Background Information

The aim of lesson 9 is to learn about the ‘P’ or Piano sign (pronounced p-yar-no) and it’s significance in the music. In music, Piano is the opposite of Forte and so this is a great opportunity to teach children about the concept of opposites. In the music, Piano means to play quietly/softly – Piano means ‘soft’ in Italian. If there are children in the class who speak a second language, encourage them to share the word for soft/quiet with the class – have the class repeat the word together. In Voyage to the Moon, the sign is introduced to the children as Penelope Piano, a quiet and timid character who is Frederick Forte’s best friend. Instead of telling the children outright what the sign is, the lesson begins with a quick exercise where you can probe the children into figuring out the meaning of the ‘P’ – opposite of loud, is quiet. You can also encourage them to point out other opposites including Penelope is a girl, Frederick is a boy, ‘F’ is tall, ‘P’ is short etc. Ask the children to point out other opposites. While you introduce ‘P’, have the children demonstrate the definition by playing an untuned instrument softly, or performing a quiet action with their hands and voices. Later on in the lesson you can ask them to do this for both ‘P’ and ‘F’ in turn and test the children on their listening and concentration skills.

The activities in this lesson are quite similar to those from the Forte lesson. They give the opportunity for children to become imaginative, speak and build on confidence. They are encouraged to express their opinions of the way quiet music makes them feel and what they believe is the mood of the music in certain places e.g. happy, sad, dreamy, thoughtful etc. The activity sheet in this lesson has children working together in pairs. This is a great opportunity for the teacher to pair up a quiet pupil with a loud pupil as each child has their own role and must fulfil them equally. After they have completed the sheet, the teams are encouraged to come up to the front of class and describe one picture on their sheet and why they believe it is either quiet or loud, ‘P’ or ‘F’ – this allows the children a chance to build on their confidence and speaking skills and demonstrate their understanding of the lesson.