Topic: Listening and Understanding Music ks1 ludwig van beethoven



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TOPIC: Listening and Understanding Music KS1

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN

RESOURCES: dvd copy of Disney's Fantasia; Beethoven/Pastoral sheet; pictures of orchestral instruments

LESSON ONE

Watch the Pastoral Symphony excerpt, and explain that this very old film uses music that is even older. The artists listened to the story in the music and created their story to fit it.

Having watched the excerpt, ask the children what they noticed about how the music and the cartoon went together. Think about the peaceful music for the peaceful scenes; the angry music for the storm; the way the winged horses alight in time to the music etc.

Watch a second time, pausing as appropriate to highlight the interaction of music and cartoon. Start to spot instruments.

LESSON TWO

Listen to the Fantasia version of the Pastoral without the cartoon. Invite the children to recognise instruments. Show them pictures of the instruments as they name them, discussing how they are played, how their sounds differ from each other, and why they suit the different aspects of the music. Discuss the differing roles within an orchestra and look at the layout of the orchestra. Invite the children to draw a picture of their favourite instrument and explain why it is their favourite.

LESSON THREE

Watch the Fantasia excerpt again and remind the children that this story is the artists' idea of the musical story. Explain that the artists used mythological characters because these were very popular in paintings at the time the music was composed (you could show them some). Invite the children to listen to the music and write their own story, or create their own picture either using the mythological characters or their own ideas.

LESSON FOUR

Explain that the class is going to listen to the story of the man who composed the Pastoral Symphony, and then write about him and his famous piece of music. Provide the children with paper to make notes should they wish, and the sheets to write up their findings when they are ready.

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN

Ludwig van Beethoven was born on December 16, 1770 in Bonn, a city in Germany. It was clear while he was still very young that Beethoven was a musical genius. By the time he was twelve, he was earning a living by playing the organ and composing. He was eventually known as the greatest pianist of his time.

To learn more about music, Beethoven moved to Austria, where he took lessons from the famous composer Haydn. However, before long he was composing work that was greater than anything his teacher had written. Beethoven wrote allsorts of music for allsorts of instruments, but it was his symphonies - complicated pieces for large orchestras, that became most famous. Beethoven changed music forever with his Third Symphony, which was completely different from anything that had been composed before.

Beethoven wasn't an easy man. He was a perfectionist and very wrapped up in his work. The worst thing imaginable started to happen in 1796, when Beethoven began to go deaf. This was torture for a man for whom music was so important. He eventually became completely deaf. To help him compose, Beethoven attached a rod to his piano that he could bite. He could then feel the vibration of the music, even if he couldn’t hear it. 

People say that Beethoven was very bad tempered. Can you think why that might be?
He would stop performing at his piano if the audience was talking too much or not giving him their full attention. He once threw a plate of food at a waiter's head because he wasn't happy with the service. Beethoven never married - partly because he had such a very bad temper.

Here are some fun facts about Beethoven:


One of Beethoven's favourite foods was macaroni cheese. He also loved strong coffee - exactly 60 coffee beans to one cup.

He was once arrested because his hair and clothes were so messy that he looked like a tramp and the city officers had no idea who he was. 


Beethoven loved nature and often went walking in the countryside near Vienna.

The Pastoral Symphony

The Pastoral Symphony that we have been listening to was the sixth composed by Beethoven and was written in 1808, when he had already lost some of his hearing. It was one of the new style of compositions that Beethoven had invented. It paints a picture of the countryside, including a flowing stream, peasants dancing, a violent thunderstorm and shepherds celebrating the end of the storm. It was used by Walt Disney in the film Fantasia. You hear the strings play an important role throughout the Symphony. Beethoven also used flutes, oboesclarinets, bassoons, horns, trumpets, trombones and timpani.



Ludwig van Beethoven
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The Pastoral Symphony


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