Lesson Content


There are 16 exercises to complete during Lesson 1.

  • 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: Can Music Tell a Story?: After posing the question on the board to the class and hearing their answers, ask the class if they believe music WITHOUT lyrics can tell a story: ANSWER only if the composer intends it to when he writes it   Slide01
2. Discussion: Planning a Piece of Writing:

1.What does an author think about when he is writing a book? What are all the different elements he may put in a story

2.Write answers in column 1/on board

3.Ask the class if they think a composer of music thinks differently or the same when wanting to tell a story through his music

3. Explain:  Explain that a composer and an author have the same intentions when planning a story that their work will tell   Slide03
4. Books versus Music:

1.Explain that the differences emerge as they move from the planning phase to the writing phase of their work

2.Ask if anyone can guess the musical equivalents to the words on the board – write answers on the board

3.ANSWERS: chapters = verses, words to read = notation to play, speak = play instruments

5. Aims of the Class:

Display the aims of the lesson and ask for a volunteer to read from the board 

6. Team Composing Activity:

Resources to bring for this activity:

  1. Untuned instruments (drums, bells, etc.)
  2. Writing equipment
  3. A printed copy of the task sheet for each group
  4. A printed copy of the task form for each group
  5. A printed copy of the example table for each group (relates to ‘task 2’)
  6. A printed copy of the evaluation sheet (1 for each group) for teacher to fill in:


Explain: Now we are going to do a team activity to discover how instruments can be used to tell a story.

1.Display the team activity sheet to the class (groups will have to select a theme or narrative or genre list from a list and create 5 sentences depicting a scene with instruments)

2.Once separated, hand each team a ‘story scene’ page – this will be one to fill in e.g. theme is ‘world war 1’ we are hiding quietly in the trenches

3.If class was not separated prior to the lesson, fill in the names for each group on the evaluation sheet as you separate them

4.Direct the groups to sit in separate areas around the classroom, preferably as far away from the other groups as possible

5.Go around the class to check the progress

6.Have each group perform to the class one-by-one

7.Evaluation Sheets: Fill in evaluation sheets as each group performs. Monitor the attentiveness of other students

8.After the performance, have the class sit back in original places

9. Collect work & keep for next lesson



7. Introduce the Class Exercise: Music Comprehension:

Explain that we are going to listen to a fun piece of music that was written to tell a story. Our job is to figure out the storyline that is being told. But there are no words so we have to instead listen to the mood of the music that the instruments are creating

Explain the process of the class exercise e.g. first we will, next we will etc.

8. Class Exercise Part 1: Read the Story Options:

1. Introduce the story options

2. Select students to read the options on the board out loud

9. Class Exercise Part 2: Discuss the Text


1. Synonyms: Go round the class and ask each pupil, in turn to share what comes to mind when they think of the words on the board. The mood or tone of the story, the themes it may encompass

2.Write on Board: As the class says their opinions, write these on the board under the corresponding word – you can have 3 pupils stand at the board writing these to increase focus and enjoyment

3.Understanding Text: Ask questions about what the class think the mood, tone or atmosphere in the story options may be in relation to the music.



10. Class Exercise Part 3: Listen to the Music:

1.Remind class that as they listen to the music, they must decide if the mood/tone of the music sounds grand, haunted or chaotic

2.Play the music

3.Discuss thoughts about which story the class thinks the composer is telling – you can always play the clip again for prompting



11. Introduce the Music: 1.Display the answer page from the exercise

2.Play the music

3.Explain that this is the beginning of a piece of music written over 200 years ago by a man named Jacques Offenbach


12. Introduce Voyage to the Moon: Explain that Voyage to the Moon is the name of the piece of music Offenbach wrote. Introduce Prince Caprice as the main character.

Tell the class facts about Prince Caprice (see background information section for this lesson)  

Discuss the future of a prince

Ask: If Prince Caprice’s story was written over 200 years ago, what would be the issue with his dream? (No rockets)


Explain that the story begins with Prince Caprice returning home from travelling so he can ask his father for permission to voyage to the moon. He has no idea what his father has set up inside the palace.

13. Independent Exercise: What Can You Hear?:

Resources to bring for this activity:

  1. Writing equipment
  2. A printed copy of the observation sheet for each pupil

1.Hand out an observation sheet and pen to each child

2.Explain:  We will now listen to the music and hear narration telling us the story that the music is describing . As we listen we need to pay attention to both the story and the mood of the music and see if they are similar

3.This will be played twice – the first time, listen and read, only.
For the second time, fill in your observation sheet, circling what you hear

4.Play the music and story, displaying the relevant story pages to the class

5.Collect the completed observation sheets


Slide15 Slide16 Slide17 Slide18

14. Discussion: Composer Inspiration:

1. Explain that composers and authors often draw inspiration from their lives or interests.

2. Offenbach was not a prince, but he and Prince Caprice had a lot of things in common.

Discuss ideas about how Prince Caprice shares characteristics of Offenbach(see background information section for this lesson)

 15. Discussion: What Inspires You?:  A brief discussion where pupils volunteer personal thoughts about the concepts on the board   Slide22
16. Independent Composing Exercise

Resources to bring for this activity:

  1. A printed copy of composition worksheet for each pupil
  2. Writing equipment
  3. Lined paper for pupils to write drafts and ideas on

1. Hand each pupil the “Composition Worksheet 1”   + lined paper

2. Explain that this is the first step to becoming a composer – deciding what story your music is going to tell!

3. Go through the different elements with the class using the Voyage to the Moon version on the board.

4. Play the Voyage to the Moon music or other classical music as the pupils begin their work

5. Collect in work (will need to bring work for future lessons)



Downloadable and Printable lesson content