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Looking Ahead for Our Native Animals - Part 2: Music

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Writer: Maria Winder and Julie Cadzow

Curriculum Focus: Music

Curriculum Level: 3

Years 4-7

Duration: 6-8 lessons

Music is used to develop knowledge about features and actions of selected extinct or endangered New Zealand native animals.

Focus for the Unit: What are or were the main features, actions and sounds of extinct or endangered animals?
Specific Music Learning Goals

The students will:

  • Identify and describe how musical elements and structural devices can be used to create moods and effects (UC, PK, CI)
  • Work collaboratively, sharing and developing ideas to create a piece of music that reflects their knowledge and reflective responses regarding the plight of an endangered or extinct NZ native animal (UC, PK, DI)
  • Perform a piece of music and reflect on their own and others' performances (PK, CI)
Achievement Objectives: Music Level 3

Understanding Music in Context (UC)
Identify and describe the characteristics of music associated with a range of sound environments, in relation to historical, social and cultural contexts.
Explore ideas about how music serves a variety of purposes and functions in their lives and in their communities.

Developing Practical Knowledge in Music (PK)
Explore and identify how sound is made and changed, as they listen and respond to music and apply knowledge of the elements of music, structural devices, and technologies.

Developing Ideas in Music (DI)
Express and shape musical ideas, using musical elements, instruments, and technologies in response to sources of motivation.
Represent sound and musical ideas in a variety of ways.

Communicating and Interpreting in Music (CI)
Prepare and present brief performances of music, using performance skills and techniques.
Respond to and reflect on live and recorded music.


Refer to main unit " Looking ahead for our Native Animals " Refer Ministry of Education resource catalogue

  • Ministry of Education (2001) Into Music 1: Classroom Music in Years 1-3. Wellington. Learning Media (book and CD)
  • Ministry of Education (2002) Into Music 2: Classroom Music in Years 4-6. Wellington. Learning Media (book and CD)
Suggested Learning and Teaching Sequence

Learning Focus: Identify and describe how musical elements and structural devices can be used to create moods and effects (UC, PK, CI)

Task 1 Listening Log

Each time the class listens to a new piece of music, reflect on the composer's use of musical elements and structural devices to help develop the students' vocabulary for describing what they hear. In particular, focus on the use of tone colour (quality of sound), dynamics (loud/soft), tempo (fast/slow) and texture (layering of sound) to create moods and effects in the music. Refer to the listening log template.

Refer to the Music glossary on Arts Online or listen to Track 39 of "Into Music 2" for an explanation of musical elements and structural devices .

Use a shared work space such as Wikispaces for Eduction to record and share student responses to music. Insert a hyperlink to a music recording. Students can invite feedback from others on their comments. To make this manageable for a whole class, each student could choose one piece of music and record their comments.

Wikispaces for Education is an easy to use online space for creating 'living' documents that may include any sort of interactive media and can be viewed and/or edited and commented on from anywhere with Internet access.

Off Line shared workspace: Inspiration or Kidspiration
A visual learning tool to support learners with developing ideas and organising information. Includes tools to combine pictures, text, and spoken words to represent ideas. It enables learners to build concept maps and Venn diagrams, and to group, classify, and compare words and symbols.
See example here of how students have used Kidspiration to share and organize ideas over time and in response to their learning.

Teachers may need to model the use of reflective questions relating to music.

Tone Colour (Quality of sound)
Is there one main instrument or voice?
How would you describe the sound of the instruments or voices, e.g. raspy, smooth, metalic, wooden?
How are the main instruments played?
Are they blown, plucked, bowed, struck?

Texture (Layering of sounds)
Is there one sound or lots of different sounds playing at one time?
How does the mood of the music change when lots of instruments are playing?
Is the texture of the music thick or thin?
What is the busiest part of the music?

Dynamics (Loud/Soft)
Is there an exciting part of the music?
How are dynamics used to create a sense of excitement or calm?
Are there any moments of silence in the music?

Tempo (Fast/Slow)
How would you describe the tempo of the music?
How does the tempo affect the mood of the music?
Does the tempo change and if so, does this affect the mood of the music?

Music examples for listening and responding to music
Refer to the listening examples .

Respond to music and consider the views of others
Students may have many different responses and views about the same piece of music e.g. one may think the music expresses grief, while another student thinks the same music expresses calm.
e.g. Carnival of the Animals by Camille de Saint Saens
What can you hear in the music that reminds you about the features of the animal(s) represented? What sounds in the music tell you about how big the animal is or about how it moves? E.g. 'The Elephant' - the melody is low (played on a low-pitched instrument) and the tempo is slow, so it sounds like a big, heavy animal moving. 'The Aquarium' - a descending pattern is played on fast, high notes on the piano, which sounds like running water or some small fish darting around in the water. A slow melody is played on sweeping notes by the strings, which sounds like larger fish gliding through water.

Task 2 Identify a theme, motif, musical feature or pattern in a piece of music.

Game: Music swat
Equipment - 2 fly swats (rulers will also suffice), white board or poster paper and pens, recordings of excerpts from music the students are familiar with, that relates to the sustainability of animals theme.
Instructions - Make 2 identical lists of familiar music works on the whiteboard.
Divide the class into 2 teams. Each team appoints a 'swatter' to take the first turn.
Listen to each excerpt. The first swatter to identify the correct music gets a point for their team. If they are able to describe an identifying feature of the music, they gain an extra point. Swatters pass their swat to another team member. The game continues for several turns until there is a clear team winner. N.B. Several excerpts from the same music work will make the game more challenging.

