Ms. Martin's Music Room

Resources and reflections on what my classroom teaches me.

L is for Listen

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Our book, I am not sleepy and I will not go to bed, by Lauren Child, features so many ideas for music listening and activities! For this lesson, I decided to focus on birds.

Materials needed:

Listening Journals and colored pencils or crayons OR

construction paper (or small “lunch-sized” paper sacks), glue, scissors, beady eyes, and colorful feathers

(substitute and get creative with the materials, such as using coffee stirrers for legs, as you desire)

OBJECTIVE: Student will identify bird sound themes in three pieces by different composers and either draw or create pictures of their ideas of the birds depicted. Older or more advanced students will identify the instruments used to create the bird sounds.

1) Re-read the book to the children, so the scene with Charlie trying to convince Lola to go to bed because “all the birds have gone to sleep” is fresh in their minds.

2) Have students listen to each of three short piece which feature bird sounds (take your pick of the several posted below). Encourage students to listen for the bird sounds, and to imagine what kind of bird might make them.

3) Briefly discuss the bird sounds presented with the group in each piece. Was the bird large and graceful like a swan, or tiny and quick like a finch? (Students may respond well to pictures of birds, but be aware that if you show a picture of a finch, your students will create pictures of finches for you, rather than creating their own image. The purpose of this exercise is to encourage students to use the cues from the music to determine what the bird will look like.) Was the bird regal and fierce like an eagle, or sort of clumsy like a penguin on land?

(Older or more advanced groups of students: discuss the instruments created to make the bird sounds, and perhaps include a rhythm exercise to imitate them here.)

4) Pass out materials – either a listening journal, where students can draw and color their imagined birds, or bags or construction paper for larger, more elaborate models, depending on time and resources. If the more elaborate models are created, make sure to display them proudly (once everyone has made their own) for all the world to see!

Here are some of the fantastic short bird songs I found:

(Papageno the birdcatcher has finally found his love Papagena again, and they plan the many children they will have together – The Magic Flute, by W.A.Mozart).

(The Goldfinch – “Il Cardellino,” by Antonio Vivaldi)

(Theme for the Bird from “Peter and the Wolf,” by Prokofiev)

(Tchaikovsky, “Song of the Lark”)

(Modest Mussorgsky, “The Ballet of Unhatched Chicks” from “Pictures at an Exhibition”)

Have fun!


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