Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Star Wars Lesson Plan Fourth Grade

This lesson focuses on soundtrack music, particularly the music of John Williams. Students will learn about how a soundtrack is a musical story, and how it influences the movie itself. They will identify the different elements that go into the music of the soundtrack, like instrument choice, dynamics, tempo, etc. Students will then listen to the Main Title from Star Wars, focusing on the form of the Main Theme (ABA) Students will be given a listening map to help them follow along with the piece, and will recognize the musical and visual cues from the lesson. A fill in the blank worksheet will be given at the end of the lesson as an assessment of how well the students were able to interpret the information

Standards addressed
6. Listening to, analyzing and describing music
8. Understand the relationship between music and other art forms
9. Understanding music in relation to culture.
I Can
* Follow a Listening Map
* Identify A--B--A Form
* Define a soundtrack 


1. Play Star Wars while they walk in. 

2. When the piece ends, remind them about our composer of the month, and ask what a soundtrack is (a musical story that goes along with a movie) What are some musical ingredients that go into a soundtrack? what kind of music helps to tell the story?

3. What is Star Wars about?
What are some ways the music helps to tell the story of Star Wars? 

4. Please take a blue paper and a colored pencil form the center of the table. This is a listening map, which works like a roadmap for this piece. I'm going to play though the piece, and I would like you to follow along on your map using a pencil, or you can follow my mouse across the overhead 

5. Theme: John Williams uses a specific theme that is recognizable to most listeners as the main theme to the movie. How many times do you see the main theme on your map? The main theme is in A-B-A form. Its kind of like a sandwich, with the A part being the bread and the B part being the peanut butter
* Table 1, you will be part A. Every time you hear your part, stand up and put your hands in the air. Your part sounds like this (play) You are the bread. Everyone else, listen for specific instruments that you hear 0:09---0:26

*Table 2, you will be part B. Every time you hear your part, stand up and put your hands up. (play part) You are the peanut butter. Everyone else, listen for instruments that you hear. 0:27---0:45

What's next? (A) Alright table one go for it!  0:50--1:16

Now this is a different part, the mysterious music. Everyone move your hands in a mysterious way. 1:18---1:34

At this part, you've got some scribbles. That means the strings go crazy, so take your mysterious hands and shake them. 1:35-----1:43

*Now we have some new music! This is the fight music. Table 3, put your arms out like this ________, like planes in a fighter scene, and have a seat when your part stops. 1:45---2:13

Has anyone noticed that there are certain symbols for each part? Part A, what is your symbol, or shape? Part B? Fight music?

Look at your maps, there's a new symbol. Every time you hear the music that goes with this symbol, lets smile because it hopeful. Its quick though, here comes the main theme, go table 1!

What part is this? look at the map, other than listening, how else do you know its the mysterious music (dotted line) 3:12---3:20

*Now Table 4 you've been so patient, you will have Luke and Leia's theme. We already know that Luke and Leia are characters from the movie, can you show us some slow dancing in your spot that reflects the music? 3:21---4:00

Who can tell me what the word finale means? The finale has the word final in it, and is the very last part of the whole piece. What parts show up in the finale? (Part A, Part B, Fight) And then we have this big section at the end with three things to listen for. Table 4, when you hear the strings after the fight ends, I'd like you to stand up. Table 1&2, stand when you hear the drumroll, and Table 3, stand when you hear the cymbal crash. 4:01-end

6. Listen all the way through with all parts.

7. Now that we have an idea of the way the song moves through the map, I'm going to pass out a worksheet. It looks just like your map, except there are spots left blank. There is a word bank in  middle, but you will use each word only once. There are also empty boxes where the Main Theme appears for the first time. Those 3 boxes are for you to fill in with instruments you hear during the each part of the theme. Follow along with the music as you fill out your map.  

Students will be able to:

Describe a soundtrack and how it contributes to the plot of a movie 

Recognize and Identify ABA Form

Identify different parts of the Main Title aurally and visually

Recognize transitions between sections

Define and identify the finale

Complete a worksheet that is an exact copy of the Listening Map Handout and overhead projection, only the words have been eliminated. Every word they will need is located in the word bank, with no doubles. Students will have ten minutes at the end of class to complete the worksheet, and will correct it the next time we meet. 

Listening Map Worksheet (blue) with words

Blank Listening Map with Word Bank

Colored Pencils

Tables and Chairs

Adobe Star Wars Overhead Map

Main Title Theme from Star Wars by John Williams (Spotify or Itunes)