Explore instrumental sounds
Use one or more of the following sound exploration tasks to develop knowledge of how instruments can be used to create moods and effects.
Make an audio recording of each completed task. These could be used later to enhance group dance and music performances.

Task 3 Sounds in a Circle

Use untuned percussion: skin, wood, metal, plastic instruments that you can shake, bang or scrape to make sound e.g. drum, shaker, cymbal, triangle, woodblock, claves
Ask each student to select an untuned percussion instrument. Sit in a circle and play each instrument in turn and describe the sound the instrument makes. Refer to the vocabulary list that follows for "Sound source, quality and effects" Write words on separate cards and distribute these to the class. Play the sounds in a circle again but ask students to swap instruments if necessary, so they are able to 'play' the words they have been given. Describe how instruments are played to create sounds that reflect each word.

Task 4 Accompany a Waiata

Create sound effects to accompany a Maori waiata using traditional instruments and sounds sources, e.g. Maori poi and ti rakau and live or recorded Maori instrumental sounds. Listen to Tihore Mai, Track 6 from "Into Music 1". (refer MOE catalogue ) Imitate the sounds heard on the CD and explore new sounds that recreate the theme in the music, i.e. damp bush, rain, birdsong, wind blowing. What is the meaning of the song? How would you describe the mood and what sounds might help to reflect that mood?

Task 5 Music After the Storm

Listen to track 20 "Into Music One". Discuss the sounds that can be heard before, during and after a storm. Divide the class into groups of 3 or 4. Each group explores and creates sound patterns to depict different stages in the storm (before, during, after).
Body percussion: clap, slap knees, chest, click fingers, stamp feet...
Vocal sounds: voiced (sing, grunt, sigh, chant, high or low pitch...) and unvoiced (whisper, whistle, tongue click, sh, f, t, p, s, h...), smooth or detached.
Environmental sounds: Stones, rocks, shells, leaves, wood, water and sand.
Electronic sounds:Sound effects on computer e.g. audio software loops and effects, video software sound effects, websites www.findsounds.com , electric keyboard or CD recordings

Task 6 Create a short soundscape to represent the features and behaviour of an animal.

Learning Focus:Work collaboratively, sharing and developing ideas to create a musical soundscape that reflects their knowledge and reflective responses regarding the plight of an endangered or extinct NZ native animal (UC, PK, DI)

Work in groups of 4-5. First, select a threatened or extinct animal from the digistore pictures.

Select words from the list below that you could use to describe the features and behaviour of your chosen animal.

Sound source, quality and effects

Beat scrape pluck strum wobble tremble wriggle shake roll patter shiver shudder strike swish tap jab pull drop blow thump blast voice hum electronic voice body metal wood plastic paper skin bone stone plaster ceramic fabric elastic straw string clay liquid fluid light heavy flat bold strong weak articulate distort slide flick soft loud explode distant plop fade far near big small smooth rough firm turn loud soft calm ragged hum whistle screech breath delicate vibrate radiate fragile stiff graceful stubborn sad project twitter tight grate strident tense dignified dull limp lively proud angry nervous fearful vague graceful happy haughty sleepy mysterious solid hollow jubilant dark silent aggressive powerful lethargic gentle bright vivid rich pale cool warm sparkling

Select sound sources that best suit the features and behaviour of your chosen animal
Which sounds could you use from the sound sources you have explored? Consider all the instruments, environmental sounds, found and electronic sounds that you have heard and recorded.

Use and combine sound sources to create patterns in music.
How can each selected sound source be used to reflect aspects of the animal's behaviour? Think about the words you might select to describe the animal and play selected instruments in a way that reflects that word.
Which other words best depict the movement of the animal?
Which words could be used to create a motif for the animal?

Sound patterns

High low climb drop creep wave drift slide scurry leap hang bounce soar gallop spring hop plunge lower relax rhythm beat pulse step stamp float skip run walk rest meter time simple compound dot long short frenzied irregular speed fast slow straight ascend descend pattern match line move wind up down forward backward triple double zigzag flat sharp natural hold scuttle meander taper horizontal zoom monotonous ooze dissolve swirl ripple glide dribble shunt swerve paint draw

Use sound patterns to create a structure for your composition.
How can you combine and manipulate the sounds to reflect your animal's features and behaviour?
How can you create a sequence of sounds that will communicate what you want to say?
What will happen at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of your piece?
When will you use a single sound or put sounds together to create an effect?
Which sound sources will you include in each section of your piece?
Will there be any moments of silence?
How can you use dynamics (loud/soft) to help convey your message?
Is there a musical motif that will feature? Will the motif be played simultaneously by many sound sources, or by one sound source, or interwoven with other sounds?
See Into Music One pp56-57 for more reflective questions

Sound structure

Contrast texture expand thin thick flip mirror contract rotate repeat invert silence lengthen copy canon layer single multi weave simultaneous link gather scatter over under increase transpose reflect part surround balance stretch thread bind sculpt concentric arrange spiral parallel unravel unite together connect gradual meet towards retreat intertwine harmonise tangle build shape construct shrink scaffold shade mix loop modulate

Sharing and reflecting on your work
Learning Focus: Perform a soundscape and reflect on their own and others' performances (PK, CI)
Teachers may like to provide some specific guidelines to parents and other students for giving appropriate feedback. Refer to the music assessment opportunities and to the reflective question in italics above.

Make an audio recording of each group's performance.
Upload the compositions to your shared work space e.g. wiki and ask others to give you feedback.

Remind the music students of the music goals required

  • Consider the tone colours (sound sources and sound qualities) the musicians could use.
  • Consider the texture (layering of sound)
  • Consider how contrasts in tempo (fast/slow) and dynamics (loud/soft) could be used to create moods and effects.
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