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I’ve created this activity to encourage my piano students and their families to become more active listeners. Listening to a wide variety of music is an important component to becoming a well-rounded musician. Thanks to the Internet, there are so many wonderful performances available for free. It’s my goal to instill a lifelong love of this music, which includes listening in addition to playing.
How It Works
Each month there will be an activity for older and younger students. There is no set boundary, but I think fourth graders and above will enjoy the older student activity. Pick one, and I can’t wait to see your work and hear your reaction!
Are There Any Prizes?
To kick off this activity, I will be offering a small prize to one younger and one older student. All students who successfully complete and submit the activity sheet(s) by Friday, January 13, 2023, will be entered into a random drawing. However, the real reward will be the knowledge you’ll gain by doing this. Enjoy!
Younger Student – The Nutcracker
You might have heard about this famous late 19th-century ballet called The Nutcracker by this hard-to-pronounce Russian composer, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. This Wikipedia summary is a helpful reminder of the story. The ballet is in two parts called acts. Act One is where most of the action in the story takes place.
The best music of the ballet takes place in Act Two, at the point where the prince and Clara are seated to watch a series of dances by the ballet soloists. Watch the three selected dances below and tell me which one is your favorite. The YouTube links below are from a performance from my favorite company, the New York City Ballet. If you’re ever in NYC in December, try to see this production!
I’ve downloaded these Nutcracker Worksheets from Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT), and shared them with my studio via the Online Resources in MyMusicStaff. Look for the title TPT Nutcracker Worksheets. Please print at least one page from the packet and color in the characters. Plus, somewhere on the page, please write your favorite dance from the listening assingment above.
Older Student – Bach’s Brandenburg Concert No. 5
There’s nothing particularly December or Christmas about J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg concertos. Yet, hearing all six in one concert was one of the most popular classical music events in New York City each December. The performances weren’t at Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center, but by a chamber orchestra in a 900-seat hall at the 92nd Street Y on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
It was so uplifting to hear these masterpieces; I must have been a high school senior when I attended this performance for the first time.
The activity has three steps:
- Watch the first movement of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 on YouTube.
- Read about the concerto grosso in this article.
- Do this worksheet to complete the activity.