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It’s spooky season, and that means….. In the Hall of the Mountain King! This is one of my favorite listening selections of the year, and I use it in almost every grade level in my elementary music classroom.
In this blog post, I’m sharing some of my favorite ways to teach In the Hall of the Mountain King– and what grade levels to do it with.
PS You can get the In the Hall of the Mountain King lesson pack from my TPT shop– it includes everything you need in order to teach this lesson. It actually includes 2 complete lessons– once for K-2 and one for 3-5.
Use the K-2 to teach all about allegro and adagio, talk about how the music sounds, and do a fun conducting activity, and play instruments.
Use the 3-5 version to teach accelerando, introduce half notes, learn the 4 beat conducting pattern, and practice rhythm with a rhythm play along video. (There’s actually 3 play along videos included)
Everything you need and super simple to implement– just through it on the screen and go for it!
Introduction for all grade levels
Tell the story
With the older students especially, I like to introduce the story of Peer Gynt. (Did you know this piece is part on incidental music for a play?)
Here’s my 30 second elevator pitch:
- In the play, Peer runs away from the village and into the hall of the mountain king— the troll king!
- The troll king decides that he wants Peer to marry his daughter, the troll princess.
- Peer decides to sneak out and run away. He takes some jewels and starts to tip toe out of the mountain.
- But Peer was seen, and the trolls begin chasing him out of the mountain.
…And that’s where our story begins!
Then we listen and move to the piece, and at the end I tell them that he made it out safely.
Walk the Beat
Next, we keep the beat in our feet. I’ve done this with everyone from Kindergarten to fifth grade– it’s simple and always a hit.
Tell students you’re going to listen to a piece of music and keep the beat. It starts quiet, so we’re going to tip toe at first.
As you listen to the piece, every once in a while look over your shoulder or “around the corner”. During the loud parts at the end, tell the students its an earthquake, and have them jump. At the very end, do a big jump.
What does it sound like?
After the warm up, I like to ask students: What does this make you think of?
You can have students just answer, do a think pair share, write their answers on sticky notes, or more. This helps students connect the piece to the outside world.
In the Hall of the Mountain King with Younger Students
Read a Book
With the younger students, I like to do the warm up and read the story of the Mountain King. I use this book, which is a simple story, not too long, and has fun pictures. It’s a bit different than the 30 second elevator pitch I shared before, so if I’m reading the book, I don’t tell the story ahead of time.
Keep the beat
After we read the book, we keep the beat with instruments. I like to use egg shakers, because they aren’t too loud or distracting. Students keep the beat, and feel as it gets faster.
You can switch it up by having students tap the egg on their legs, on their shoulders, in the air, on the heads, and more. Just tell them, “Follow me!”
Learn allegro and adagio
While we’re at it, we’ll talk about how the music begins and ends– and learn some new tempo words!
In the Hall of the Mountain King with Older Students
Play the Rhythm
This song includes a half note, so we always do a rhythm play along with third or fourth grade.
Have students play along with the rhythm. We use our hands first, then the rhythm sticks. Have students tap the floor on the eighth notes, tap sticks together on the quarter notes, and slide their sticks together on the half notes.
When you purchase the lesson pack, you’ll get access to video play alongs for this– one with the rhythm, and one with a bat instead of a half notes, so that you can use it to prep half note. There are also slides to teach half note.
Boomwhacker Play Along
And the last thing I like to do with In the Hall of the Mountain King is to do a boomwhacker play along! This is usually something that I do with my fourth and fifth graders, and it’s a great one off lesson around Halloween– and it’s simple enough to do when they are hyped up on candy, and you can do it if you only have a day.
Because the last thing we’re doing when they are hyped up on candy is having students listen to anything that I say.
Don’t forget to grab the In the Hall of the Mountain King lesson pack! It includes the rhythm play along, listening selections, learning about tempo, conducting activities, and more.
Need more halloween lessons? Check out my favorite Halloween folk songs here!