Haunting Music for Hallowe'en
Who are you? Where is your place in the world? These are questions that children (and adults) often ask themselves. This lesson draws parallels of self-discovery between composer Charles Ives's life story, as told in Gerstein’s What Charlie Heard, and the life of a lonely but dutiful scarecrow in Jane Yolen’s striking picture book, The Scarecrow’s Dance. Connections between the quiet suspense in Yolen’s verse and the mysterious sounds of Ives’s Hallowe’en support the objective of discerning similarities in narrative structure and theme in both pieces. Through careful listening and sequencing, students will discover that each inventive piece is congruent to the other, beginning with an introduction that rises in action, leading to a climax, falling in action, and finally ending in a resolution. A fair and open discussion should center on Charles Ives’s inventive nature and the factors that may or may not have influenced his unique personal style. Topics covered in the discussion could include the value of uniqueness and special gifts while allowing for differing perspectives and points of view. Students will be able to compare the musical narrative of Charles Ives’s Hallowe’en to the lyrical narrative of Jane Yolen’s The Scarecrow’s Dance. In turn, students will be able to identify the parallels between Ives as a man and Yolen’s scarecrow character.