Famous American Symphony Orchestras Play List

Music Appreciation – Introduction to the Orchestra (Understanding Music) Listen to this 10 minute Music Appreciation Lesson on an Introduction to the Orchestra:


The Big Five orchestras of the United States are the five symphony orchestras that led the field in “musical excellence, caliber of musicianship, total contract weeks, weekly basic wages, recording guarantees, and paid vacations”  When the term gained currency in the late 1950s and for some years afterwards. In order of foundation, they were:

  1. New York Philharmonic (founded in 1842)

    The New York Philharmonic, officially the Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York, Inc., globally known as New York Philharmonic Orchestra (NYPO) or New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, is a symphony orchestra based in New York City. It is one of the leading American orchestras popularly referred to as the “Big Five“. The Philharmonic’s home is David Geffen Hall, located in New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.


  2. Boston Symphony Orchestra (founded in 1881)

    The Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is an American orchestra based in BostonMassachusetts. It is one of the five major American symphony orchestras commonly referred to as the “Big Five“. Founded in 1881, the BSO plays most of its concerts at Boston’s Symphony Hall and in the summer performs at Tanglewood.


  3. Chicago Symphony Orchestra (founded in 1891)

    The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) was founded by Theodore Thomas in 1891. The ensemble makes its home at Orchestra Hall in Chicago and plays a summer season at the Ravinia Festival. The music director is Riccardo Muti, who began his tenure in 2010.


  4. Philadelphia Orchestra (founded in 1900)

    The Philadelphia Orchestra is an American symphony orchestra, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One of the “Big Five” American orchestras, the orchestra is based at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, where it performs its subscription concerts, numbering over 130 annually, in Verizon Hall.From its founding until 2001, the Philadelphia Orchestra gave its concerts at the Academy of Music. The orchestra continues to own the Academy, and returns there one week per year for the Academy of Music’s annual gala concert and concerts for school children. The Philadelphia Orchestra’s summer home is the Mann Center for the Performing Arts. It also has summer residencies at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and since July 2007 at the Bravo! Vail Valley Festival in Vail, Colorado. The orchestra also performs an annual series of concerts at Carnegie Hall. From its earliest days the orchestra has been active in the recording studio, making extensive numbers of recordings, primarily for RCA Victor and Columbia Records.


  5. Cleveland Orchestra (founded in 1918)

    The Cleveland Orchestra, based in Cleveland, is one of the five American orchestras informally referred to as the “Big Five“.  Founded in 1918 by the pianist and impresario Adella Prentiss Hughes, the orchestra plays most of its concerts at Severance Hall. As of 2017, the incumbent music director is Franz Welser-Möst.



Go grab my notebooking pages on the Orchestra:

Orchestra Set Up Printable Freebie

I have been working really hard (when my baby and toddler allow me time to) to complete a Notebooking set to study the Orchestra for  Fine Arts this year.

In honor of my newest project,  I am giving away this printable freebie in anticipation of the Orchestra notebooking pages I am finishing up!

Click on this link to go to my Shop and grab this freebie and while you are there check out other items I have set for free or as a Back to School Discount price!

Enjoy and stay tuned for this completed product!

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Educational Videos of Playing Percussion Instruments

Percussion Instruments

Slide Lesson on Percussion and String Instruments
A percussion instrument is a musical instrument that is sounded by being struck or scraped by a beater (including attached or enclosed beaters or rattles); struck, scraped or rubbed by hand; or struck against another similar instrument. The percussion family is believed to include the oldest musical instruments, following the human voice.


Video Lesson on Percussion Instruments by the Philharmonic Orchestra in London, England.

