Music — Modern

Modern Music

Please review the FAQs and contact us if you find a problem with a link.

Course Description — This course will expose children to a variety of 20th century composers and their music. Pop music from specific time periods will also be explored as well as iconic stage and movie compositions. Students will also learn more about music through studying sound, rhythm, mood, and the instruments of the orchestra.

Music — Year 4

Levels:

L — 1st through 4th

M — 5th through 8th

Unit 1  Hans Pfitzner, German

Week 1

L

  1. Hans Pfitzner was born in Moscow to German parents in 1869. Listen to Das Christ-Elflein: Overture (1906).
  2. Listen carefully to find what’s unique about the music so you can recognize it.

M

  1. Read Hans Pfitzner’s biography
  2. Listen to Das Christ-Elflein: Overture (1906)

Week 2*

  1. Print out the modern history music timeline.
  2. Listen to Das Christ-Elflein (1906, rev.1917)  The title is in German and means the Christmas Elf.
  3. Cut out Pfitzner’s timeline piece and write in it. Attach it to your timeline.

Week 3

  1. Listen to Das Herz: Liebesmelodie (1930-31).  The title is in German and means The Heart: a Love Melody.
  2. In your notebook write words that describe the music. At the top of the page write the composer, opera title and year and today’s date.

Unit 2  Piotr Tchaikovsky, Russian

Week 4

L/M

  1. Read about Tchaikovsky and write about him in his timeline piece. Place it on the 1890s page.

Week 5

L/M

  1. Listen to this show about ballet with Tchaikovsky’s music playing. After listening to the show, click on the play button to listen to The Nutcracker.Week 6

L/M

  1. Listen to this music from the Nutcracker. What do you picture the dancers doing? Now watch them!

Unit 3  Sergei Rachmaninoff, Russian

Week 7

L

  1. Read Rachmaninoff’s biography
  2. Cut out his timeline piece and fill it in. Place it on 1900s page.

M

  1. Read Rachmaninoff’s biography
  2. Cut out his timeline piece and fill it in. Place it on the 1900s page.

Week 8

L/M

  1. Listen  to Rachmaninoff, The Bells, 3rd movement
  2. Write down two words that describe it.

Week 9

L/M

  1. Listen to Rachmaninoff, Piano Concerto No. 2
  2. What color is this music? or what image? What does this music describe? What feeling does it bring?

Unit 4, Maurice Ravel, French

Week 10

L

  1. Maurice Ravel was a French composer. He was born in 1875 in Ciboure, France. He wanted to be a pilot in WWI but his health was poor.
  2. Look at this map of France with Ciboure marked. What country is it very close to?
  3. Cut out Ravel’s timeline piece and write inside of it. Attach it to your timeline on the 1910s page.

M

  1. Read about Maurice Ravel.
  2. Cut out Ravel’s timeline piece and write inside of it. Just write on one side. Use the other side for writing down descriptions of his music later. Place it on the 1910s page.

Week 11

  1. Watch and listen to this piano composition by Ravel. This part of the piece is called “Night Moths.”
  2. Write at least one word in your Ravel timeline piece that describes this piece.

Week 12

  1. Listen to “Bolero” by Ravel.
  2. Write at least one word in your Ravel timeline piece that describes this piece.

Unit 5, 1920s

Week 13

  1. Read about Big Bands.
  2. Then listen to music by Duke Ellington.  Choose a song or two to listen to from this page.
  3. Cut out the Duke Ellington timeline piece. Write 1920s, Big Bands inside and the piece of music you listened to. Place on the 1920s page of your timeline.

Week 14

  1. Listen to The Stars and Stripes Forever by Sousa (on the right hand side of the page). This is an American patriotic song. What are the stars and stripes? (hint)
  2. This is a song you should recognize if you are American. If you aren’t American, ask your parents about patriotic songs from your country that you should recognize.
Unit 6, 1930s

Week 15

  1. Listen to two songs from the 1930s. Click on an image to get a list of songs to choose from.
  2. Cut out your jukebox timeline piece and write inside a song you listened to and who sang it. Place it on the 1930s page.
Unit 7, 1940s

Week 16

  1. Listen to two songs from the WWII era.
  2. Cut out the WWII timeline piece and write inside a song you listened to and who sang it. Place it on the 1940s page.
Unit 8, Music

Week 17

  1. Walk through the instrument rooms and move your mouse over each one. You can click on them to learn more about them. Draw a picture of an instrument you hadn’t known about before and write its name and family on the paper. Family is the type of instrument it is such as brass.

