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Listening to Beethoven

I almost forgot that I had scanned these to share with you!  A few weeks ago we listened to "Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven.  First graders discussed tempo, mood and dynamics and then created these written/drawn responses.

They had some pretty heavy thoughts about the song.  It was a great opportunity to talk about how music captures emotions.  We discussed music that is used for weddings, funerals, parades, parties, etc...  What insightful young men and women I teach!

UPDATED:  Just to answer a few questions that I've recieved in the comments or via email for teachers wishing to teach this lesson:  To introduce the piece I talked about Beethoven and explained that sometimes (not always!) but sometimes composers like to tell stories with their music the way authors do with books.  I asked them to listen to the piece and then asked them to label it generically by asking them what the tempo was, what instrument did they hear, what was the "mood" of the piece.  Then I asked them to imagine they were creating a movie.  What would be showing on the movie when they heard this music.  We shared two or three examples and then went to the sheets to express our ideas.  Too many examples and students don't think about their own response, but on which response they heard that sounded the best!

This sheet is part of a Primary Writing Prompt Kit that you can find HERE.


  1. Could you include a download link for the original for us to use? Just found out that I'll be on a cart next year and would love to use this.

  2. Hi, My name is Alina Gibitz, I'm a music teacher in Kirkland, WA. This lesson is an incredible idea. As far as pedagogy goes, I have a few questions if you don't mind answering. Did you listen first and then draw? Did you prompt them to think of sad things before they drew the picture, or did they come up with that themselves? Thanks! Ms. Gibitz

  3. Tracy, Do you have a pdf of this worksheet? I could really use this next year.
    Thanks, Susie V.

  4. I love your Blog!! I am finishing my second year as an elementary music teacher, and enjoy seeing all of the creativity of others in the field! I was wondering how you created your 1st grade listening sheet?

  5. The sheet I used is part of a kit called Primary Writing Prompts. You can find it at the link below.


  6. Hi Mrs. King,

    I am a primary school music teacher from Melbourne, Australia. I have been teaching for one and a half years, so it is a great learning opportunity to see all the interesting things you do in your music classes.

    I love the way you have kept the task simple with one open ended question to focus the kids' thinking about the music.

    In my grade 2 classes, we have discussed Dali's "The Persistence of Time" (although the students haven't been told the name or artist yet). You're right! Our smallest students can be so insightful! We had a detailed discussion about the "half man, half horse, half-dead ghost-like figure" in the middle. After a while, you have a chorus of kids saying, "Oh yeah! Oh yeah, that's really creepy!". They're going to create compositions from these ideas next week. I can't wait to post some of the results on my blog, Music with Miss K!

    I look forward to checking out some of the other great things you do in your classes!

    Melissa Karakaltsas (Miss K)

  7. Thanks! Great idea for when I take my students to the Young Person's Concert series at our symphony! Also, thanks for the link.

  8. Love this! It will be great for when I take my music students to the young person's concerts this year. Thanks for the link and update as well.

  9. Whoa. This would be a great tool for us school counselors! Thank you.