Busy Kids Do Nutcracker


The Story, Russian Dance & Quarter Notes


Welcome to Day 1 of Busy Kids Do Nutcracker!

Today we’re going to begin our study of the The Nutcracker Suite by learning the story and listening to the Russian Dance. I’ll also be teaching you about quarter notes to prepare us for a fun rhythm activity tomorrow.

Let’s get started!

1. The Nutcracker ballet is based on a short story. Read a synopsis of the ballet in this eBook (This is a color-rich PDF so I suggest reading it online rather than printing it!). If you have a little more time, you can also listen to this podcast episode where I tell the story of The Nutcracker as it is told in the ballet, sharing audio excerpts from the ballet as I go.

2. Quarter notes are notes that receive ONE BEAT.

Let’s practice playing quarter note rhythms in this quick video.

3. The “Russian Dance” is one of the dances performed for Clara and the Nutcracker Prince in the Land of Sweets. It is a favorite number for audiences and usually features acrobatics of some sort.

Watch the video of “Russian Dance” and answer the guided listening questions below.

What words would you use to describe the music of “Russian Dance”?

What instruments do you hear?

Does the piece get louder or softer at the end?

4. Play the video of “Russian Dance” again and create your own dance as you listen to the music!