  1. Sistrum from Ancient Turkey:


2. Mridangam from Ancient India:


3. Bongo Drums from Africa:


4. Tambourine:


5: Snare Drums, Early America:


6: Timpani with Mallets:


Background Music:  Music of Ancient Egypt

The Importance of Exposing Babies to Complex Music

Our oldest is a rising Junior in college studying Music Theory and Composition

When I was expecting my oldest son, I taught a very sweet but incredibly challenging (and needy) group of third graders. At the end of the school day, I would walk (and at the end waddle) to my car, blast the air conditioner on high (we lived in South Florida then) and also play Vivaldi loudly! I would lean my seat back and just breath deeply and listen to classical music to decompress from the long day. I have always loved music and wished I was able to sing and play the piano but alas I was not gifted with such talents yet I could identify good music and talent when I heard it.  When my son was born he had terrible car sickness and would cry the whole ride to anywhere unless I played Vivaldi really loud in the van! Vivaldi put him to sleep!! Can you believe it? Fast forward 18 months later and I was then teaching kindergarten. At the time we were responsible for teaching music and art so I sang popular tunes with my students often. When I would get home, I sang them to my baby. The tunes were in English, I only spoke to him in Spanish but he would cover my mouth when I missed a note and say, “asi no es mami!” (“that is not how it goes , mom!”) Lets just say that music was always easy for Guillermo.

My husband and I are not musicians or musically inclined, but we simply LOVE music and listen to it often. Music has been part of our relationship from the start! Our oldest is now 20 years old and studying Music Theory and Composition in college…music has always come so easy to him, I always thought he just got genetically lucky…but then all the other six children showed similar signs of being musically smart. Turns out not only is genetics important but also apparently environment is just as important!

From conception to age two, exposing babies to music is vital!

So my husband and I always wondered why all seven of our children are so musically inclined and now we know why…here is the importance of exposing your children, specifically your babies, to complex music like classical, chant, and jazz, from conception until the age of two…they can help your children acquire perfect pitch because it helps them comprehend more complicated phonemes…same goes for languages! This channel is phenomenal for learning about the science of music!

Oh and here are some of our son’s amazing compositions many of which he wrote while still at home as a homeschooled teenager! Enjoy!

PS: the Pie Iesu and Panis Angelicum is him conducting!!


2018 Hot Summer Sale

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Most items 50-60% off, some items are FREE!!

Like, share, and comment and enter a chance to win The WHOLE enchilada!!

Tag a friend on Facebook!

Each action = an entry so let me know what you did back on my facebook fan page!!

Winner will be selected on July 24th!

Start shopping these deals!!!








50% OFF Summer Sale Extended

With our power going out yesterday, the day of our son’s ninth birthday, our plans to celebrate got changed quickly. We are still in celebration mode so I have decided to extend the 50% sale on my blog until this Sunday, August 6th, the code will work until 11:59pm! There were so many rushing in the last minute buying that I do not want anyone to miss out! The more hands can get these the happier this mama will be making sure people have access to it!

New Coupon code is RLSSummer50EXT

Time to get ready for the new school year!!


Items Correlated with Catholic Schoolhouse Tour 1: American History

This coming school year we are going to cycle back to Catholic Schoolhouse Tour 1: American History!

With this in mind I have started working on our Notebook for this coming school year with USA studies in mind.  One of my dear friends, Becky, suggested I make a blog post with links to all of the items I have worked on (some with my friend Rose, both of them use Catholic Schoolhouse) so this way it is easy access for anyone going to use Tour I this coming or future school years.

1) Saint Study Notebooking  Pages Correlated with Catholic Schoolhouse Tour  1: American History (70 pages)

Pages including:

  • Saint fact sheets
  • Draw and Color Pages
  • Copy work Saint Quotes
  • Gather Data Organizers
  • Blank lined Essay Pages

Also, see the Generic Saint Notebooking Bundle below, #10.

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2)  Fine Arts Notebooking  Pages  including Music and Art Appreciation Correlated with Catholic Schoolhouse Tour  1 ( almost 140 pages)

Notebooking pages including:

  • Gathering Fact sheets
  • Draw and Color Pages
  • Copywork Artist and Composers Quotes
  • Create an Art Gallery
  • Essay Pages
  • Suggested Book List with Hyperlinks

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3)  Discovering the United States Geography Notebooking Unit is designed for the Catholic Classical Grammar Learner.  (254 pages)

This unit includes the study of:

  • State map
  • State location in the USA
  • Capital
  • Motto
  • Bird
  • Animal
  • Flower
  • Flag
  • Nickname
  • Seal
  • License plate (basic)
  • Ecclesiastical Province
  • Notebooking pages with lines