Week 18

  1. Play with this composition by rearranging its orchestration, choosing which instruments play when.
  2. How does changing the instruments change the music?
    • This is a Shockwave activity. It works in Firefox. If you can’t get it to work, here is some music by children composers. Click on the names of their pieces in black to listen to a couple of them.

Week 19*

L

  1. Go back and listen to parts of the composers’ music. They are listed below.
  2. Try and find ways to recognize which music belongs to which composer.
  3. Take notes.

M

  1. Go back and listen to parts of the composers’ music. They are listed below.
  2. Try and find ways to recognize which music belongs to which composer.
  3. Take notes on each piece: the composer, the title, what’s distinct in the music.

Week 20

L

  1. Ask someone to play part of one piece by each composer and see if you can identify who was the composer.

M

  1. Ask someone to play part of one piece by each composer and see if you can identify who was the composer and what piece of music it is.

Week 21

L

  1. Musical Mystery, listen to the intro and do the first activity, sound.

M*

  1. *Print page 5 of this musical instrument booklet.  (You can also print pages 11, 13, 17, 21-22.)
  2. Use these websites on instruments to answer the questions and fill in the worksheet.

Week 22

L

  1. Musical Mystery, rhythm

M

  1. *Print pages 11 and 13 of this musical instrument booklet if you haven’t yet.
  2. Use these websites on instruments to answer the questions and fill in the worksheets. (This comes with a message to update your flash. You don’t have to. Just click on “Instruments of the Orchestra” over to the left and it will work for you.)

Week 23

L

  1. Musical Mystery, mood

M

  1. *Print page 17 of this musical instrument booklet if you haven’t yet.
  2. Use these websites on instruments to answer the questions and fill in the worksheet. (This comes with a message to update your flash. You don’t have to. Just click on “Instruments of the Orchestra” over to the left and it will work for you.)

Week 24

L

  1. Musical Mystery, orchestra

M

  1. *Print pages 21 and 22 of this musical instrument booklet if you haven’t yet.
  2. Use these websites on instruments to answer the questions and fill in the worksheets. (This comes with a message to update your flash. You don’t have to. Just click on “Instruments of the Orchestra” over to the left and it will work for you.)

Week 25

L

  1. Musical Mystery, quiz

M

  1. Play in the music lab.
Unit 9, Igor Stravinsky, Russian

Week 26

L

  1. Read about Igor Stravinsky.
  2. Write about him on his timeline piece. Place it on the 1950s page.

M

  1. Read about Igor Stravinsky.
  2. Write about him on his timeline piece. Place it on the 1950s page.

Week 27

L/M

  1. Listen to Stravinsky’s Firebird. How would you describe this music?

Week 28

L/M

  1. Listen to clips of Stravinsky’s music from the ballet Petrushka. (Find them on the right. You can click on the play button for each one. You can listen to all four.) How would you describe Stravinsky’s music? Paint a picture on paper or with words of the image his music creates. What color is his music? What can you picture happening while that music was playing? (If you like, here’s a link to watch the ballet, Petrushka. This is part 1.)

Week 29

L/M

  1. Listen to the excerpts of Stravinsky’s music. Tell someone what you listened to and describe the music to someone. Was it fast, slow, loud, soft, strong, peaceful,…
Unit 10, Aaron Copeland, American

Week 30

  1. Read about Aaron Copeland.
  2. Listen to Fanfare for the Common Man while you work. Do you recognize it?
  3. Do your Aaron Copeland timeline piece.

Week 31

  1. Listen to all or portion of Appalachian Spring by Copeland. You could start at 11:00. How would you describe it?

Week 32

  1. Listen to Rodeo by Copeland. Click the top one on the list on the right.
  2. Here’s a little video clip of a rodeo. See the man riding the wild horse? Does the music fit?
Unit 11, The Stage with Rogers and Hammerstein
Week 33
  1. Rogers and Hammerstein are famous for writing Broadway musicals.
  2. Watch and listen to scenes from The Sound of Music which opened on Broadway in 1959.
Week 34
  1. Here are some more Rodgers and Hammerstein classic musicals.
Unit 12, Film with John Williams
Week 35
  1. Watch this video on one of the most prolific contemporary composers. John Williams has been nominated for an Academy Award more times than anyone else except for Walt Disney. Academy Awards are awards for movies. John Williams composes the music that is played during movies. This music is a big part in the emotion you feel when you watch a movie. How does this music make you feel?
Week 36
  1. Choose a favorite piece of music from the year. Explain to a parent why it is your favorite. Tell the name of the music, the composer and the date of the piece.
  2. This is one of my favorites . You can watch John Williams conduct and watch the orchestra play.

musical instrument booklet