Listening and responding to their own and others’ music-making

Learning Intentions

  • We are learning to make improvements to our own and others’ music.
  • We are learning to focus our listening and to respond imaginatively to a wider range of music in a variety of styles.
  • We are learning that music can have different purposes.
  • We are learning to understand how the choice of instrument in a piece of music can affect the mood and atmosphere.
  • We are learning to develop an understanding of how sound is produced on different instruments, and to identify them aurally.
  • We are learning to develop an understanding of simple structure in music.

What to look for

  • Pupils actively listening to music
  • Pupils discussing their own music and how they might further improve it
  • Pupils discussing other people’s music and how it might be further improved
  • Pupils responding imaginatively to a variety of different styles of music
  • Pupils beginning to understand that music has different purposes
  • Pupils beginning to understand how instrumentation affects musical mood and atmosphere
  • Pupils understanding how sound is produced on various instruments
  • Pupils identifying orchestral instruments aurally
  • Pupils beginning to understand simple musical structures

Learning Activities

Allow the pupils to listen to each other’s music and discuss their own and others’ music-making. Use, for example:

  • recordings of sound pictures; focus on:
    • the number of instruments used;
    • the use of dynamics (loud/quiet); and
    • the choice of instruments;
  • recorder playing; consider:
    • sound quality; and
    • tonguing;
  • singing; keep in mind:
    • diction;
    • tuning;
    • dynamics; and
    • tempi.

Give the pupils time to modify their compositions and/or performances in the light of their discussions.

Ask the pupils to respond to a recorded piece of music by imagining their own stories. You could play:

  • Hall of the Mountain King by Grieg;
  • Danse Macabre by Saint-Saens;
  • Winter from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi; or
  • The Planets by Holst.

Give the pupils an opportunity to listen to a wide variety of styles of music and identify their purpose, for example:

  • Swan Lake – dance;
  • O Jesus I have promised – worship;
  • Pirates of the Caribbean – film music; and
  • Coronation Street – a TV theme tune.

Play contrasting pieces of music and discuss together how the instruments influence the mood. For example, you could use The Planets by Holst:

  • Mars is loud and powerful, with brass instruments and strong rhythms; and
  • Neptune is quiet and mysterious, a freer style with higher pitched sounds.

Ask the pupils to listen to and identify different orchestral instruments. Play extracts of music and focus on how each instrument produces sound. For example, The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra by Britten introduces each instrument and each section of the orchestra.

Have the pupils listen to music and identify different elements used by the composer, for example:

  • patterns, e.g.
    • the repeated patterns in the melodic phrases of Hall of the Mountain King by Grieg;
    • the strong rhythmic patterns in Mars from The Planets by Holst; and
    • the three-note pattern in Carillon by Bizet;
  • canon, e.g. Canon by Pachelbel;
  • pitch, e.g. the low pitch in The Elephant in Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens;
  • tempo, e.g. the increasing speed in Hall of the Mountain King by Grieg; and
  • structure, e.g. the recurring theme in Vltava by Smetana, and in Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky.

The pupils could use these and other musical examples as a basis for their own compositions.