on February 10, 2004
I am an elementary music teacher, and I use all three of these works in my classroom. "Peter and the Wolf" is a great introduction to classical music for my kindergarten and first grade, and Britten's "Young Persons Guide" is a great way to introduce the instruments of the orchestra. "Carnival of the Animals" is a hit with all of my students.
I have individual recordings of each of these works at school, but I still prefer to bring in my Bernstein CD from home. There is something truly excellent about the Bernstein narration; his calm manner reminds me of another of my heroes, Fred Rogers.
I especially enjoy that Bernstein chose to include young people (ages 13 to 23) in "Carnival of the Animals." The kids are really excited to hear someone close to their age.
Maybe Bernstein isn't new or flashy, but he is a welcome break from the copious flash in my students' lives.