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 MusicinOurHomeschool.com.)
- 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 SFSKids.org to learn about and listen to the different woodwind instruments.
- Learn about the composer Camille Saint-Saens at ClassicsforKids.com 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)
Zeller- Der Vogelhändler (The Bird Seller)
Here are some other Only Passionate Curiosity posts about birds:
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.