Age Range: Elementary
Learning Objective: Students will demonstrate ensemble skills through performance. Students will utilize multiple rehearsal strategies to refine performance.
Free Download: Printable Lesson Plan: Ensemble Skills
ASK. “When musicians play together, how do they start at the same time? How can they be sure to play at the same speed, or tempo, so that they can stay together? (Listen to students’ responses. If they answer that this is the job of the conductor, acknowledge that this is correct, but then ask further.) “What if it’s a small group that doesn’t have a conductor?”
EXPLAIN. “When musicians play together but don’t have a conductor to lead them, they must give signals, or cues, so that they start together and stay together through a performance. It’s a way of communication and working together.”
SHOW. “Here are four main ways that musicians play together with good ensemble skills.” (Briefly explain and demonstrate each techniques for students.)
Head nod and/or body movement
Sharp in-breath, or inhale
WATCH. “In this video, notice how the musicians use eye contact and body movement. What else do you observe?”
PRACTICE. Group students into quartets and ask them to choose a favorite classroom piece to perform. They may choose to sing, play on classroom instruments, or both. Remind them that they must be able to start together on their own. Circulate among the groups during rehearsal time and help each quartet refine their cueing technique. Complete the activity by asking each group to perform for the class. Give feedback regarding cueing.
Choose one or more of the following videos to watch and notice ensemble skills.
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!
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.