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Learn Music from the Dead Composer

Updated on June 3, 2019
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As a children's book illustrator, Denise has many things to say about the process, her struggles, and children's books on the market today.



Funny and educational

Okay, I love Lemony Snicket! What can I say? I read all the series A Series Of Unfortunate Events about the Baudelaire orphans and loved them. I was hooked. So when I saw this new one by Lemony Snicket (a pseudonym, of course), I had to have it.

The Composer is Dead starts with a detective looking into the orchestra in search of who could be responsible for the death of the composer. This is only made better by the CD, in which Lemony Snicket narrates and there is also much music from the different sections of the orchestra as the detective interviews each. What a great book for teaching about the orchestra and its different sections and sounds. The different instruments are introduced and how each is used in an orchestral arrangement: the flutes for bird like sounds, the violins playing the melodies for waltzes, the cellos and basses playing the accompaniment (one, two, three, one, two, three), the sneaky clarinets, the brass announcing the arrival of important personages and marching with the parade, the percussion percussed, the tuba--a confirmed bachelor home alone. So it must be the conductor. After all wherever you find a conductor, you find a dead composer! The fact is all the great composers are dead. Beethoven--dead! Bach--dead! Mozart, Schubert, Chopin, all dead!




Instrumental music

It's a funny and educational, cleverly written and performed (on the CD) book about the orchestra and orchestral music. This is a terrific introduction for young music students but also for anyone who wants to teachchildren about classical music and classical composers. I used it in some of my tutoring classes as well and all the children loved it. It is so fun. So fun they don't even know they are learning something.

I have gotten rid of most of my physical books in favor of Kindle books but this one I had to have for my shelves. If you have kids (whether the are or aren't musically inclined) you should have this book and CD. And while you are at it, get the Series of Unfortunate Events. I learned so much great vocabulary words and loved doing it.

Reading is good for you.


Adventures await.

If you want more book recommendations, you should give a listen/look to some of my other hubs. I have reviewed books on cats, on love and loss, and on cats who travel. I have enjoyed books for young adults because they don’t get bogged down with sex and other unnecessary plot developments, but have actual action and adventure. I like a good fantasy tale and some myths too. I have read both biographies and autobiographies and love hearing the author’s voice in all of them. There is something pretty wonderful and innocent about children’s books too. As a children’s book illustrator, I love books and read often. Come have an adventure with me, through reading.


Do you like orchestral music?

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