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Music Lesson Plans

Updated on November 21, 2010

Lesson Plans for Music Teachers

I used to teach music in the public school systems and I know how hard it is to find high quality lesson plans and resources for music. So I have assembled a collection of plans, sub plans, and resources for you. Most of the plans are 100% mine, and I have no problem with you taking them as is, or editing them, for use in your classroom. So take a look around and enjoy!

NOTES:

1. The Lens will be updated regularly. New lessons, resources, links, information, and ideas will be posted from time to time, so keep checking back!

2. A portion of the money earned from this lens will go towards charitable contributions to "Invisible Children" and "The Inner-City Scholarship Fund."

General Music Lessons

For Students in Grades K-6

A lot of my experience in teaching is with students at the elementary level (K-6). In these first few sections, I will provide lessons, resources, tips, and games for the general music classroom at the elementary school level.

"The Carnival of the Animals" by Camille Saint Saens

For students in grades 2-4

"The Carnival of the Animals" is a great piece of music by Camille Saint Saens with fourteen great movements to study:

I. "Introduction and Royal March of the Lion"

II. "Hens and Cocks"

III. "Wild Asses"

IV. "Tortoises"

V. "The Elephant"

VI. "Kangaroos"

VII. "The Aquarium"

VIII. "Personages with Long Ears"

IX. "The Cuckoo in the Forest"

X. "The Aviary"

XI. "Pianists"

XII. "Fossils"

XIII. "The Swan"

XIV. "Finale"

I have devoted a lot of time to "The Carnival of the Animals" and I have come up with many lessons to use as a part of a "Carnival of the Animals" unit. Feel free to adjust them as needed for use in your classroom.

CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS

LESSON #1:

Context: The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint Saens

Concepts:

~Form (a musical work can have multiple parts)

~Vocabulary words: Movements and Composer

~Identifying instruments aurally and visually

~Understanding that music can tell a story or paint a mental image

~High and low pitch

~Evaluating and analyzing music

~Movement identification

~Physical motion can represent elements heard in music

Objective: Students will demonstrate a knowledge of movements, composers, identifying instruments aurally and visually, understanding that music can tell a story or paint a mental image, high and low pitch, evaluating and analyzing music, and physical movement representing musical elements by:

1. Listening to the teacher talk about movements and composers (specifically Camille Saint Saens)

2. Listening to The Carnival of the Animals and identifying instruments used while using cue cards to also match the animals to each movement and instruments

3. Listening to a recording of "The Carnival of the Animals" and discussing it as a class

4. Identifying parts within The Carnival of the Animals as high, low, or middle (pitch)

5. Moving as the animals in The Carnival of the Animals

6. Listening to bits of each movement and identifying which animals go to each one (Starting with the Royal March of the Lion)

Materials: The Carnival of the Animals recording, Animal and Instrument cue cards (I made these myself. I drew them, but you can cut out pictures and paste them onto the cards) white board, dry erase markers, and erasers

Sequence:

1. Have everyone come in and sit in a circle in the center of the room. Tell the students that they are studying a piece of music called "The Carnival of the Animals" by Camille Saint Saens. Have them practice saying Camille Saint Saens with you. (They seem to have a lot of fun with this, especially if you let them be super nasal when they say it!)

2. Explain what a composer does and remind the students that "The Carnival of the Animals" was written by Camille Saint Saens. Ask, "If Camille Saint Saens wrote the musical piece "The Carnival of the Animals," then what was his job? (They should say composer)

Explain what movements are (relate to books that have chapters) and list the movements of The Carnival of the Animals while showing the Animal and Instrument cue cards

3. Play tiny parts of all the movements from The Carnival of the Animals while showing the corresponding cards

4. Play The Royal March of the Lion and have students march around on the steady beat. (Follow the leader around the circle) Also have them pretend to roar on the sections that represent a Lion's roar.

5. After listening and marching, have the students sit again and lead a class discussion about The Royal March of the Lion. Ask if it sounded royal? Did it sound like a lion? Why or why not? Identify high, middle, and low pitch (especially on the parts that sound like "roars.")

