Learning about music history is so helpful for piano students so I’ve decided to have musical periods as the common theme of group lessons this spring. This first group lesson of the year focused on the baroque period. I’m planning the next three to be about the Classical, Romantic and Modern eras.
Here’s an outline of the March 2014 Group Lesson Plan:
- Group lessons provide a great way for students to share what they are practicing individually. Students played individual pieces, a duet and a composition. Performance was the first part of the group lesson.
- Since the theme was about the Baroque period I used related handouts. The first sheet has information about the period in general (paintings, dress, music characteristics). http://colorinmypiano.com/wp-content/files/Music_History_Periods_Lapbook.pdf (page 2)
- I found a website with good quality music clips (by Naxos) of Classical music. The website is called www.classicsforkids.com and has some great resources. We listened to some of the clips of Water Music and Four Seasons. I asked students which instruments they heard while listening to the clips.
- While the music was fading away I handed out a simple worksheet. It has a photo of J. S. Bach and lines to fill in information about his life. The link is: http://practicalpages.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/famous-musicians-biography-lined-with-map.pdf (page 2). I used the following short biography to give students some information about Bach’s life: http://www.bachcentral.com/bio.html.
- Afterwards I showed students parts of a video about the harpsichord. The first three minutes showed how the instrument is plucked. I skipped the video to another section (minutes 5:20-7:40) where the presenter gives a nice demonstration of how the harpsichord sounded (this particular harpsichord has a double keyboard). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71x4MSlpGUk.
- After watching the video we played a game to reinforce note-reading. I used the notes from low to high Do/C in treble and bass clef and hid them while students closed their eyes. The students then found one note at a time and came to the piano, playing the note they had found in the correct octave. For a video example of how to play this game, follow the link and see the 12:45 minute mark: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EbQDrLwkxo&feature=youtube_gdata_player
- We finished the lesson off by watching a harpsichord video of Bach’s famous Minuet in G Major (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TobXjDXF0s ) and concluded with another round of the note-recognition game.
- Another interesting video which some of us watched after the lesson ended shows an example of the clavichord and its sound: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uCCw_hmILA.
This lesson gave the young people a taste of music history and I hope they will make connections with this lesson when they hear other things about the Baroque period. It was great to have some parents over for the lesson as well and I hope they will provide opportunities for their children to learn more about music history, particularly the Baroque era.