Birds in Classical Music {Free Music Lesson}

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15-Minute Music Lesson Freebie Birds in Classical Music

The first day of spring is March 20, and here is an easy music lesson to do with your kids that’s part of the Music in Our Homeschool 15-Minute Music Lesson series which focuses on one of the fun aspects of spring: Birds!

Lesson Plan for 15-Minute Music Lesson on Birds in Classical Music:

(To get a free printable pack of the optional notebooking sheets to go with this 15-Minute Music Lesson on Birds in Classical Music, including a PDF copy of the lesson plan, head over to

  • Many composers throughout the last 400 years have written music which sounds like birds. Some have tried to sound like a particular bird such as the cuckoo and others have tried to simply imitate the sounds of spring and summer when many birds are all singing and calling together. Listen to The Aviary by Camille Saint-Saens.

or see the instruments playing here:

  • Look up the word “aviary.” Have you been to one before? Does this music remind you of how it sounded? Fill out a notebooking sheet by writing or drawing what you hear as you listen a second time. (There are two sheets to choose from depending on the student’s age.)
  • Talk about the instruments used to imitate the bird songs and fill out the notebooking sheet on the flute and piano. The flute is a woodwind instrument. Look at this website to learn about and listen to the different woodwind instruments.
  • Learn about the composer Camille Saint-Saens at and fill out the composer sheet. “The Aviary” is just one of fourteen pieces in his orchestral suite called Carnival of the Animals, which is a favorite among children. There are 3 others about birds: “Hens and Cockerals,” “The Cuckoo in the Woods,” and “The Swan.” You may want to listen to the entire piece. Find Carnival of the Animals on YouTube, check out a book with CD such as The Carnival of the Animals by Prelutsky or a DVD from the library,
    or get the Maestro Classics CD or MP3 download that includes the music with funny spoken poetry by Ogden Nash for each animal’s piece.
  • Dance to “The Aviary” by Camille Saint Saens. Younger children love to pretend to be birds flying around while listening to the music. Give them “bird wings” with scarves, ribbons, or pieces of fabric. They will flap their arms and move even more!
  • Your 15 minutes are sure to be up by this time, but if you’d like to continue with the theme of bird sounds in classical music, below are some others to explore. If you pick a piece to listen to that is supposed to sound like a particular bird, be sure to look at the Online Bird Field Guide which includes bird songs and calls to listen to and see if you think the composer did a good job sounding like those birds!

    Bartók- Piano Concerto No. 3, second movement, adagio religioso

    Beethoven- Symphony No. 6; 25th Piano Sonata (Op. 79)

    Biber- Cock, Hen, and Quail

    Dvorak- Wood Dove

    Handel- Cuckoo and the Nightingale

    Haydn- Lark Quartet, op. 64, no. 5; Symphony No. 57 (finale); The Bird

    Janequin- Le Chant Des Oiseaux

    Messiaen- Réveil des Oiseaux; Oiseaux Exotiques; La Grive des Bois

    Mozart- Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major, K. 453; Musical Joke, K. 522; “Pappageno/Pappagena Duet” and “Pappageno’s ‘Vogelfänger’ (The Bird Catcher Aria) from The Magic Flute

    Prokofiev- Peter and the Wolf

    Rameau- Le Rappel des Oiseaux

    Respighi- Gli uccelli (The Birds); The Pines of Rome

    Schubert- Die Vogel

    Stravinsky- Song of the Nightingale

    Vivaldi- The Goldfinch; Spring (from The Four Seasons); Summer (from the Four Seasons)

    Wagner- Siegfried

    Zeller- Der Vogelhändler (The Bird Seller)

    Here are some other Only Passionate Curiosity posts about birds:

    Population Ecology for Kids Birdwatching Activity

    V is for Vulture Free Printable Pack

    How to Make a Pumpkin Birdfeeder

And remember to head over to Music in Our Homeschool to pick up the free printable pack that goes with this 15-Minute Music Lesson on Birds in Classical Music.

Gena Family Collage 1
Gena has been married 17 years is a homeschooling mom of 8 blessings, ages 15 down to 3. You can find her blogging about homeschooling, homemaking, and family life over at I Choose Joy! and sharing resources, tips, freebies, and giveaways to help you include music in your homeschool at MusicinOurHomeschool. Be sure to join her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Periscope (@ichoosejoynow) as well to read great reviews and enter awesome giveaways. (Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.)


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One Comment

  1. Another cool classical pieces with birds is Russian Easter Overture by Rimsky-Korsakov. Listeners can enjoy several bird calls within the depiction of spring blossoming (and even storming!). I’m enjoying performing this with the symphony right now.

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