Camouflage - Music

Composers use many techniques to move music forward. In the lessons below, students will learn about rhythm, line, and melody to discover how a piece of music can be like a bird floating in a boat down a river or a bird soaring through the sky.

Download the full learning guide and use this page to navigate video and audio.

Lesson One: Identifying Sounds

Learning Objectives: Students will identify and perform melody and bass line.

In this lesson, students will identify woodwind instruments by sight and sound.  Students will also learn about composer Georges Bizet and the woodwind family of the orchestra.

Lesson one contains two activities that can be found in the Camouflage Music Learning Guide.

Georges Bizet

The composer of the music for this lesson is Georges Bizet. He was a French composer well known for his operas. He was born in 1838 in Paris, France. He studied composition at the Conservatory of Paris and won a prize that allowed him to study composition in Rome. 

The piece of music you listened to is part of Bizet’s most popular opera, Carmen. The opera wasn’t well known during Bizet’s life but became famous after he died. Since then, the opera has become very popular and is performed often. Much of the music in the opera is inspired by music from Spain and uses the instruments of the orchestra in a really unique way. 

Art Piece

Toad World
Susan C. Ross

Listening: 1.75 minutes

Entr’acte (Act II) from Carmen
Georges Bizet

Activity 1: Learning the Woodwind Section

Question 1 – Flute Listening

Question 2 – Oboe Listening

Question 3 – Clarinet Listening

Question 4 – Bassoon Listening

Activity 2: Indentifying Instruments

Question 1 Listening

Question 2 Listening

Question 3 Listening

Question 4 Listening

Lesson Two: Creating Song

Learning Objectives: Students will use critical listening to understand songs in nature and create their own “bird song”.

In this lesson, students will listen to music in nature by studying bird songs and use the pentatonic scale to mimic nature in their very own music. Students will also learn about composer Claude Debussy and the woodwind family of the orchestra.

Lesson two contains two activities that can be found in the Camouflage Music Learning Guide.

Claude Debussy

Claude Debussy was a French composer born in 1862. He showed enough musical talent to be admitted to the Paris Conservatory when he was 10 years old. He was one of the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and developed his own style of using the sounds and colors of the orchestra.

La Mer is the name of the piece you will listen to in this lesson. La Mer means ‘the sea’ in French, as it is inspired by water. When Debussy composed the piece, he drew inspiration from art depicting seascapes as well as literature describing bodies of water.

Art Piece

Sparrows in a Private Hedge
Robert Morrow

Listening: 3.5 minutes

La mer
Claude Debussy

Activity 1: Birdsong

Start at 4 seconds. 

Start at 26 seconds. 

Start at 4 seconds. 

Start at 5 seconds. 

Start at 19 seconds. 

Lesson Three: Musical Style

Learning Objectives: Students will listen to, reflect on, and play in other styles of music.

In this lesson, students will understand and perform different styles of music using scales as a base.  Students will also learn about modern composer Stephen McNeff and all families of the orchestra.

Lesson three contains two activities that can be found in the Camouflage Music Learning Guide.

Stephen McNeff

Stephen McNeff is a British composer who has written operas, vocal, and orchestral pieces. He was born in 1951 and still composes music today! He studied composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London, England, and is the composer of the piece of music you just heard!

The piece you just listened to was the “Overture”, or beginning to a piece called The Tale of Peter Rabbit. An overture is the beginning, or intro, to a large piece. The Tale of Peter Rabbit is part of a larger group of pieces called Four Tales from Beatrix Potter. The pieces tell various stories from the author Beatrix Potter, who wrote books such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit and The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies. 

Art Piece

Looking for Balance
Taylor Robenalt

Listening: .5 minutes

The Tale of Peter Rabbit: I. Overture
Stephen McNeff
book by Beatrix Potter

Activity 1: Styles of Clarinet

The Rosenberg Trio with clarinetist Evan Christopher perform an “a la creole” version of Django Reinhardt’s “Songe d’Automne”.

The band The Sound of Klezmer plays a Jewish Wedding Melody.

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