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Here’s an idea for teaching about theme and variation in music
6, 5, 3, 4, 2
Title – Theme and Variations
By – Susie
Primary Subject – Music
Secondary Subjects – Art
Grade Level – 2-6
In this lesson, students will create a visual theme and variations while listening to the Mozart variations of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”.
Recording of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”
Art paper, colored pens or pencils or crayons, or other media for creating pictures
Draw a picture of a star on the blackboard. Write the word “theme” underneath the star. Explain that a theme is a musical idea or melody that is used repeatedly in a musical composition. Explain that melodies can have variations. Explain what variation means and draw another star that looks very different and write “variation” under it.
Play “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” on the piano (or other instrument). Then play a brief excerpt of one of the Mozart variations. Then listen to more, pausing to discuss what musical things were changed (encourage the use of music terminology)to make each variation interesting and different. After the students have listened to a couple of the variations, explain that their goal is to draw a theme and variations of any simple object–it can be a star if they wish, or a flower or a car, or their name-anything simple enough for them to draw. They need to draw at least 4 pictures– a simple theme, with 3 variations. The art paper can be divided into 4 sections for this activity, with one section for each version of the theme. Creativity will be encouraged if you tell them their artwork will be displayed.
Have the music playing as they create their variations.
I have also done this where each student did just one variation of a star, glued each of them to construction paper and displayed them all on the bulletin board. Later you can discuss the differences in the student variations.
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