Key Stage 3

Lesson one

Lesson one

Share the Glyndebourne website for Agreed. Then ask the students to read the synopsis and identify some of the key themes.

Teacher notes:

  • Casting out - outcasts, bible stories (casting out demons), exile, division.
  • Forbidden boundary - prohibited barrier, border and frontier. Ask the students to name as many boundaries as possible: physical, emotional/psychological and geographical.
  • Unrest spirals – disturbance, agitation, name any public demonstrations. How might they escalate?
  • Conscience – sense of right and wrong, moral compass.

A key theme to be explored in these teacher resources is conflict.

Starter Activity

  • Divide the children into pairs and ask them to list examples of music that might explore ‘conflict’ e.g. Military marches, fanfares.

Q: What are the characteristics of such music?
A: A strong beat perhaps, or loud instruments to be heard across a battlefield.

Main Activity

Play the students the following three extracts and explain that each is is in some way related to conflict. Ask them to guess where in a conflict this music would come (e.g. during battle; after the loss of a soldier) and write a brief list of the musical characteristics that make it appropriate.

Listen again to each extract and this time write a short piece of creative writing (about 60 words) that they imagine could be the inspiration for the piece.  

Ride  of the Valkyries, Wagner (build up to battle)

Dido’s Lament, Purcell (after loss)

Dam Busters March, Eric Coates (victory in battle)

Lesson two

Lesson two

Starter Activity

Divide the class into groups and ask them to note down in bullet point what they understand by the term 'folk music'.

Q: Where did it come from, what is its purpose, who sings/plays it?

A: It was a means of keeping entertained, feeling better after troubles and would have been sung and played by almost all working people.

Main Activity

Listen to Molly Malone (with lyrics) and ask the students to start singing along when they are familiar with the song. 

Explain that before recordings were available this is how people learnt songs and united during times of hardship. They were taught aurally and passed down through friends and family.

Ask what is important musically about these songs e.g. simple, easy melodies, catchy words etc.

  • Divide the students into groups and ask them to write their own simple folk songs.
  • They should include several lines of catchy text and a simple memorable tune.
  • Challenge each group to teach their songs to the class.


Lesson three

Lesson three

Starter Activity

Play Debussy’s La Mer when the students are entering the classroom and explain that it is a song about the sea.

Ask the students to sit in groups and come up with ideas of the types of music that may be composed about water or the sea, e.g. sea shanties, pieces about battle or perhaps about a calm oasis. Discuss as a class.

Main Activity

Play the first minute of La Mer again and then play Deep River by Tippett.

Then play the Pirates of the Caribbean theme tune.

  • Discuss how La Mer expresses the awe we feel about the sea while Deep River expresses the importance of water to people, and Pirates of the Caribbean is about battle at sea.
  • Revise the appropriate terminology about the elements of music.
  • Ask each student to write a short descriptive analysis of each piece and if it is effective at representing water and the sea. Is this what the composer intended?


Homework one

Ask the children to write a short piece (200 words) researching a symphony written by composers that have been inspired by war or conflict, including information on the composer and the conflict in question.


Homework two

Research the names of three famous folk singers and make a list of three of their most famous songs. Ask the children to listen to each song and decide which is their favourite, ready to present to the class in the following lesson.


Homework three

Ask the children to research Debussy and La Mer. Write a short piece about Debussy’s life and the particular details of his composition of La Mer.