Themed Lesson: Nature

CN thumbnail Themed Lesson Nature
Trees in Vermont at sunset · James Napoli/APM

Age Range: All Ages

Introduction: In this lesson, activities are paired with listening suggestions to help listeners discover and enjoy music inspired by nature. Select activities listed below based on time allotted, classroom goals, and student needs.

Total Music Time: 14:31

Free Downloads:


  1. Go for a short nature walk - even if it’s just around the block.

  2. Bring a notebook - write down all the sounds you hear.

  3. When the walk is over, look at your list and discuss how you could turn those sounds into a piece of music. Use a listening grid to organize ideas. Extend to a composition activity by playing all the re-created sounds in order, thus re-creating the nature walk through sound.


The following pieces of music were inspired by living things. Listen to one or more and draw the corresponding creature or plant. As you listen and draw, you might discuss what musical elements make each piece sound like that living thing.

  • El Grillo, which means "The Cricket," by Josquin des Prez

  • Flight of the Bumblebee, by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

  • Le Rappel des Oiseaux, which means "The Call of the Birds," by Jean-Philippe Rameau

  • 'The Woodpecker,' from Musical Toys, by Sofia Gubaidulina

  • 'Butterfly,' from Lyric Pieces, by Edvard Grieg

  • 'The Beech Tree,' from Plan & Elevation, by Caroline Shaw


For younger children, here is a nice guide to taking a nature walk:


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This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.

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