Background Information

Lesson 10 has the children explore the fourth instrument of the Voyage to the Moon orchestra – the Oboe. The aim is to teach how to recognise an oboe by sound and appearance and to demonstrate this by exploring its place in the orchestra. If there are children who are already familiar with the Oboe, ask them what features they like and don’t like about it; how it sounds. As it is played by blowing through a mouthpiece, ask how it differs and is similar to the French Horn which was learned in lesson 6. The Oboe’s character, Olive the Oboe, is presented with a poem describing its basic features. You can also describe Olive as Freddy the French Horn’s cousin – this is because they both make sounds by using a mouthpiece, but they also look very different: Freddy is big and round and Olive is thin and lean and there are fun activities that have the children describe the shapes of each instrument and help them relate them to other objects. The Oboe is a part of the ‘Woodwind’ family – this is easy to remember as the oboe is made from wood (with buttons of metal) and you create sound by blowing through it, aka wind. Here you can raise issues about germs concerning the reed – when blowing through a reed, lips need to be wet and lips are made wet using saliva so children should not share reeds.

The video for Lesson 10 demonstrates how to hold the cut out Oboe – to play it requires use of all ten fingers. Have the children count these out and wiggle each finger – you can test the children’s counting skills by asking them to hold up different numbers of fingers.  The Oboe has two solo’s – it’s main solo is the third/final chorus of the story, and is also heard just before this chorus at the end of the third verse. This brings you to the second part of the class, which focuses on the Song Notes – these are the notes that make up the tune of the main chorus, which both the French Horn and Oboe play. The notes from the music are B E E F# G# E – however, for first time music learners we have changed the key to use simpler notes and so have used D G G A B G. The notes can be substituted for the words “Can You See, Up In Space”. This is also shown in the video for lesson 10, where you can see the notes being played on chime bars, on the piano and also being sung. There is a practical part of the lesson using the song notes and you can test children on their attention, listening and understanding skills by having them replicate various activities. It also teaches them order and the basics of creating a tune and song. If chime bars are available, the children can use the notes of the chorus to create different rhythms and tunes.