Tag Archives: Listening Lessons

Peter and the Wolf Unit

Peter and the Wolf Lessons

Peter and the Wolf is a timeless classic.  There are many musical concepts to teach using this wonderful composition.  If you’re done teaching for this school year (lucky you!) this is a great time to plan your units for next year.  If you’re still in class, these movies could be your lessons for the last month!  Visit www.musicplayonline.com to find all these wonderful ideas!

Identify the instruments

In Peter and the Wolf, Prokofiev uses different instruments to represent the characters.  This is a great opportunity to teach children about the instruments of the orchestra.  In the Listening Resource Kit 1, Denise wrote words to sing with many of the themes.  Stacy Werner illustrated them in the Listening 1 Digital Resource, and Shannon Machtans has turned them into short movies that are now part of the musicplayonline.com resource!

In the movie “The Duck” the little song teaches about the tempo of the music, and the instrument that plays the theme.

Duck song 1

Duck song 1

Duck song 3

Identify the Expressive elements

The duck theme is played by the oboe.  It’s a very short listening example.  The students are asked to listen and point to slow-medium-fast, pitch: high-medium-low and dynamics: quiet-medium-loud.

Duck quiet-med-loud

Duck high-med-low

Duck fast-med-slow

Students are asked what instrument represents the duck, and information about the oboe is given.

Duck what instrument?

Duck what instrument? Oboe

The Cat song is one of my favorites.  The melody is memorable (gets stuck in your head) , and the melodic contour is illustrated as the students sing.

Cat song1

Cat song 2

Cat song 3

Cat song 4

The Wolf is used to teach about crescendo.

Wolf crescendo

wolf cymbals crescendo

The entire story of Peter and the Wolf is given on the musicplayonline.com website.  After you’ve taught all the themes, the story will be much more meaningful to the students than it would be without the preparation!

This worksheet comes from the Listening Kit 1 and will be made into an interactive activity on the musicplayonline.com website.  Use it to assess how well the students have learned which instrument represents which character.

Peter and Wolf worksheet

We are still editing the listening movies and creating interactive activities to accompany them, but even as a work in progress, the listening selections on the musicplayonline.com website are a wonderful resource for teachers!

New at musicplayonline.com

  • Staff tool for writing melodies!  1, 2, 3 and 5 line staff
  • Rhythm composition tool
  • Form Tool – outline ABA or rondo form
  • Peter and the Wolf listening themes and story!

Get Them Listening!

We are surrounded with sound all day every day.  But are our students actually listening?  Every teacher in your school would like to have students in their classes that are better listeners.  Here are some ways that music teachers can really help the students improve their listening skills.

Make students more aware of sounds in their environment.  The first activity in the Listening Resource Kit 1 is listening to sounds around us and identifying them.  This activity is now a movie at www.musicplayonline.com.  (The Listening menu is on the left-hand tool bar, and this movie is in Kit 1)  The movie is only 90 seconds long.  Students hear five sounds and they point to the sound they hear.  The answers follow.Sounds Around Us

Follow this actitvity with a classroom listening exercise.  Have them close their eyes for 30 seconds, then write down all the sounds that they can hear in the classroom. 

I do a lesson on long and short sounds with preK – Gr. 2 using unpitched instruments.  Play a sound on a  finger cymbal and then play a sound on rhythm sticks.  Ask the students which instrument made the short sound and which made the long sound.  The finger cymbals produce a sound that sustains for a long time!  Ask the children to close their eyes, and tell them not to open their eyes up until the sound of the finger cymbal has disappeared.  Play the finger cymbal and watch to see how long your students keep their eyes closed.   

There are 4 additional “sound” identification movies at musicplayonline.com.  These are:

What Keeps a Beat, Fast/Slow, Loud/Quiet and High/Low.  After watching these movies, start a classroom list of sounds that keep a beat and sounds that are fast/slow etc.  Give the students a homework assignment.  Ask them to listen at home for sounds that keep a beat and add them to your list the next time you see them.  My little ones in PreK don’t fully understand these concepts, especially high/low, even after 10 lessons.  Revisit this often so that all your students understand these basic concepts.

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Another resource that will help your students be more aware of sounds around them, is the first of the So-me stories by Stuart Manins – So-Me Goes Missing.  In this story, the main character, So-me, can’t be found.  His mother, father and brother look for him all around the house and the neighbourhood, but he can’t be found.  As they look, they hear many sounds such as a clock ticking, a dripping tap, the wind in the leaves, and a fly caught in a spider’s web.  In the end, So-me wasn’t lost at all – he was laying behind the couch with headphones on listening to music.

So-me 2

Stuart Manins has very graciously given permission to post movies of the So-me stories on www.musicplayonline.com.  We’ll be posting the movies in the Listening section next week.  If you prefer to have a print copy of the stories (and they really are a treasure) we still have them available.  Go to musicplay.ca, then scroll down the left menu until you see Storybooks.

We are still doing final edits to the Listening Kit 1 movies that are on musicplayonline.com, but the 41 listening selections that are posted provide you with a wealth of listening activities to use with PreK – Grade 3.  For each selection there are 1-7 movies:  Listening Map, Composer, Movement, Play Along and Kids Demos.  All movements from Carnival of the Animals, the themes from Peter and the Wolf AND the entire story, and 12 additional selections by Mozart, Handel, Chopin and more!  The movies teach and reinforce many concepts.  One of my favorites is “Galliard Battaglia” that teaches call and response using finger puppets!  Enjoy using these movies at www.musicplayonline.com and get your student’s listening!

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