Themed Lesson: Autumn

themed lesson thumbnails
Ed van Duijn/Unsplash

Age Range: All Ages

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

Total Listening Time: 22:21

Free Downloads:


  1. Choose two pieces of music from the playlist at the beginning of this lesson. 

  2. Play each selection. Use this chart (shown below or available as a printable) to describe the music with words or drawings. Students can focus on instruments heard, musical features, their feelings while listening, or a combination of those things.

    Autumn listening log
    Autumn listening log
    Katie Condon/MPR
  3. After filling out the chart, journal or discuss the following questions: 

    • Can you describe how autumn sounds? 

    • Which piece best captured the feeling or mood of the season? 

    • Can you think of a few words to describe each piece? 

    • Would you use those same words to describe autumn?  


  1. Go on a short walk outside to explore the sounds and sights of autumn. Each student might bring paper and pencil to write or draw at least three things sounds they notice and hear. If desired, ask students to choose a leaf to pick up and keep as a souvenir of their walk. 

  2. When you return from the nature walk, spend some time writing or drawing observations from your autumn nature walk. Listen to the suggested music as you journal/draw. 


  1. Supply each student with a leaf.  

  2. Select a piece of music from the choices below. While listening, ask students to create a leaf rubbing by covering the leaf with a piece of paper, then rubbing a crayon over the top to capture the size and texture of the leaf. 

  3. When students are done rubbing, they can add pictures or words that describe the music. After listening and drawing, students can share their artistic connection with a neighbor.  


  1. Learn the song “Journey of the Leaves.”

  2. Ask students to think of one word that describes their leaf (i.e. RED, CRUNCHY, SOFT, or RIPPED) and whisper it to their neighbor. 

  3. As a group, practice saying the adjective on beat 1 of a triple meter. (i.e. “RED! (rest - rest)” or “CRUNCHY” (rest - rest.) 

  4. Sit in a circle. Have each student bravely say their word on the steady beat (followed by two rest beats for transition time.) 

  5. Alternate singing the song and students chanting their words. It works well to have 8 kids say their word (8 measures) before singing the song again. Continue alternating song and text until all students have shared. 

  6. Rehearse the “Journey of the Leaves” song/chant for performance.  


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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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