Festivals: Chinese New Year

Using the story of Chinese New Year as a stimulus, pupils; revise key musical terminology, play and create pentatonic melodies, compose a piece of music in a group using layered melodies and finally perform their finished pieces. Can be made COVID-19 appropriate by sanitising instruments.

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Lesson 1: Dragon Dance

After watching the ‘Story of Nian’ that explains the Chinese New Year Story, children dance to music traditionally used to celebrate the festival, moving in response to the musical elements: crescendo, tempo and duration


Lesson 2: Pentatonic Scale

Learning that the pentatonic scale is a five-note scale, pupils use a tuned instrument to play the scale together as a class, before moving on to playing pentatonic melodies in pairs


Lesson 3: Letter Notation

Working in pairs, children create, notate and rehearse pentatonic melodies of their own and learn that when composing they create their tune first and then write it down


Lesson 4: Enter the Dragon

Using their pentatonic melodies from Lesson 3, pupils embark on creating a piece of music called 'Enter the Dragon' to tell the 'Story of Nian', using untuned percussion instruments to represent the villagers frightening the dragon away


Lesson 5: Final Performance

Each group uses tuned and untuned percussion instruments to perform their final compositions