YourClassical Children

Listening Lesson: Stars

StargazingGreg Rakozy/Unsplash

July 22, 2021

LISTEN — Audio Instructions

Target age range: All ages

1. Have you ever gone outside to look at the stars at night? Stargazing has inspired poets, musicians, and artists. Today we will read a quote, or a famous saying, about stars, then listen to music about stars.

2. Read the first quote below and think about what that means to you. Then listen to the first music selection, called The Whirling Ways of Stars that Pass, by Johann Johannsson. The music is from a movie about the famous scientist Stephen Hawking, who studied many things, including the cosmos.

“I know nothing with certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me want to dream.” - Vincent Van Gough, painter

3. Here is another quote, followed by the pianist Christopher O'Riley playing his interpretation of the rock band Radiohead's song Black Star.

“The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.” - Maya Angelou, poet

4. Here is another quote, followed by Kaija Saariaho's piece called Asteroid 4179 – Toutatis.

What do you think this quote means?

“Not just beautiful thought - the stars are like trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they are watching me.” - Haruki Murakami, author

An asteroid is basically a chunk of mineral or rock flying through space. There are different kinds of asteroids. Kaija Saariaho wrote her piece about a very specific asteroid – Asteroid 4179, which is also called "Toutatis."

Here is a picture of that asteroid.

Wikimedia Commons

5. Here is one final quote, followed by When You Wish Upon A Star, from the Disney movie Pinocchio.

“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I bet they would live a lot differently.” - Calvin, from the Calvin and Hobbes book series

6. The best thing about stargazing is that it's easy. Go outside at night and look up. National Geographic Kids has some tips for stargazing at home, or take a look at this constellation map.

7. Can't get outside? Turn out the lights, lay flat on your back, and shine a flashlight on the ceiling. Your flashlight stars can move and dance across your ceiling/sky.

Have a question or suggestion? Contact Katie Condon, music education specialist.

More: View all of our YourClassical Music Lessons