Music Listening Package

Music Listening Package

Prepare a listening package for a stage of your choice. This should include learning intentions, audio excerpts (or links to these) activities, assessment procedures and differentiation material.

I have created this listening package for the upper stage. A lot of the content would be suitable for from primary four and up, however the introduction of new terminology makes it a bit more challenging. I think it is important that children are given this new vocabulary in primary school as it better prepares them for the listening and theory in secondary school.

Experiences and Outcomes

I have listened to a range of music and can respond by discussing my thoughts and feelings. I can give and accept constructive comment on my own and others’ work. EXA 2-19a.

I have listened to a range of music and can identify features and concepts. I can give constructive comments on my own and others’ work, including the work of professionals. EXA 3-19a.

Learning Intentions

-I will be familiar with different genres of music and can give reason for my preference.

-I will be able to know the difference between a major and minor key.

-I will be able to list a variety of instruments that can be found in an orchestra.

-I will be familiar with dynamics including crescendo, diminuendo, forte and pianissimo.

-I will be able to describe the tempo of a piece of music.

-I will be able to explain how a piece of music makes me feel, and why I like/dislike it.

This listening package can be taught over several lessons, depending on how fast the learners pick up on the concepts. The idea of music listening, and the teaching of the theory of music to some children can seem very dull and boring, particularly for the children already disinterested in music. It’s important that these lessons are very interactive. To get them engaged from the very beginning, push all the tables and chairs out of the way and get all the children to lie down and close their eyes.

Listening and appraising

Start by playing a few very different pieces of music. The following are just examples.


Classical Piano (comptine d’unautre éte)


Pop– Taylor Swift (shake if off)


Musical Theatre– MATILDA the musical (revolting children)


Beat boxing


Orchestra -Auckland Symphony Orchestra (pirates of the Caribbean

After playing a couple of different pieces, have the name of the piece and the genre up somewhere for them to see. Go over each one again and identify which is which so that the children know what they listened to. Have the children sit round in a circle, and have a ball you can roll to one another. Have the children take it in turns to pass the ball around and say which they preferred and why. Also ask them what music do they like to listen to, if they have any favourite singers/bands and why. Establish among the children that everyone has different tastes and can prefer different genres.

Then talk about how differentpieces of music can make us feel different ways. Talk about the emotions certain types of music can evoke. Do certain songs make them happy, relaxed, nervous, sad?


Instruments in the orchestra

Ask the children what they already know about instruments and have them list the ones that they know to assess their current knowledge. Find out prior to this lesson whether any of the children in your classplay or are learning an instrument and see if they can bring them in. Encourage them to play them also. Some children may be part of an orchestra outside of school and if so ask them what they like about being a member of one. Go through the main instruments and show the children short video clips of them being played. The following links are a couple of examples.


Double bass




Percussion (drums)

After playing each one ask the children how to describe the way the instrument sounds. Explain to the learners the role of each instrument and they part they play within the orchestra. They all play different parts/notes etc but when they all come together it makes beautiful music. The violins/flutes/ trumpets mostly having the melody, the cello, bass and horns playing the accompaniment almost.

Learning concepts

Get all the children sat down together on the carpet. Play audio clips, along with showing them a visual aid to help them learn and become familiar with the concepts. Emphasise that they often come in pairs/like opposites.

Major- sounds happy

Minor-sounds sad

Fortissimo- LOUD

Pianissimo- quiet


Crescendo- getting louder

Diminuendo- GETTing quieter


Ascending scale- getting higher in pitch

Descending scale- getting lower in pitch


Staccato- short notes (sta. ca. to.)

Legato- smooth notes (legato)


Adagio- slow (say slowly)

Allegro- fast (say fast)



When the children seem familiar with all of these concepts and are able to identify what they are without much assistance, they are ready to move on to this activity. This should hopefully reinforce what they have learnt, in a fun and active way.

