A few years back in a remote area of the Far North of AOTEAROA I was able to observe a Monarch
butterfly emerge from its Chrysalis. The beautiful birth of this insect sparked a renewed interest in
butterflies with their varied and bright colors and visits to flowers. Butterflies are beautiful creatures
and they have inspired artists all over the world for many centuries. Images of butterflies their
movements with moments of meditative stillness and joyful flights gliding and fluttering, all this can
inspire creative movement, music, words and other artful expressions. Butterflies can bring joy and
inspirations. We are reminded that that some butterfly species are endangered. This is can be due to
loss of their habitat through agricultural activities and possible use of pesticides and herbicides. The
conflict between the need to grow food and the loss of butterfly species is well illustrated in Patricia
Grace’s short story “Butterflies’. See the link to the story in this text later on.
Listening and moving
Listen to an excerpt of Butterfly’s Dav Out’ by Mark O’Connor. This excerpt is about 40
seconds in duration. The music was created by Mark O’Connor and performed with Yo-Yo Ma and
Edgar Meyer. The music was released on the CD Appalachian Waltz in 1996. View the motivational
butterfly images as you listen to the music https://youtu.be/uzlQHwMrk-g
You could close your eyes and listen to the music again: Picture the way the butterfly moves
through the garden. First it sits still on a flower, then it begins a joyful flight sailing and fluttering.
Can you draw a butterfly? And then draw a map of the pathway of the butterfly?
- Create and practice hand movements to develop a butterfly dance.
- Have a look at this example with the recorded music and butterfly hand movements:
Singing and Saying
- Here is a link to the butterfly song with Ukulele: https://youtu.be/ABZLnfSPcv4
- Recite the word of the song in all sorts of different ways, e.g.: softly, louder, crescendo, decrescendo.
- Say some of the words “in your head’ as you recite the lyrics, e.g.: Two butterflies went out at
noon…. Then flew right through the blue, blue sky…
- Sing the butterfly song.
- Sing in a round. The second voice begins on bar 3.
- Clap on the first beat of each bar and sing at the same time.
- Create other body percussion actions on the first of beat of each bar.
- Patricia Grace’s short story ‘Butterflies’ is thought provoking. From the point of view of the narrator
the story looks at the butterfly it’s beauty and also the fact that it can destroy the Mäori family’s crop
Listen and view
- Here is the entire recording of Butterfly’s Day Out’ by Mark O’Connor performed with Yo-Yo Ma
and Edgar Meyer. https:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QKhx7Lx0g0
O’Connor, M. (1996). Butterfly’s Day Out on Appalachian Waltz (Album recorded by Edgar Meyer,
Mark O’Connor, Yo-Yo). Sony Masterworks.
Grace, P. (1987). Butterflies. In Grace, P. Electric City and Other Stories. Penguin, NZ