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I’m back with more ideas for how to incorporate art music into your classroom. And as the leaves continue to fall, I thought it was the perfect time to introduce the following:

Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: L’Autunno (Autumn) – I. Allegro

Upper elementary students would benefit greatly from watching the following video before listening to the piece. It provides some context for listening and highlights the unique quality of Vivaldi’s music.

If you’re planning on using this music for a substitute, imagery would be a fantastic concept on which to focus because it wouldn’t require any specific musical skill. Depending on the age of your students, you may choose to read the sonnet that accompanies the first movement. However, considering that Bacchus was a Greek and Roman god of wine and ecstasy, you may choose to skip that part and focus on song, dance, and harvest.

Allegro
The peasant celebrates with song and dance the harvest safely gathered in.
The cup of Bacchus flows freely, and many find their relief in deep slumber.

Once the scene is set, encourage your students to imagine a story unfolding in their minds as they listen to the music. Then, have them draw what they imagined. Download and print the worksheet below for students to use as their canvas. Then, hang the finished pictures on a bulletin board.

DYNAMICS

Contrasting dynamics are plentiful in this piece. Ask students to move their bodies to show the dynamics of the piece, giving the stipulation that their movements should be small during the soft parts and big during the loud parts. This provides an opportunity for them to get up and move. Meanwhile, you can assess how well each student identifies the varying dynamics.

TIMBRE & FORM

Lead a discussion on the different instruments the students hear. This would be a good time to introduce the different instruments in the string family. During this discussion, you can also talk about the meaning of the concerto form. If your students are older, you might choose to dive more deeply into this topic by discussing how the definition of concerto has changed over the years.

If you’re looking to do even more with The Four Seasons, the following free resource from Arts Alive is fantastic: Vivaldi and The Four Seasons Teacher Resource Kit.

If you’re interested in teaching more about composers from the Baroque time period, such as Vivaldi, you can take a look at one of my Music History Quick Guides featured below:

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