This activity can be done indoors or outdoors. Get the children to make up an action/sound. Examples to give the children as ideas could include:

  • staccato being short hops on one leg while saying sta. ca. to.
  • Legato could be smooth movements while saying it smoothly
  • ascending scale could be starting in a little ball on the ground and as they   rise up to standing, they sing la la la la getting higher in pitch.


When all the children are familiar with all the different concept actions, they’re going to become a ‘concept orchestra’. The teacher will play the different excerpts and the concept in the excerpt that comes up, the children have to do their movement. Practice this until they have good understanding and response isn’t hesitant.



In terms of differentiated assessment, I have come up with a quiz which the whole class will take at the end of the music listening package. I have made two example worksheets, to show how although it’s assessing the learners on the same content, the difference in terminology is what sets them apart. These are just examples, which could easily be made more difficult/easier so that they are appropriate for the learners within the class. These worksheets go alongside the following excerpts of music:

question 1:

question 2:

question 3:

question 4: 

question 6:



Create an Advert

MUSIC AND THE MEDIA: Create an Advert (2 hours)

This tutor directed task leads on from the Music and Media workshop. In this task, you are asked to create an advert (for television or radio). The focus of this should be the musical persuasion.

Evidence: Your completed advert should be recorded and submitted in electronic form.

The focus of this tutor directed task was to create a television or radio advert using musical persuasion. We decided to do a radio advert as we thought the music element would have to be even more prominent, due to there being no visual. We used a digital piano to create the ‘jaws’ music. This was replicate the feeling those get when desperate for a drink of coke. As it stops suddenly, we opened a can of coke (and got through quite a few as it took quite a few takes to get it perfect). We then used voice to exhale and speak the very simple spoken word part. I think with these three basic elements, it made the radio advert very effective.


Illustrate A Dance Step

This is a small poster I made, consisting of some drawings of dance moves that vary in difficulty. It’s inevitable that some children will come into the classroom with experience in dance and gymnastics and it is important to encourage and nurture these talents by providing lessons that are differentiated for the needs of all the learners.

Book Illustration

Illustrations in books play a major role in the telling of the story for many children. As I child myself, it was definitely an important factor in whether or not I was going to read the book. As I grew up, I realised illustrations didn’t always determine whether the story was going to be good or not, but as a younger, less confident reader having the right illustrations made reading more enjoyable.

I loved all Jacqueline Wilson’s books and I think it was partly due to Nick Sharratt’s very distinctive, neat and detailed illustrations on the cover and throughout the books. His style was very aesthetically pleasing and inspired me to draw in a similar style growing up. I feel they work really well in Jacqueline Wilson’s books as they fit well with the stories.These books are aimed for children between the ages of 7 and 12 I would say. Sharratt’s illustrations also appear in various other children’s books, mostly younger children’s book, like ‘Eat Your Peas’. The colours he uses are very vibrant, bringing the story to life.

As a young child I loved being read Roald Dahl books, with my favourites being Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Witches. However when reading them myself I became disinterested as I hated the illustrations. Looking at them now, I can appreciate Quentin Blakes quick rough sketches throughout the stories, but as a young child I remember really disliking them and it made me reluctant to read his books. He uses rough, light quick lines to draw his characters and then either leaves them as line drawings or fills them in with a wash of water colour.

When I was younger, I was lucky enough to live very close to a library that always had lots of exciting things going on for children. There would often be authors come in to talk about books that they’d written, to inspire and encourage young readers to read them. One that has always stayed in my mind was when Scottish children’s author Aileen Paterson visited the library, promoting her ‘Maisie’ books. They are aimed for young children and from what I can remember, the stories were very good. They seemed relevant to the local children in particular as they are set in areas of Edinburgh and Fife.

The reason I have always remembered this author and her books is because of the illustrations. During her library visit, as well as reading us part of her new story and telling us why she wrote her books, Aileen Paterson also demonstrated how she draws Maisie. She had an easel with a big sheet of paper on it and she drew the cat effortlessly in thick black marker pen. She later gave it away to a child who asked her a good question (and although I can’t remember what my question was, to this day i’m convinced I deserved it more). I remember being fascinated at the fact she could draw this cat over and over again and get it identical every time.

