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This is an excellent “draw what you hear” lesson
4, 3, 2, 1
Title – Program music lesson for kids
By – Dan Found
Primary Subject – Music
Secondary Subjects – Art
Grade Level – Grade 1-4
This is a lesson that all of my classes have loved because it lets them be creative through listening to music. This lesson can also be used with the same class numerous times as long as you simply change the music played for the class.
OBJECTIVES: Have students understand how music can be used to create ideas and pictures in a listener’s mind. Have students identify specific types of sounds that make people feel specific ways.
MATERIALS: For this lesson plan all you need is a CD player with your choice of several CDs (preferably ones with program music examples on them), one pencil and one piece of blank paper for each student.
1. INTRO: Play one or two examples of music that can represent real-life or make believe things for the class. e.g. “Carnival of the Animals” The Elephant-can the students picture a big elephant dancing around? The Swan-can the students picture a swan gently swimming? “Pictures at an Exhibition” is also great to use for this activity, especially since the students will be creating the same thing.
2. Have students sit at a desk or on the floor where they can comfortably draw while listening to music.
3. Distribute one paper and one pencil to each student.
4. Have the students write their names in a specific corner of the paper (I find students always focus better and try harder when their name is the first thing to go on the sheet). Have the students draw one horizontal and one vertical line both through the middle of the sheet, dividing it into four quarters. Have the students number the quarters one to four in the upper right corner of each square.
5. Tell the students that you will be playing four short pieces for them and they are going to draw four accompanying pictures in each of the corners of their papers. They should go through three steps:
a) first, they should listen to the music for at least ten seconds.
b) second, get an idea of what the music represents. e.g. nature, people playing, scary monsters…
c) have the students draw what the music makes them think of. There are no rules telling them what they have to draw as long as they can say the drawing came from what they heard. (If you want to add one rule you may say that can not draw anything offensive, use your own discretion).
6. Each example should take from one to two minutes to play and extra time can be given for students to finish their drawings.
7. Once the students have filled their page with four drawings, you may ask in forum what people came up with and compare student’s ideas, stressing that in this activity there are NO wrong ideas.
You may have the students divided into groups (four students) in a following class and have them put all of their drawings together into a kind of comic book story. Depending on the class you may have them tell the story to the rest of the class while the original corresponding music is playing.
Have students create debates after they have come up with what they believe the music is supposed to represent. The class can be divided in as many as four teams with all of the members of each team agreeing on the position of a spokesperson. It is interesting to see why students believe certain music sounds like “nice animals playing” and other students think the same music sounds like “people in a war”. Make them use music terms like crescendo and accelerando when debating.
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