Reception l9: Background Information

The aim of lesson 3 is to learn the definition, appearance and function of a ‘Crescendo’ sign in a piece of music. Crescendo, quite simply, means ‘getting gradually louder’. ‘Crescendo’ is the Italian word for ‘growing’, in music, growing louder. If there are children in the class who speak a second language, ask them to share the translation of ‘grow’ or ‘growing’ in their language and have the class repeat it. This way the children can become aware of other cultures. In Voyage to the Moon, we have named this sign, Crescendo Croc, to introduce the concept to children. This is because the sign shares the triangular shape of a crocodile’s mouth when it is open and about to *snap*. Describing the reactions of a predatory crocodile can make this sign fun and memorable: With a crescendo, the music starts off ‘quietly’, which is like when the crocodile is swimming and as he sees his food he slowly opens his mouth wider and wider, making more and more noise, until he gets his food and finishes with a great big roar or snap! The Crescendo Croc card comes with a poem that illustrates this. For children who are familiar with the crescendo, ask them to describe the shape of the crescendo (crocodile) and to demonstrate a crescendo with an untuned instrument.

The children can create sounds with their bodies to demonstrate the effects of the crescendo, for example, quietly tapping their feet and getting louder and louder until they are stomping. This can also be replicated with an untuned instrument box. There are points in the music where the crescendo is very prominent – these are highlighted in the video and preparation for lesson 3 and should be noted by the teacher for the class. During these points in the music, the storyline also escalates e.g. “the kings mouth fell open in shock” – alert children to the comparison between these effects and ask their opinions on it. With the introduction of the third verse of music, the children will learn a new part of the story. Ask the children questions about the different players they hear about: why is the orchestra excited, why do they think the King helps the prince get to the moon, is he a nice man? You can also ask the children to share a story of when someone helped them to achieve something they wanted, or when they received a present they really wanted. While listening to the music, there are exercises that will test the children’s concentration and coordination. The activity sheets at the end allow the children to be creative and perform other exercises e.g. writing, spelling words with phonics, dot-to-dot etc.