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I have a really funky schedule for when I see my students– I see them everyday (well, let’s be honest, four days) for a week, and then I see a new set of students next week. A lot of interesting things have occurred because of that schedule– Mondays are really tough, but behavior has improved, I get to know my kids better, and….. I tend to theme my lessons more. Before I would do here’s a lesson and here’s a lesson, but with the week long classes I like to have a theme for the week. Right now my theme is fall. So I realized I needed to throw in a listening lesson, and I decided on Im Herbst by Robert Franz.
Im Herbst is not a super well know piece of music. It is a lieder (German art song) composed by Robert Franz. I know it because I sang it in college, and I fell in love with it because it is sooooo dramatic. It is about a person who discovers their love is false (the really high part at the end says “My love is false”), and is extremely distraught.
Because the piece is so dramatic, it is perfect to teach tone color. And because there are a lot of variations in the tempo (those German Romantic composers loved their rubato) and pitch (lots of ascending and descending scales), it definitely needed to be done with the scarves.
Since my school is doing a variation of writing across the curriculum, I decided to tie this piece in with my writing for the week.
If you would like additional help with this lesson (printable lesson plan and 5 print and go worksheets that include writing!), you can check this out in my TPT shop here.
Im Herbst Listening Lesson for Timbre
Suggested grade level: 3rd
- Im Herbst recording (here on iTunes or here on Amazon)
- Paper to write on (or the printable from my lesson on TPT!)
- Sticky Notes
- Anchor chart
- (Optional) The Flute Player book
Im Herbst Directions:
- First, tell the students you are going to listen to a piece of music. It is in German, and the title is Im Herbst which means in the Fall. Don’t tell them anything else. While they listen, ask them to think about different words they could use to describe the song as they listen (You can say some examples of words to describe music, just to give them a starting point)
- After listening to about half of the piece, have the students turn and talk to their neighbor about the words they would use to describe the piece.
- Then give students sticky notes and have them write their words down and put the sticky notes onto an anchor chart. (Mine just says “Words to Describe Im Herbst by Robert Franz.) Alternatively, you could write it on the board. Students write the words on the white board with dry erase markers.
Also read: Creative Movement with Scarves
4. Then, give students a scarf and tell them to “Match the music”. I tell them I am mostly looking for contour (high or low) and that if is is fast, move fast, if it is slow move slow, etc. I find this helps them to analyze the music in a low-stakes way, and helps when we get to the point where we are watching a conductor, because they are used to the movement of the hands v. the music.
5. Next, read the book The Flute Player by Robyn Eversole. Before reading, tell the students that you are going to read a book. In this book the author had to listen to music. Then the author come up with pictures of what the music sounded like. Ask them to see if they can figure out all of the pictures.
6. After reading, ask the students about the different “pictures” that represented the songs.
7. Play Im Herbst again, and have them think about a picture or a movie that it brings to mind.
8. Finally, we come to the writing portion. I had my students write stories based on the piece of music and what they saw. They had to use the words that we used to describe the song in their piece. You could also have them draw pictures of what it reminds them of. Or you could do the worksheet in my TPT store that asks about the different elements (what instruments, words to describe the song, etc.).
So there you have it! A fall listening lesson that incorporates movement, talking to people, books, and writing! What is better than that?
What is your favorite fall listening piece? Let us know in the comments!