Themed Lesson: Ghosts

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Age Range: All Ages

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

Total Music Time: 21:07

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  1. Explain that you will listen to four pieces of music about ghosts. Remember that there are different kinds of ghosts - scary, friendly, sad, and cute are just a few types.

    Types of ghosts
    Types of ghosts
    Clip art images
  2. The first example is the Graceful Ghost Rag, by William Bolcom. “Rag” is short for ragtime, a certain kind of piano music. As you listen, think about what kind of ghost the composer had in mind when writing this music.

  3. Composer Eric Whitacre composed a piece called Ghost Train Triptych, which includes three movements, or parts. Here's the first part. In addition to spooky noises, you will hear a lot of train sounds.

  4. Musicians of all kinds like to tell ghost stories with music. Here's a song about ghosts and cowboys.

  5. At the end of Mozart's opera Don Giovanni, the main character is visited by a ghost who comes to take him away. This one gets a little scary and intense.

  6. Extend learning by comparing and contrasting each piece, with students using the worksheet to write down or draw what they hear.


  1. Want to tell some good kid-friendly spooky campfire stories while listening? Check these out.

  2. Check out pictures of these ghostly animals on National Geographic Kids.


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