Themed Lesson: Fireworks

themed lesson thumbnails

Age Range: All Ages

Learning Objective: Students will have opportunities to create, respond, and connect to up to six pieces of music inspired by fireworks.

Note to Teachers: As opposed to a sequential lesson plan, themed lessons are a pick-and-choose model. Select repertoire and activities from the lists below based on your time and needs.



ASK. “Do fireworks all look and sound the same? The chart below shows six different kinds of fireworks: a sparkler, a Catherine wheel, and a spider, to name just a few. Look at each picture and imagine how a composer might turn that image into music.”

Fireworks grid

RESPOND. Introduce your chosen piece of music with a question prompt. After listening, allow students to respond to the music by answering the question and discussing if they liked or didn’t like the piece.

  • Feux D’artifice (Fireworks), by Claude Debussy: Composer Claude Debussy uses the piano to create some explosive sounds. He also includes several glissandi (plural of glissando), where the pianist must sweep their hand across a bunch of notes to make a sliding, swooping sound. How many glissandi do you hear in this piece?

  • Flourish with Fireworks, by Oliver Knussen: What words would you use to describe this music? Would you use some of the same words to describe fireworks that you watch?

  • Feux D’artifice, by Igor Stravinsky: "Feux D'artifice" is how you say "Fireworks" in French. Notice that Debussy wrote a piece with the same name. How are the pieces the same? How are they different?

  • Music for Royal Fireworks, by G.F. Handel: G.F. Handel wrote a whole suite, or set of pieces, called Music for Royal Fireworks. Here is just one part–the minuet–along with some video footage of a fireworks display. Did you have a favorite part of the music? Did you have a favorite firework?

  • Fireworks, by Nicholas Hopper: Would you describe fireworks as explosive and exciting? Would you use those same words to describe this music? This piece is from the soundtrack of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by Nicholas Hooper. Listen to hear an unexpected instrument come in with a solo about a minute in. Can you name the instrument?

  • Firework, by Katy Perry: Katy Perry’s song is about inspiration. What are you inspired to do?

CONNECT. Before listening to one or two of the pieces, ask students to share with a neighbor if they’ve ever seen fireworks in real life. They can share their opinion on if they like the loud noises or not!

CREATE. While listening to one or more of the pieces, choose an art project from this list of Firework Crafts for all Ages!

Related Lesson Plans

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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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