Read the information on the first page: https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/ten-pieces/classical-music-george-gershwin-rhapsody-in-blue/zkcy6v4 - Don’t show the skyline video yet!
Explain that Gershwin was American and writing music at the start of the 20th century during a time when jazz was becoming popular. His piece, ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ is said to sound like his home town of New York City.
Watch, or listen to the very famous opening (just the clarinet slide, for about 20 seconds). Tell your child that this is describing something in the city, something we still hear a lot in cities today. Can they guess what it is? Have a discussion and perhaps collate some of their ideas on the board. Tell them that all of their suggestions are correct because it is simply what they think of when they hear the music, however Gershwin himself thought the clarinet sounded like a wail and it is similar to today’s police sirens.
Pianist Lauren Zhang joins the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra to perform Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.
Listen or watch the full orchestra performance. As you do so ask the children to imagine they are in a bustling city. You might want to show them images of the skyscrapers of Manhattan or the London skyline before you start (see separate PP). Their task is to draw what they hear – what is the music describing? Encourage them to use their imagination, they are drawing a city with all its rushing people, transport, noise and what Gershwin called ‘metropolitan madness’. They are not drawing the orchestra and its players and instruments.
This BBC Ten Pieces version of the piece lasts for about six minutes so you could listen two or three times back to back as the children draw.
FINALLY, end your session by watching the BBC Ten Pieces Trailblazers film.
Play https://youtu.be/Hy8kmNEo1i8 Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop)" is a song by American eurodance artist Scatman John. It was released in November 1994, as the lead single from his second album, Scatman's World. The song is described as "a blend of jazz scatting, rap, and house beats". It reached number-one on the charts in at least nine countries and also won the March 1996 Echo Award in Germany for the best Rock/Pop single. He was heavily influenced by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.
Show Jazz Power point. Ensure the children understand that this music was popular during WW2.
Ask the children what instruments they recognise that might make up a ‘Big Band’?
Play https://youtu.be/TNASdyVnubs to show a Robbie Williams compilation of Swing music.
If time at the end allow children to choose their favourite ‘jazz’ piece so far. What instruments do they recognise?
Play https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03t2g2n - ‘Maple Leaf Rag’ arranged by Jazz Saxophonist Soweto Kinch. Can pupils recognise the instruments? Can they remember what instrument Maple Leaf Rag was orignally intended for?
Show pupils powerpoint on Ella Fitzgerald including sound clips.
Play https://youtu.be/Zhm-9-fLF_E Louis Armstrong - can they recognise the vocal improvisations?
Begin by introducing the Jazz Powerpoint P1. Show pupils the second PP page and from https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/ztx3b9q/revision/1 Play ‘Dust My Broom’, ‘Crossroad Blues’ and ‘Travelling Riverside Blues’.
https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/mini-music-lesson-ks2-scott-joplin-s-maple-leaf-rag-11612620 Which introduces Scott Joplin and Ragtime.
The above form the beginnings of Jazz. Go through to the end of P5 on Powerpoint.
Play Scat Cat https://youtu.be/-Gt-Lj7fekk to illustrate the vocal improvisations in Scat.
World Space Week activity
Children’s author Ivan Brett guides you in conjuring up your own story and mysterious character. Let the music of Mason Bates, played by the BBC Symphony Orchestra; inspire you in your writing.
Follow the link to find the section in Ten Pieces Tasters
Listen to extracts from two pieces: One piece composed by John Williams and the other ‘Fanfare’ by Aaron Copland.
What similarities and differences are there between these two pieces? Record notes on white boards (referring to musical elements) – one for similarities, one for differences.
Feed back as class and record on working wall.
Challenge – Encourage recording of symbols
Wrapping up – Share info on the listening powerpoint of Aaron Copland
Can children record what they think the musical elements are (refer to posters when discussing)
Discuss findings. Are there any short ways of recording what they’ve said e.g. < > cresc, dim, ABA, allegro. Largo, accel, rall, p, mf, pp, ff, note values. See attachments for definitions. Please don't worry if this is not clear - it will be covered again in school.
Listen to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by John Williams.
What do you think the piece is showing good examples of in terms of musical elements?