139: Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony

This was a manic year 5 and 6 lesson at the end of the first week. I think we all enjoyed ourselves – well, I certainly did!

If you get yourself to the BBC Ten Pieces website, one of the offerings is a shortened version of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

go here; http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1vggT9xqtBv9NW2lrkwdkf7/ten-pieces-repertoire and click on “clips”

Before we listened to the music, I started with a bit of “listen and copy”, clapping the “dit dit dit Dah” rhythm, and getting them to clap it back. I did it S   L   O   W   L   Y, and fast, LOUD and soft.

Then I gave them a bit of background http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._5_(Beethoven) including the link to World War 2 and Morse Code before playing the music. It was a short lesson, so we only listened to the first 45 seconds. My plan was to focus on the rhythm of the opening phrase, and use that to create a composition using body percussion.

The children spotted the rhythm quickly enough, and we had a brief discussion on the mood and effect of the music (loud, fast, exciting, spy movies, jumpy, spooky, contrasts between loud and soft, sudden pauses and then rushes of sound).

I did the listen and copy exercise again, dividing the class into two groups and conducting them to recreate the effect of the first 45 minutes by doing slow-motion listen and copies, and then quick-as-you-can listen and copies.

Finally, the plan was to divide the class into groups (that worked) and hand out paper and pencil (that worked) and dish out copies of Morse Code (I had them IN MY HAND at the beginning of the lesson but could I find them now? – #resourcesfail). Once I had done a work-around the Morse Code issue ( used my master copy to write up some of the more rhythmically interesting letters up on the white board)  the groups set to and composed listen-and-copy pieces incorporating

LOUD (write it large) and soft (write it small)

Fast (write the dots and dashes close together) and s  l  o  w (space the dots and dashes)

2-parts (use two different colours)

Pauses before the next phrase (leave a gap) and quick follow-ons (write the phrases close together)

My music lessons tend to be very noisy and this was no exception. However all the groups produced and performed a notated composition at the end of the lesson, with dynamics and tempo changes. Result!

I was thinking of moving on to the next piece, but there’s a lot more to do with this one. More next week!

Pease Pudding for Descant Recorders






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