I do think that illustrations in children’s books are such an important factor in enriching the story for children, particularly less confident readers or children reluctant to read. I think in schools when children are writing creatively, it is just as important to help them develop their drawings and illustrations.


Expressive Arts TDT- Gallery Visit

I visited the City Art Centre in Edinburgh the other day, with this particular TDT in mind. I enjoyed looking at the exhibition which displayed a range of art and artefacts from the 20th Century. There was a focus on the war and the lifestyle from around that time. As we went through the exhibition it became more current, with various installations focusing on more current political issues. I really liked this one in particular. Unfortunately the photo I took isn’t great as it doesn’t show all of the posters that were part of the display.

I think that this piece of work would be a great starting point for looking at why people may protest and what their reasons for it may be, and could tie in with learning about rules, rights and responsibilities. It could also start discussions on topics such as racism, sexuality, equality etc.  A simple photograph like this can stimulate a whole variety of ideas and thoughts, and can engage the children from the start. Looking at it from an interdisciplinary perspective, these were my following thoughts of a few lessons derived from this one photograph.

Social Studies: Could look at the Suffragettes and Suffragists and the lengths they went to for women to get the vote.

Literacy: Children could look at old newspaper articles published after big political movements and create their own, either set at that time or in the future. Get them thinking about what changes they want to be made in the future and what they think people will be protesting about in years to come.

Art: Learners could think of an issue they feel strongly about and make their own protest banner/poster. Emphasise the importance of making it bold and eye catching, with a direct message and appropriate illustrations. Look at a variety of different protest banners, and what the font is like etc. Children can bring in bits of cardboard to make their banners, and can use paint, markers, glitter etc.

There are many other avenues to explore from just this picture, these are just a few examples I have come up with. I think by showing the children this would be a great way to introduce these lessons.



Expressive Arts TDT- DRAMA

DRAMA FROM EXISITING STORIES: Alternate endings (2 hours)

Choose a well-known story. Consider the ‘big themes’ of the story and explore possible alternate endings. Decide on the most powerful new ending and film your new story. This task is best suited to group work.

Evidence: Consider how to record the planning stages to accompany your final film. Reflect on the challenges of this kind of assessment evidence. Your final film should be submitted electronically.

I decided to look at Beauty and the Beast as the fairytale to create an alternate ending for. It was one of my favourites as a child and earlier this year I went to see the new version at the cinema. I felt inspired to create a more realistic ending, with Belle deciding that when the beast turns back into his human self, that he wasn’t as attractive as she thought he’d be and that she preferred the Candlestick in his human form.

When planning how I would film my alternate ending I knew i’d need two other characters, so asked my two friends to help me. A challenge we faced during filming was that we struggled to not laugh. To make the most of our time, we then went on to film each others alternate endings, with us all being the extra characters within the pieces. This worked well and allowed our scenes to be more interesting and complex, with a couple of supporting characters.

Expressive Arts TDT- music 1

MUSIC AND THE MEDIA: Create a Silent Movie.

As a group, we chose ‘horror’ as the genre for our short film.  We wanted to create our own music as our soundtrack, so selected a few instruments to help. Although we wanted the music to be heavily featured within the short film to create dramatic effect, we decided to keep it very simple, only using tuned percussion and a wooden guiro. Initially when we were discussing concepts and themes for our video, we had the idea of incorporating the use of leitmotifs to distinguish different characters within the film. However, on reflection was going to be too complex and so decided to just use a repeated few bars played on the tuned percussion, each time a character would enter the lift. I think this proved very effective in our piece, creating an atmosphere and building anticipation as the audience would begin to recognise the bars played and ultimately know and be able to predict what would happen to the next character.

When coming up with the short tune on the tuned percussion, we played a simple collection of notes in a minor key. which was effective in creating quite a scary atmosphere in attempt to make the audience uncomfortable and perhaps a bit scared.