Lesson Content


There are 10 exercises to complete during Lesson 11 + 1 homework.

  • Before the lesson:
    • Scroll down the page to view information about each exercise
    • Ensure you have read through the preparation guide to this lesson
  • During the lesson:
    • Press ‘open slideshow’ in the top right corner of the page to display and play lesson resources to the class.
    • Download & print the lesson content information at the bottom of this page to reference during class

Lesson Content + Exercise Information:

1. Discussion: Symbols and Instructions: 
  1. Display the discussion sheet for the class.
  2. Go through each of the actions on the board and discuss what parts of body you would use to carry out the actions.
  3. Pupils can demonstrate the body movements they would use for the action.
  4. For each action, ask the class what changes their bodies/muscles would need to apply more force to the task.
  5. Then ask why it would be important to control this change and what would happen if they over exerted.
2. Explain: Explain that when musicians want to play their music louder, they apply more force in their movements. And when they want to play quieter, they reduce the amount of force.

They have to be careful to control these changes for several reasons.

Ask what these reasons may be (to not damage their instruments, to play well, to not damage themselves etc.)

But how do they know when to play quietly and loudly?

3. Discussion: Symbols and Instructions:  Discuss different everyday signs that we respond to.

  1. Ask the class what they believe the purpose of symbols, such as the ‘green man’, are there for (e.g. to give instructions).
  2. Suggest a couple of examples, asking the class what they should do when they see these signs e.g. a ‘green man’ at the pedestrian crossing,
  3. Ask the class to turn to the person next to them and think about another common sign that gives an instruction.

Have the pairs share their ideas with the class.

4. Recap Crescendo:Resources to bring for this activity:

  • Untuned instruments (one for each pupil)
Hand out untuned instruments to each pupil
Recap crescendo: ask for definition, then ask or a volunteers to play the opposite.
Then ask for a volunteer to draw on the board what they think the symbol would be for getting gradually quieter
(in case asked, opposite is called ‘diminuendo’)
Explain that what we really need to know is what volume a piece begins in and changes to!

5. Introduce the Symbol Exercise: Explain that Jacques Offenbach wrote these symbols into his music so the musicians would see certain instructions. We are now going to work out what each one means.
6. Dynamics in the First Verse:

Resources to bring for this activity:

  • Untuned instruments (one for each pupil)
  1. Display the rhythm sheet for verse one
  2. Hand out untuned instruments
  3. Play the beats together (without music first)
  4. Play the beats now to the music – tell the class to play ‘softly’ and take note of when the music is loud, soft, changes, or pauses.
  5. Discuss what the different symbols in red may mean. Prompt by playing the music and discussing at the same time. You can write answers next to the symbols on the board, or have the pupils come up and do so.
  6. Now play the music and tell pupils to play their instruments, counting the beats and matching the dynamics.
    Repeat until fluent
  7. Discuss body movement changes to play louder or softer with instruments.

Music only:


7. Explain the ‘forte’ and ‘piano’ symbols:
Show the piano and forte signs – explain these are Italian words for loud and soft – ask if anyone knows these words in other languages
Have class speak the poems together out loud in quiet (piano) and loud (for forte) voices



8. Group Exercise: Play the First Verse:
  1. Split the class into 3 groups.
  2. Display the rhythm sheet for verse one. Group one will be playing the first verse up until the pause, then Group two will be playing up until the crescendo, and Group three will play from there until the end.
  3. Hand out untuned instruments.
  4. Play the music from verse one as the pupils practice, allowing a 30 second pause between each repeated play.
  5. After 4 minutes, the class will perform to the music, playing their instruments and counting the beats out loud (singing the tune will gain them better marks). Each group must play one after another as the music will not be stopped in between!
  6. Repeat until fluent.

Music only:

9. Emotions through Dynamics:
  1. Ask the class if they remember what happened at the beginning of the music (the king was throwing a party).
  2. Therefore playing music loudly can indicate something exciting.
  3. Discuss what other emotions could be there when the music is loud e.g. angry


Music with narration:

Music only:

10. Team Improvisation/Composition Exercise: Dynamics:

Resources to bring for this exercise:

  • Untuned instruments
  • A ‘Sounds we will make’ sheet – cut up for each team.
  • Sound Activity Sheet: there are 3 pages to print for each team, and each team has three different pages. Make sure you have all 3 for each team (you will find the team number and page number at the top)
  • The teacher assessment sheet.
  • Writing equipment for each group.
  1. Place the class into teams – each team requires a different amount of pupils, these should have been determined during your preparation.
  2. Have the class sit in their teams as you read through the instructions together. You can also display the example sheet.
  3. Hand out the resources stated in the second point (all sheet except for page 1 of Sound Activity Sheets). Pupils are to choose their own instruments after they read their ‘Sounds we will make’ sheet.
  4. Give the pupils 5 minutes to practice their sounds.
  5. Invite the performers of each group to the front in turn. They will perform twice (see point 5 on the instruction sheet).
  6. When a team performs, hand the non-performer in that team page 1 of the Activity Sheet.
  7. You should assess pupils on the ‘Teacher Assessment Sheet’ as pupils prepare and perform.
 11. [Optional – if there is time]

Independent Exercise: Mark Dynamics in the Music

Hand each student a page of the narration of the whole story. They are to draw the symbols for forte piano and crescendo above the words whenever they hear changes in the volume of the music.
Play the whole piece of music with the narration
They are also to write the initials for instruments that are heard
Tell the pupils to put their names on their narration paper


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