TOREADOR SONG: YOUR 15 MINUTE LESSON PLAN
Yesterday we talked about the (short, tragic, yet productive) life of George Bizet. Missed it? Catch up here. (Don’t miss the gratuitous puppy pic to offset the tragic-ness.)
Today I bring you a 15 minute lesson plan to teach your kids just a bit of Bizet’s memorable music.
1. LISTEN: ACTIVE LISTENING WITH MUSICAL SKETCHING
- Gather paper and your art supplies of choice.
- Listen to a few minutes of Toreador Song.
- Without telling your child anything about the piece, invite them to sketch what they hear. (More information about Musical Sketching here.)
2. LEARN: HIT THE 5Ws TO ADD CONTEXT
- WHO: Composer George Bizet, 1838-1875.
- WHAT: Toreador Song, from the opera Carmen.
- WHEN: Written in 1874; premiered in Paris in 1875.
- WHERE: Bizet lived in Paris, France. Carmen is set in Seville, Spain.
- WHY: Toreador Song is sung by the bullfighter Escamillo at the opening of the 2nd act. Carmen has her sights set on him, but third party Don Jose is jealous. Love triangle ensues.
3. LOVE: ENGAGE WITH DISCUSSION AND INTERPRETATION
- Watch the live version here, featuring Escamillo’s grand entrance. Discuss what they heard the first time and what they hear now, after learning more about the piece.
- Discuss your favorite parts of the piece.
Completed your fifteen minute lesson and want more? Use Classical music as your launching pad to other subjects:
- Add a literature component: bring Spanish bullfighting culture to life with great books. For young children, go for the classic The Story of Ferdinand. Middle grades will enjoy the Newbery award winning Shadow of a Bull.
- Add a writing component: give older students this prompt – “George Bizet wrote an opera set in Spain, without ever having been there. He did all his research through books he found in Paris libraries. Choose a country you are interested in – but have never visited – and do some research. Write a short story that captures the spirit and culture of your chosen country.”
Let me know if you try this 15 minute lesson plan! Send me an email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’d love your feedback!
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