroom. It also gets them singing. So, hell, let the kids sing "Let It Go," all day- at least they are singing and enjoying the world of music! But don't forget about some of those classic movies that we all loved, and give your kids different representations of awesome movie musicals- not just animated fairy tales about princesses!

~Ms. Patrician


  1. I showed my kids Annie last year and yesterday after I gave an instruction in a particularly stern voice, a kid said, "yes miss Hanegan." I died lol

  2. I just love your love of music; it comes through. Perhaps not suitable for charges your age, I love Phantom of the Opera, which I saw in London's West End. Michael Ball (WHAT A SUPERB VOICE) singing music of the night was INCREDIBLE. However they might enjoy the songs in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and it's a great film too. If you have a moment please check out my blog that describes the history of popular music from the 1960s to today. Nice work and I assume that this is not a free Wordpress theme.

    1. Hi! Sorry for the delayed reply- so busy this week! This is actually a free Google Blogspot Theme. I changed it up almost two weeks ago and I love it! I had to tweak a bunch of different parts of my site (font, backgrounds, etc), but it was all available through Blogger- I love this platform! I'll check out your blog as well :)