Age Range: Elementary, Middle School
Learning Objective: Students will learn about a kind of piece called an etude and hear some examples.
ASK. “What does a person have to do to learn to play an instrument well?” (Pause for answers.) “That’s right, practice! Practice is how we learn to do anything, including playing an instrument. In order to play an instrument well, there are certain techniques, or skills, a player needs to work on and develop.”
EXPLAIN. “Sometimes composers write pieces called "etudes" to help a player develop, or study, a certain important skill. The word ‘etude’ means ‘study’ in French!”
EXPLAIN. “Today we will listen to five etudes- each for a different instrument. As you listen, think about what skill each etude might help develop.”
DISCUSS. “What skills do pianists need?” (Discuss as a group.) “One skill pianists need is to be able to move all ten fingers independently and with precision, sometimes fast!
WATCH. “In this Etude by Frederic Chopin, the pianist must work on a very specific skill - playing double thirds, or a bunch of every-other note pairs in the right hand. Be sure to notice the pianist's fingers in this video.”
WATCH. “Guitarists must learn the skill of playing ‘free strokes,’ or free flowing notes that skip around a bit. Listen and watch the free strokes in Estudios Sencillos No. 6 by Leo Brouwer.”
WATCH. “J.J.F. Dotzauer wrote 113 etudes for the cello! He made sure to cover every skill that cellists need to master. Here is just one of the 113 etudes, No. 14. Notice that the cellists must play a number of double stops, or two notes at one time.”
WATCH. “The snare drum seems like an instrument that you just need to hit, but a great deal of technique or skill is required to play it well. Watch this Etude No. 9 by Jacques Delecluse. Notice how the drum sticks move to make changes in the dynamic level, or how loud and soft the sound is. Notice the height of the drumstick from the drum head affects the sound.”
WATCH. “Finally, listen and watch an etude for a wind instrument. Woodwind and brass players must learn to develop breath control to help make a good sound. Here is Concert Etude No. 49 by Goedicke.”
We can group instruments into four families: strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. Sing and play a game to learn the characteristics of each instrument family!
Making up music on the spot is called “improvisation.” Learn how musicians improvise and practice creating your own music in this hands-on lesson!
Explore the basic concept of musical harmony improvising to create simple harmonies using visual prompts! For elementary age students, but adaptable for all ages.
Music is full of patterns. Learn about the ABA pattern in music and use it to create your own composition!
How do musicians stick together without a conductor? Help students understand and practice ENSEMBLE SKILLS in this lesson.
No two voices sound exactly the same. But, all voices fall into a range. Learn about four main voice types: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass!
Opera is for everyone- including kids! Our host Victoria explains what opera is, then introduces you to three opera singers. Perfect for elementary ages.
In part two of our opera lessons, Victoria uses opera to tell two stories: one about lunch, and one about special events. Students will be able to compose their own aria at the end of the lesson.