Music Teaching Resources

Big Question: How does an opera composer bring the characters to life?

Key Stage 2

  • Play a short video snippet of the Opera to ignite imaginations.
  • Whole class. Discuss the idea of cultural collision past and present. When? Where in the world? What are the consequences of conflict? Can you think of any stereotypes or judgments?
  • Listen to 4 musical excerpts with different qualities. (Romantic+ beautiful; bombastic, impressive + military; comical + satirical; heartfelt and empathic.) Think of words to describe the different excerpts. Mood? Colours? Characters? Instrumentation? What instruments does Mozart use to add a Turkish flavor to his Western Classical Orchestra?
  • In small groups. Explore different instruments + sound qualities or timbres, and then create 4 short repeating riffs, each with a different feel and style. Perform and discuss creatively.

Key Stage 3

  • In small groups. Having discussed at least 4 different ways in which Mozart creates an atmosphere (above), pick just one ‘style’, and then create a short musical performance. One approach is to pick a simple song that most people know, and create different versions of it: for instance, ‘What shall we do with the drunken Sailor’. This is originally a Sea Shanty song sung by sailors. Use singing, percussion and melodic instruments.
  • Perform and discuss using positive feedback. What atmosphere was the group trying to create?

Key Stage 4

  • Listen to/watch 4 different excerpts- all with different colours and moods as discussed above whilst drawing freely on a piece of blank paper as you listen. Swap drawings with the person next to you, and describe what you see. Which drawing relates to which excerpt? Make links between the artistic techniques and musical compositional techniques.
  • Listen to excerpts of contrasting arias and discuss the different musical qualities. For instance, → Belmonte, Act 1, Hier soll ich dich den sehn- with it’s beautiful representation of romantic love → Osmin, Act 3, ‘O wie will ich Trumphieren’- with it’s striking coloratura, agility and comic undertones → Konstanze, Act 2, ‘Martern aller Arten’- with it’s dramatic extremes of high and low, physical and emotional stress
  • In groups, create your own short aria with one person singing or speak-singing and the others playing instruments. Choose from the following styles: smooth and romantic; Turkish sounding and low in pitch; emotionally stressed with extremes of high and low.