Video suggestions for a classical music obsessed 12 year old w/ austim?
July 28, 2014 8:04 PM   Subscribe

My nephew is a musical genius- perfect pitch, memorized discography of most prominent classical composers, and he plays clarinet and piano (also almost any instrument he picks up.) He has autism and has been preoccupied with the Baby Einstein (and language and Beethoven) series since he was very, very young (a baby). I think one of the reasons he still holds onto it and will watch it over and over is because it's visually and musically interesting with out having a plot that his attention cannot hold onto or is too difficult to grasp emotionally. Anyone have recommendations for music/band films that would be appropriate for a 12 year old that is visually interesting with out a plot? He has watched almost every Disney and classic musical out there, but I wonder if there is something like the BE series, but more mature. Thanks!
posted by nbaseman to Media & Arts (24 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Classic Arts Showcase is apparently online for viewing. Might be a good start.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:11 PM on July 28, 2014 [3 favorites]

Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi, perhaps?

(there's a third one too, but I haven't seen it) You might want to check them out first for age-appropriateness, but I don't recall anything too 'adult' in them.
posted by pompomtom at 8:13 PM on July 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

He might like Philip Glass's Koyaanasqati trilogy.
posted by Lutoslawski at 8:15 PM on July 28, 2014

And a note on Koyaanasqatsi- no adult material, though the first one is probably the darkest.
posted by Lutoslawski at 8:16 PM on July 28, 2014

The cartoon of Peter and the Wolf?
posted by PussKillian at 8:35 PM on July 28, 2014

The Beatles' Yellow Submarine!
posted by John Cohen at 9:03 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Winged Migration or Babies?
posted by fshgrl at 9:05 PM on July 28, 2014

Allegro non Troppo
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:30 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

There are cartoon settings of Holst's Planets, Tchaikovsky Nutcracker & Swan Lake, and Peter and the wolf as mentioned above (if his main instrument is clarinet then he'd probably like the last one!). I remember watching them on VCR as a kid but wouldn't know where to get them now.

There's also a series called Mel-O-Toons that apparently do some cartoon adaptations of classical music, but I don't think I've ever watched any of it so can't vouch for it.

Might he be interested in ballet? Nice music, a lot of people dancing in pretty costumes (except for Rite of Spring. Never get him the original Rite of Spring ballet. Scarring stuff.)
posted by SailRos at 9:39 PM on July 28, 2014

Yo-Yo Ma did a series of videos called Inspired by Bach exploring J.S. Bach's unaccompanied cello suites, in which he collaborated with other artists (and practitioners of other disciplines). There's linear narrative describing the individual projects, but not plot per se.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 9:45 PM on July 28, 2014

You might try the Daft Punk movies, like Interstella 5555, and Tron Legacy. Maybe Electroma, though I haven't seen it.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:57 PM on July 28, 2014

Oops, it's not classical music. Sorry about that.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:58 PM on July 28, 2014

Amadeus (not the director's cut, that would be inappropriate).
posted by arnicae at 10:35 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Does it matter if there's a plot, so long as there's also plenty of music? Does it need to be "classical" or are generally orchestral works fine? Because I'd take a look at recordings of musical plays and/or operas (thinking lighter stuff like Gilbert & Sullivan, Andrew Lloyd Weber or the Peter Pan stage play, that sort of thing) if that sort of thing would work.

You mentioned Disney, so I assume you've already shown him Fantasia and Fantasia 2000, right?

Depending on how easily entranced he is by abstract visuals, you could even try finding a good visualizer plugin for an MP3 player on your computer. I personally like the MilkDrop plugin for Winamp (which you can download from that link).
posted by Aleyn at 11:02 PM on July 28, 2014

Fantasia. The opening Bach sequence, especially.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:40 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Classic Arts Showcase is fantastic.
posted by persona au gratin at 12:52 AM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I came in to say Allegro non Troppo, too. It's like Fantasia, which I assume he loves if he's a Disney fan - in fact, I think it was intended as something between an homage and a parody - and it's certainly somewhat more mature.
posted by Ted Maul at 1:47 AM on July 29, 2014

Have you tried just videos of symphony performances? Maybe that does not hold his interest visually, but it might musically, or maybe seeing the musicians as they play would be fascinating to him.
posted by thelonius at 1:55 AM on July 29, 2014

May I suggest you watch Allegro non Troppo first before showing it to him? It is indeed wonderful, but there is a scene in it so sad that I am crying again just remembering it.
posted by tomboko at 4:14 AM on July 29, 2014

Not classical music, but I think the film Heima by Sigur Ros might captivate him.
posted by jbickers at 7:07 AM on July 29, 2014

Not sure how well it meets the visually interesting criterion, but there's a bunch of Glenn Gould on YouTube. "So you want to write a fugue" is fun.
posted by PMdixon at 8:50 AM on July 29, 2014

My Many Colored Days - this is a video where an orchestra plays music fit to a reading of a Dr. Seuss work which isn't as silly as his usual stories. I haven't seen it in many years but IIRC the images are largely shapes and colors.
posted by lakeroon at 3:17 AM on July 30, 2014

HBO made a series of three AWESOME animated films called "Classical Baby" a few years ago. Here's the music episode (the other episodes were "art" and "dance"). They are so very good. I will sometimes watch them myself, with no kids around. All three are on DVD.
posted by jbickers at 5:57 AM on July 30, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I've picked up a few of these and we'll see what he responds to.
posted by nbaseman at 8:10 AM on July 31, 2014

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