A river’s course can vary from wild and racing to calm and meandering which is used in this topic, as musical inspiration. Children learn to listen to changes in pitch, tempo and dynamics and relate it to something tangible and familiar. Linking this to their geography learning, they can represent different stages of the river through vocal and percussive ostinatos, culminating in a final group performance

Make your music lessons safer....

During the pandemic, you may prefer to omit lessons 1 and 3.  In lesson 5, you could avoid mentioning vocal ostinato.  You may need to sanitise the instruments before and after use.

Choose your lesson

Lesson 1: The Singing River

Children begin to make links between the course of a river and music as they sing about a flowing river in rounds, even adding a harmony line


Lesson 2: The Listening River

Revisiting the stages of a river, children listen out for how different elements such as dynamics, pitch and tempo represent these different parts of a river


Lesson 3: The Repeating River

Learning about what an ostinato is and how to recognise them in different types of music, children perform vocal ostinatos to represent the stages of a river


Lesson 4: The Percussive River

Using the contrasting features of the different stages of a river for inspiration, children compose their own percussive ostinatos


Lesson 5: The Performing River

Children have the opportunity to finesse and perform their ostinatos in groups, experimenting with layering sounds