This week has been all about learning more about one of our favorite bands, the Beatles. Earlier in the week we made strawberry shortcake (to go with "Strawberry Fields Forever") and drew pictures inspired by the music of the Beatles. Here are some of the other things we've been doing:
Watching (bits and pieces of) The Beatles Anthology DVDs. Specifically, we watched the part that includes discussion of "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane". The Anthology DVDs include "promotional films" the Beatles made for the songs, which are really very early examples of music videos and, in my opinion, pretty sophisticated for the era. Watching these videos opened up more discussion about the Beatles but my four year old is still a little young for them, I think. He lost interest fairly early on. My seven year old was very interested and probably would enjoy watching more of the Anthology DVDs at another time.
Playing Beatles Rock Band on XBox. The Rock Band video games (games in general, actually) are something we enjoy as an entire family. If you're not familiar with the concept of this series of video games, you basically use color coded "cues" on the screen to "play" the songs on the instruments that come with the game. My older son likes singing (he does particularly well on "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds") and playing the guitar. My younger son plays the drums, though he usually needs help. I think this game is a great way to introduce the younger generation to the music of the Beatles. (Especially since their music is not yet available on iTunes, which seems to be where so many kids get their music these days.) The graphics are exceptionally well done. The opening sequence (view it here) is amazing. And yes, I know that there is a big difference between playing games like Rock Band and playing real instruments, but this game has paved the way for my boys' interest in learning to play real instruments. Now, I'm not advocating going out and buying a gaming system just so you can play this game, but if you already have one it is worth at least renting (can you still rent video games?) or borrowing from a friend.