Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf provides the perfect introduction to the storytelling power of orchestral music. This lesson plan walks elementary students through a guided listening session with an emphasis on leitmotifs. A comic strip worksheet provides an engaging formative assessment.
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Grade 1-4 Music Listening Lesson Plan
Comic Strip Worksheet (4 Pages)
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Peter and the Wolf is often used to illustrate musical storytelling for young listeners. This lesson plan goes a step further by giving students the musical vocabulary to understand how a composer might accomplish this effect. The plan introduces the term “leitmotif” in an accessible way: as a melody associated with a person, place, or idea in a story. Then, the lesson continues with guided large-group discussion questions, directed listening, and prompted drawings. The comic strip worksheet includes specific captions to spark students’ imaginations as they use their newfound understanding of the leitmotif to interpret the story in comic book format.
This ready-to-use lesson makes it easy to introduce students to the fun and excitement of this beloved piece and the technique that makes it so effective. If executed well, this plan will increase students’ enjoyment and understanding of orchestral music. It will also leave them with an original comic strip to remind them of the day music class turned into story time.
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