Elementary Lesson Plan
Objective: Students will learn and apply various techniques of melodic variation.
Sheet music for ³Marianne²
Music Ace with ³Hot Cross Buns² pre-loaded
Worksheets for ³Surprise Symphony² showing variation techniques
Apples of different type, or pictures of the same
C Major scale
Understanding of whole notes, half notes, quarter notes and eighth notes
Opening files and entering notes using Music Ace
1. Review ³Marianne². Compare lines 1 & 3 and 2 & 4. Q: How are they similar? How are they different? (The half notes in measures one and two of line 1 have been subdivided into quarter notes on line 3. The last notes on lines 2 and 4 are different.)
2. Explain that lines 3 and 4 are variations of lines 1 and 2. Use two different varieties of apples. They are similar, both being apples, but have different colors and flavors. They are different varieties of apple. Explain that in music you can keep some elements the same while changing others. The results are called variations. Q: Why would a composer do this? (To keep the music interesting and not boring, to have fun with sounds).
3. Use the opening theme from Haydn¹s ³Surprise Symphony² to demonstrate four methods of creating a variation: (1) use repeated notes, (2) add a note one tone higher in the scale, (3) add a note one tone lower in the scale, (4) combine the other three. Q: What scale is used in this piece? ( C Major) What note is not in the scale? (F#. Explain that this is a lower neighbor to a scale note).
4. Have students open Music Ace and open the file containing Hot Cross Buns. They are to create a variation using any of the four methods described. They will follow this procedure:
a.) Subdivide any note into its next shortest rhythmic value. Whole notes become half notes, half notes become quarter notes.
b.) Keep the first of the two subdivided notes the same as the original note. For the second note either repeat the first note or use the next higher or lower note from the scale.
c.) For bonus points students can subdivide the quarter notes into eighth note for further variation, or create their own variation model.
Students are advised to listen to their results and decide if it sounds good.
5. Students can play their variation for the class. The class can make positive and constructive comments. Students will respond to the following questions:
What is it called when a composer changes some element of a composition while keeping others the same?
What four methods of variation did we learn?
Why does a composer create variations?
Follow-up: Listen to Mozart¹s variations on ³Happy Birthday². Discuss the methods he used.