Cendrillon Teaching Guide

Music Key Stage 3

Lesson plan

Perceptions of reality

  • Initiate class discussion on the relevance of fairy tales today – morals, wishes for magical solutions to everyday problems etc. What is the need for magic in fairy tales?
  • Play extracts from the opera: ‘Ah! Douce enfant’ (fairy Godmother’s first aria) and ‘Ah! Fugities chimeres’ (magic forest music). Ask pupils to take notes, using appropriate musical terms, on how magic is represented in the opera (high/fast fairy Godmother; distant/textless fairies etc)


Main activity

Send pupils into groups to discuss how music today, of any genre, can be used to create a certain impression/reality of a world.  Encourage broad thinking: from upbeat dance music to create a world of fun, to aggressive rhythms and text in rap to create a world of angst. Use as the basis of group compositions.


Ask pupils to research in detail and write a paragraph on the history of the Cinderella story, including information from the Grimm’s fairy tale story version. They should then pick another of the Grimm’s fairy tales and choose a piece of music that could accompany the story well. In a later lesson, send pupils into groups, ask them to select a story from their choices, write descriptions of the characters and use all the available instruments to write a short composition based on the narrative.

Image creditsCinderella (Cendrillon), Tour 2018, photos by Richard Hubert Smith

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