Monday, January 11, 2010

My Trip Off the Blog Wagon

African Piano designed by Anna-Marie D'Cruz
in her book, Make Your Own Musical Instruments
(The Rosen Publishing Group, 2009)
Botched by Mighty Mom

South American Rain Stick

I knew, even as I set it, that a goal of 360 blogs this year would be next to impossible. I guess my point was to get myself blogging, even with the new burden of school. Blogging is my way of recording life as I see it and I didn't want to look back three years from now and have nothing saved. Well, my diligence lasted until my first interim semester course: Music in the P-8 Schools. Here's just a snippet of what was required of me this past weekend:

A Lesson Plan:

The Orchestra in Four Parts

Age Level: 7 to 9

Duration: 40 minutes


Computer with iTunes software, The Orchestra Playlist, and speakers

Worksheet, one per student (see attached)



Moss, Lloyd (1995). Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin

Garriel, Barbara S. (2004). I Know a Shy Fellow Who Swallowed a Cello

Crossword Puzzle Maker courtesy of

The Orchestra Play List:

  1. Piano Concerto #20 In D Minor, K 466 - 1. Allegro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  2. Spring from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi
  3. The Coventry Carol (Brass Quintet) by Robert Croo
  4. Concerto For Flute & Harp, K 299 - 2. Andantino by Woldfgang Amadeus Mozart
  5. The Battle Of Stirling by James Horner, performed by the London Symphony Orchestra


  • Students will be able to identify the four sections of the orchestra based on their construction and method of sound production.
  • Students will be able to match the following terms to their correct definition.
  • Students will be able to place a selection of instruments into their appropriate sections.


  • Begin by asking students if any have gone to see or listened to an orchestra. Guide discussion toward the number of musicians, the types of instruments, the type of music played and whether the musicians played by themselves or in groups.
  • Play Track 1 from The Orchestra Playlist as an example of a large orchestra all playing together.
  • Introduce the concept that the orchestra can be divided into four sections. Read Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin, asking students to look for clues to justify what instruments they would group together to form a section. Hint: instruments are grouped together based on how they make sound.
  • At the dry erase board, write the names of all ten instruments in black ink. Invite students to come to the board to circle instruments they believe are in the same section with like colored marker (i.e. all strings circled with red; all woodwinds circled with blue; all brass circled with green. See answer key attached.) Once complete, introduce the correct terms for the different sections: strings, brass, and woodwinds. Play tracks 2, 3, and 4 from The Orchestra Play list (15 to 30 seconds each).
  • Remind the class that one important section is still missing. (Percussion) Allow students to offer suggestions as to what is missing and then read I know a Shy Fellow Who Swallowed a Cello watching for new instruments they may not have seen in the first book.
  • Add new instruments to the board: saxophone, fiddle, cymbal, kazoo, and bell. Invite students to come up to the board and classify the new additions, offering their justification. Add percussion as a section including the cymbal and bell. Discuss whether a kazoo belongs in any of the sections. Play track 5 from The Orchestra Play List as an example of percussion instruments.
  • Distribute activity sheets. Allow students to work in small groups to complete. Younger students may require a word bank. Older students should be encouraged to refer to the texts. Meanwhile instrumental tracts in the background in sequence.
  • During last five minutes gather group’s attention and discuss section and instrument preferences.


  • See attached crossword puzzle. (Not included here for reasons of potential copyright infringement. While I wrote the content of the puzzle myself, I'm not sure I'm allowed to share it.)

ISBE Standard Addressed:

26.A.2c Music:

Classify musical sound sources into groups (e.g., instrumental families, vocal ranges, solo/ensembles).

As you can see in the photo above, I also constructed a few instruments, none of which particularly excited me half as much as they impressed the girls.

So that's what I've been up to. My blogging goal will most assuredly not be met, but I'll be sure to check in with a good excuse from time to time. Honest!

Simple Flute designed by Anna-Marie D'Cruz
(also known as the most annoying noise maker in the world)

1 comment:

  1. This looks really cool: inventive, imaginative, and instructional. And good luck with the blogging goal....I, for one, am hoping to see more posts from you.