6. Follow the same process with the rest of the songs. (Listen, look at card, Listen and move, sit and discuss.) Do this until you have gone through all of the movements

7. Divide students into groups and give each group a card. Give them a few minutes to discuss how they can act like their animal or animals, but make sure they do it quietly so other groups cannot hear. Then, one by one, select groups to demonstrate while playing their corresponding music. (Not in order) The other students must guess which movement they are acting out.

8. After every group has gone, have students sit and listen to the different movements (not in order) and raise their hands when they hear their group's movement. Collect cards from those who are correct.

9. Once all the movements are through and all the cards are collected, have students vote on their favorite movements. Which ones are their favorites? (Write the responses on the dry erase board so that they can see the names.) Ask them why they chose the way that they did (but only take about 5 responses).

10. Make sure to ask them before they are dismissed: 1. What piece of music are we studying? ("The Carnival of the Animals") 2. Who wrote it? (Camille Saint Saens) 3. Camille Saint Saens was a composer. What do composers do? (Write music) and 4. How many movements are there in Camille Saint Saens "Carnival of the Animals"? (14)

CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS

LESSON #2:

Context: The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint Saens

Concepts:

~Form (a musical work can have multiple parts)

~Vocabulary words: Movements and Composer

~Identifying instruments aurally and visually

~Understanding that music can tell a story or paint a mental image

~High and low pitch

~Evaluating and analyzing music

~Movement identification

~Physical motion can represent elements heard in music

Objective: Students will demonstrate a knowledge of movements, composers, identifying instruments aurally and visually, understanding that music can tell a story or paint a mental image, high and low pitch, evaluating and analyzing music, and physical movement representing musical elements by:

1. Listening to The Carnival of the Animals and identifying instruments used while using cue cards to also match the animals to each movement and instrument

2. Listening to a recording of The Carnival of the Animals and discussing it as a class

3. Identifying parts within The Carnival of the Animals as high, low, or middle (pitch)

4. Moving as the animals in The Carnival of the Animals

5. Using scarves to move to high and low pitch

6. Using physical movement to begin to recognize musical form

Materials: The Carnival of the Animals recording, Animal and Instrument cue cards, scarves

Sequence:

1. Have everyone come in and sit in a circle in the center of the room. Remind students that they are studying "The Carnival of the Animals" by Camille Saint Saens. Have them say Camille Saint Saens.

2. Play parts of all the movements from The Carnival of the Animals and have students identify the movements aurally, as well as move to the movements with purpose. (As done in the previous lesson)

3. Once all the movements are through have students sit back in the circle.

4. Pass out scarves to everyone and lead them through movements for the high and low pitches in The Aquarium. Discuss how the movements match the different pitches. (Sometimes it helps for students to visual this. You can use a music map to help. There are some out there for The Aquarium, but you can always make your own as well.)

5. Do this a few times and then collect the scarves. Before you dismiss them, play The Aquarium and have them pretend that the room is a giant aquarium and let them "swim" around the room to the music.

CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS

LESSON #3:

Context: The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint Saens

Concepts:

~Vocabulary words: Movements and Composer

~Identifying instruments aurally and visually

~Understanding that music can tell a story or paint a mental image

~High and low pitch

~Evaluating and analyzing music

~Connecting music and other fine arts

Objective: Students will demonstrate a knowledge of movements, composers, identifying instruments aurally and visually, understanding that music can tell a story or paint a mental image, high and low pitch, evaluating and analyzing music, and connecting music and other fine arts by:

1. Listening to poems that match the movements in The Carnival of the Animals and discussing them as a class

2. Watching a movie version of The Carnival of the Animals and having a discussion about the movie

3. Coloring pictures of the different animals in The Carnival of the Animals (and their instruments)

Materials: The Carnival of the Animals poetry, video, coloring pages, and crayons

Sequence:

1. Have everyone come in and sit in a good place for "story time." Remind students that they are studying "The Carnival of the Animals" by Camille Saint Saens and then share with them the poetry.

