Overview: Teaches reading and opera through composition.
I am so excited to share this lesson plan with you this week! This lesson gets taught every year to our 2nd graders, either in the music room or in the classroom (or sometimes, both!) and it is a GREAT way to introduce opera to kids! Students begin with a composer study of Mozart, learn about opera, read the storyline, and even develop their own opera scenes. This all requires skills in reading comprehension, plot development, fluency and activates prior knowledge. Plus, students are studying a classical composer, musical genre, form and melodic patterns. You really can’t get more arts integration than this.
In addition to this fantastic content in this lesson, I’m also introducing my new lesson plan format! I hope you like it – it’s more visually appealing to me and saves on space. Please let me know what you think!
Step 1: Engage students by acting as though you are the great composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Tell them that you have come to visit to tell them about your amazing life. Provide them with the important details of Mozart’s life and music through this activity (much can be found online about this).
Step 2: Have students explore Mozart’s music and opera online through the website of the Metropolitan Opera (Met for Kids). Students can watch videos and gain an understanding of what opera is and how it is used to tell elaborate stories.
Step 3: Read “The Magic Flute” by Kyra Teis. Have students look at the illustrations and create still pictures of the scene with their bodies in groups (this is called Tableau). You can have them create scenes about what they think is happening and then read the pages, or you can have them create scenes for how the characters might feel based on what you’ve read.
Step 4: Listen to the “Mozart’s Magical Fantasy”, which tells a similar story based on the opera with the music of the opera in english. Have the students compare the two stories.
Step 5: Watch portions “The Magic Flute” opera on DVD to see how it can be brought to life. Create a web to illustrate how the story changes between the book, the CD and the opera itself.
Step 6: Listen to the Papageno/Papagena duet and have students form two lines. See if they can identify the d-r-m patterns. Then, have the girls sing the first pattern and the boys echo back. Listen to make sure that students are accurately singing on pitch and in rhythm.
Susan Riley is the founder and President of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.