Classical Music Themes

Classical Music Themes

Students are introduced to famous themes from classical music, the composers, and the stories associated with the music. They learn about the string family of instruments, and especially the violin, as the artist shows them the actual instrument and plays for them. Musical terms are introduced in connection with the various pieces of music. The unit culminates in a live performance by a string trio, playing some of the themes the students have learned.

Grade 3
Content Area Fine Arts
Key Benchmark None:

Art Form Music
Art Benchmark 3.2.4: Identify instruments of the orchestra by sight and sound
School Year 2006-2007
Artist Mary Collier
Unit Plan

At the concert, students are quizzed on their knowledge of the stringed instruments in the trio, and their ability to match musical themes with their composers.:

Lesson Plans

LP 1 Meet the Violin

Students are shown the violin, learn its parts, how it’s played, and hear its sound and range. The concept of fast/slow tempo is demonstrated, and the idea of a composer is introduced. Each student has a turn to come to the front of the class and play the violin with the artist.

LP 2 Meet Haydn and Grieg

Students hear the story of Haydn’s Surprise Symphony and other orchestral instruments from the string family are introduced. Then students are introduced to Edvard Grieg and his Peer Gynt Suite. Two contrasting songs from the suite are played, both on the violin and on a recording. Students discuss the contrasting moods.

LP 3 Can You Do the Can-Can?

Students are introduced to Offenbach, who was a cellist and a conductor, in addition to being a composer. They learn the theme from Offenbach’s Can-Can and how to do that dance.

LP 4 Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake Ballet

Students are introduced to Russian composer Tchaikovsky and his music for the Swan Lake ballet. Major and minor keys are demonstrated on the violin and students see how that affects the mood of a piece. A picture book of the story of the ballet is briefly shown and then, as students listen to the orchestral selection, they can dance or move like swans, princes, or ballerinas.

LP 5 Music and Emotion

We review the names of the composers we have met--Grieg, Haydn, Tchaikovsky, and Offenbach; reintroduce Major and Minor keys; and see if students can identify the themes they’ve learned. Then we sample some gypsy music and learn where it comes from, and how the gypsies lived and traveled. Everyone is invited to dress up in vests and scarves and move to the gypsy-inspired music in Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 5. From this we can see that music in a minor key is not necessarily sad, but is "heartfelt" and emotional.

Additional Photos for "Classical Music Themes "

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Meet the Violin
Meet Haydn and Grieg
Lesson 3 - Can you do the Can-Can?
Lesson 3 - Can you do the Can-Can?
Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake Ballet
Music and Emotion