2. After each poem, have a brief discussion about the poem with the class. (No more than 1-2 minutes)

3. When all the poems are done, pass out coloring pages and crayons to students.

4. Have the students watch the video of "The Carnival of the Animals" while they color.

5. After the movie, discuss what they watched. Ask students about each movement. (Identifying instruments, naming their favorite part, etc.)

6. Allow students to color until the last 5 minutes of class, then have them clean up. Have students take their coloring with them when they line up to go.

OTHER THINGS TO DO WITH THE CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS

-Have a puppet show to act out each of the movements

-Break down the form of individual songs with the students (Fossils is Rondo for example)

-Allow students to compose music on classroom instruments that represents different animals (Basically do your own "Carnival of the Animals of _______________'s Music Class. Maybe even make it into a Podcast for parents.)

Buy Carnival of the Animals Supplies and Resources

Composition

This is for students in grades 4-6

Context: Students' original works

Concepts:

~Writing using Musical Notation

~Creating a piece of music (composing)

~Vocabulary word: Composer

~Arranging music

~Reading Musical Notation

~Successfully playing a piece of music on an instrument

Known: Students should have a basic to intermediate understanding of Musical Notation and Composers.

Objective: Students will demonstrate a knowledge of writing and reading musical notation, the meaning of the word Composer, arranging music, and being able to play a piece of music on an instrument by:

1. Identifying notes and rhythms presented by the teacher

2. Listening to the teacher describe a Composer and then being able to apply the knowledge gained by naming some composers.

3. Discussing musical notation and putting cues on the board to remember

4. Writing a piece of music (within specified guidelines)

5. Reading the piece of music rhythmically and melodically

6. Arranging the music for different instruments

7. Learning to play the piece of music on the instruments

8. Performing on the instruments

Materials: Dry erase board, dry erase marker, eraser, Practice dry erase sheets, markers, and cloth erasers, staff paper, pencils, misc. classroom instruments

Sequence:

1. Have everyone come in and sit on the floor facing the dry erase board.

2. Have 3 students pass out practice dry erase sheets, markers, and cloth erasers to everyone in the class.

3. Discuss with the class what Composing is, what a composer is, and have them name some composers they know. Write them on the board.

4. Review basic Musical Notation with the class, then ask them questions and have them draw the answers on their practice sheets. Check for understanding. Continue to review as needed.

5. Have students count off by 4s. Have them go to their respective spots. Then have 1s put away their practice sheets while 2's get their composing supplies. Then switch. Then do the same thing with 3 and 4.

6. Explain how they will be composing: The piece must be at least 4 measures long, use at least 2 different kinds of notes, and it must start on C and end on C.

7. Give the students lots of time to work on their compositions.

8. Have students turn in their compositions and sit in a circle in the center of the room.

9. If there is time, have the students learn some of the pieces rhythmically first and then melodically and play them on instruments as chosen by each student composer. (If there isn't time, do it next time)

Music Games

MUSIC GAME #1: THE FREEZE DANCE

1. Have all the students spread out so that they have their own personal space or personal "bubble." Let them know that they are not allowed to break anyone else's "bubble."

2. Explain the rules: When the music plays, students have to dance in a way that sounds like the music. (The movements have to be big enough to see from far away.) When the music stops (when it is paused by the teacher) everyone must freeze.

3. Keep repeating music and silence at varying intervals. Reward the best dancers and freezers with a small prize (like an eraser shaped like a music note or a piece of gluten-free, sugar-free candy.)

NOTE: You can also get people "out" if you want a more competitive version of the game. Basically, if they are not dancing in a way that goes with the music, they're out, or if they don't freeze well enough, they're out. But only the teacher is allowed to decide who is in or out. The last student remaining wins the prize in this instance.

What do you think of the resources on this lens? What would you like to see on the lens? Please, leave comments, questions, and concerns so that I can make this lens even better.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

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      I dig what you have done!

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