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4)  Discovering the United States Geography Notebooking Unit is designed for the Catholic Classical Logic Learner (Grades 7-9).  (213 pages)

This unit includes the study of:

  • Draw the state map
  • Time Zones
  • Climate Zones
  • Capital
  • Location (longitude/latitude)
  • Region
  • Draw the Flag
  • Famous Americans
  • Famous Catholics
  • Products
  • Notebooking pages with lines
  • Suggested Chapter Book List by State

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5)  USA Geography Printable Interactive Flash Cards for the Catholic Classical Learner (19 Pages)

Print on one side the name of the state and the colorful state flag on the back you print the interactive flash card!  ON the back your child collects the information for the state capital, bird, flower, tree, Notable Catholic, and Order admitted into the union!

The last three pages of this PDF has a handy spreadsheet for the parent to have the answers quickly.

Print front and back, fill out the back, laminate then cut out!  You can put them on a ring or just wrap them with a rubber band.  An easy and quick way to make flash cards of your own!

This item comes free with our Discover US Geography Complete Bundle!

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6)  State Report for the Classical Catholic child (7 Reusable Pages)

Geared at ages 8-12 but can be adapted for younger (with support) or older children.  Use as is OR cut and paste it onto a poster, you decide!

Pages which include space for the following information:

  • State cover page
  • State Nickname
  • State Abbreviation
  • Population
  • Capital
  • Date it entered the Union
  • State number
  • Ecclesiastical Diocese
  • State Bird
  • State Flower
  • State Animal
  • Draw a license plate
  • Draw the State Flag
  • Pages for notebooking or reporting on the state in paragraphs.

This item is included for FREE in our USA Geography Bundle.

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7) Complete USA Geography Bundle includes over downloadable 450 pages!

Discovering the United States Geography Notebooking Unit is designed for the Catholic Classical Grammar Learner.  (254 pages)


Discovering the United States Geography Notebooking Unit is designed for the Catholic Classical Logic Learner (Grades 7-9).  (213 pages)

Also included in this bundle are FREE items:

  1. USA Geography Interactive Flash Cards
  2. USA Geography State Reports
  3. USA Geography Scramble the States Game

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8) Animals Notebooking Pages – Mammals of North America (67 pages):

There are 30 different mammals of North America with specific notebooking pages included in this bundle along with some blank pages making this bundle customizable for use with any mammal study of your choice!

  • 67 total pages
  • 60 animal specific pages
  • 30 different Mammals to study
  • 2 blank mammal fact notebooking pages to add any mammal of your choice
  • 3 pages with coloring answer keys

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9) Animal Notebooking Pages – Birds of North America (63 pages)

There are 28 different birds of North America with specific notebooking pages included in this bundle along with some blank pages making this bundle customizable for use with any bird study of your choice!

  • 63 total pages
  • 56 animal specific pages
  • 28 different birds to study
  • 2 blank bird fact notebooking pages to add any bird of your choice
  • 3 pages with coloring answer keys

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10)  Generic Saint Notebooking Pages (10 pages)

(can be used with any Tour)

I have created generic Saint Notebooking Pages for your general use to study any saint of choice.

This 10 page bundle includes:

∞ Saint fact sheets
∞ Draw and Color Pages
∞ Copywork Pages
∞ Gather Data Organizers
∞ Essay Pages

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11) CSH Tours 1-3 Correlated with Magic Schoolbus

I have put together, as best as I could tell by their description, how each of the Four Series Magic Schoolbus episodes correlate to the Science topics for all three of the CSH tours.


12) Zoology Science Notebooking & Copywork Pages (262 Pages)

Included in this Bundle are both the Black & White and the Color Pages for Notebooking and Copywork for Zoology.   Included in both color and B&W are 262 pages (in two files of 131 pages) with a combination of these kinds of pages:

  • Animal Fact Sheet Notebooking pages
  • Animal Anatomy Labeling Notebooking Pages
  • Animal Flash Cards (print two sets and play Memory)
  • Animal Detectives (Outdoor search)
  • Copywork in both print and cursive with animal facts
  • Blank Notebooking pages with clipart
  • Blank Notebooking pages without clipart
  • Life Cycle Notebooking Pages
  • Animal Research Report gathering data page
  • Animal Research Report blank Essay page
  • Suggested Hyperlinked Resource Book List

Animals Covered:

  1. Mammals
  2. Insects
  3. Fish
  4. Reptiles
  5. Amphibians
  6. Invertebrates
  7. Vertebrates

These will also be sold individually for $6 each so this Bundle price is shown at a discount!

