|Grade span:||4 to 12|
|Duration:||Three 45-minute sessions|
Description:This sample lesson is one example of how you can implement the practice of Building Skills in the Arts. In this activity, students will learn how music and dance can communicate meaning. They will also prepare a song map, and choreograph their own dance.
- Understand how music and dance can be used to communicate meaning
- Create a song map based on a particular piece of music
- Choreograph an original dance based on a particular piece of music
- CD player and various CDs
- Overhead projector and transparency sheets (optional)
- Consult the Resources page for suggested Web sites and books to familiarize yourself with the basic elements of dance and music.
- Review the basic elements of music, such as tempo (speed), dynamics (volume), and pitch (highs vs. lows).
- Gather music that expresses emotion. Suggestions:
- Happy: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Mozart), Stars and Stripes Forever (Sousa)
- Sad: Moonlight Sonata (Beethoven),
- Angry: Ride of the Valkyries (Wagner), Toccata and Fugue (Bach)
- Excited: Flight of the Bumblebees (Rimsky-Korsakov), Toreador March from Carmen (Bizet)
- Review some of the basic elements of dance so that you feel familiar enough to demonstrate:
- Level: high, medium, and low
- Direction: forward, backward, left, right, diagonally, turning
- Speed: fast, slow
- Locomotor: walk, run, hop, jump, leap, gallop, slide, skip
- Axial: bend, twist, stretch, swing
- Create a performance space (masking tape can designate a stage).
- Review and show Disney's "Fantasia" as a musical/dance performance that reflects emotion (optional).
What to Do:Session 1
- Begin with a discussion of students' favorite genres of music (pop, country, rap) and reasons for liking them.
- Talk about how music can evoke emotions and images. Play several excerpts of music that demonstrate various emotions. Ask students to close their eyes, listen to each piece, and let their imaginations go. After each piece, ask students to describe the emotions they felt, as well as the images that appeared while the music played.
- Discuss the elements of music (tempo, dynamics, pitch) that contributed to the emotions they felt. (For instance, a song that evokes sadness is likely to be slow and in a minor key.)
- Hold a vote to select the class's favorite piece from the excerpts played. This piece will be used during the next two sessions.
- Play the selected musical piece for your class. As the music plays, ask students to think about the images that appear in their minds, and the story that those images tell.
- Divide students into small groups. Ask each group to draw a series of images or a song map that depict the story they think the music tells. See Sample Song Map and Notes (PDF).
- Discuss the basic elements of dance with your students.
- Ask each group to discuss how they might use movement to depict the various images and emotions that appear in their song maps.
- Have students choreograph a dance that corresponds to their song maps. Ask students to make choreography notes so that they will be able to remember and perform their dances in the next session.
- Create transparencies or handouts of each group's choreography notes
- Allow each group to share their dances, using the overhead projector to display their choreography notes for the class to see.
- Discuss each dance, allowing students to how the dance captures the emotion of the music.
Evaluate (Outcomes to look for):
- Student participation and engagement
- An understanding of how music and movement can be used to express emotion
- Song maps and dances that reflect basic elements of movement
- Dances that clearly reflect specific emotions
Click this link to see additional learning goals, grade-level benchmarks, and standards covered in this lesson.