Our Learning Plans Using Catholic Schoolhouse

Many families look at programs like Catholic Schoolhouse and because we have been programmed in the brick and mortar mentality of textbooks and workbooks, a program like CSH seems a bit foreign. When I first looked into CSH, I had just come back from a one room schoolhouse field trip so I could see beyond what most consider a normal classroom setting. You can read all about that field trip and my AHA moment when I realized I needed to group all of my children as much as possible in as many subjects as possible.

What stumps many families from using programs like CSH? Many of my friends thought I was nuts for going into a program, initially designed to be used in a co-op setting, where I would need to do a lot of the leg work. Well, I truly looked at this as an exciting opportunity to have the flexibility I wanted but also have a focus or guide with the Tour Guides that were already so nicely organized. It did mean I needed to do my own research on trade books we would use but that was no big deal for me, being a reading specialist and also because so many Catholic programs have their reading lists already available online, all I had to do was compile and select what I wanted to use with my own children. I knew I needed three things:

1. a Teaching Plan for me for Whole Group Learning

2. An Individualized Plan for each of the children to also contain whole group learning but include individualized subjects like spelling, Math, leveled reading, Composition, Religion, and Grammar).

Individualized Plans per student

3) l knew we need a uniform method of keeping track of papers and print outs, drawings, and maps. This is how my two plans and our notebook was born.

After completing two Tours of using Catholic Schoolhouse (CSH), I was able to get a feel for what we liked to work on on a daily and weekly basis, so I created a list of routines we used for each subject. This is how I was able to come up with Our Learning Guide which helps me plan for our whole group learning. If you are not familiar with CSH, it is a classical approach to education with memory songs to help children remember important basic facts and historical names and dates. This led me to create two organizers, one for me to write and organize what I will be using with all the children during our whole group lessons, and the second sheet are for the children to check off their daily work, have their spelling and geography terms in one location and also I added their daily chore routine at the bottom of the page. This helps me keep them accountable for what my husband and I require of the children as members of this family and our homeschooling students.

Individualized plans are in presentation folders with dividers.
Samples of filled out plans.
In this I also include our book list which is required in our portfolio, this also helps me keep track of the texts and trade books each child has read per school year.
At the bottom of my Individualized plans I list our daily chore routine as well to remind the children everything that needs to be done.
Additionally, I include the scope and Sequence for the year of CSH we are using.

Next we also use a binder to keep track of their whole group work. We use a three inch binder per child with dividers for each subject we work on together. This is the method we have been using all school year and it has worked wonderfully for my children in grades 6, 5, 3, and 1. The younger children have received additional support from myself or the older children. In keeping their notebooks up to date and organized where the older children are expected to maintain theirs on their own after guidance from me during first quarter. So the binder is like a portfolio which keeps their work nice and organized and in one location. For those of you in states that require portfolios, I highly recommend this teaching and record keeping method.

Interested in getting copies of my two files? Here is what to do (using the honor system):

1. Please make sure, if you are on social media, that you are following me either one or both: Facebook or InstaGram (@raisinglittlrsaints).

2. Leave me a comment, letting me know which method you follow me.

3. Click to view and save locally (so you can edit and personalize) the two documents:

A) Whole Group Plans/Routine

B) Individualized Plans/Routine

Thank you! Erika 🙂

A Lenten Plan: Children Growing in Holiness

A couple of years ago I saw on Rorate Caeli a Lenten Plan for adults and liked it so much I thought a good idea to create one for our children! The idea is to line it up with our plan same simple concept but at their level.

So here it is,  A Lenten Plan for children growing in holiness! Enjoy! Here is the PDF you want to print.


Here is the adult version on Rorate Caeli! 

Also for us Moms and Dads, listen to this wonderful sermon on Lent.

Catholic Homeschooling Resources & Blog