If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you know that I like to feature lesson ideas that incorporate art music. Today’s featured piece is Les Toréadors by Bizet.


I love the feel of steady beat in this piece. It makes me want to get up and march around the room. I have no doubt that your students will feel the same way. The constant presence of the low brass oom-pah will help younger students feel the beat. Best of all, this piece is only a few minutes long with lots of dynamic contrast. Students will have a chance to practice the steady beat without it feeling monotonous.


Speaking of dynamic contrast, this has the perfect amount. You can have students practice identifying beat and dynamics simultaneously. Ask them to march during the loud parts and tiptoe during the soft/quiet parts. This can also be a precursor to a discussion on same and different parts in music. You can use this as a warm-up for kindergartners or as a review of dynamics with second graders.
You could even step it up a notch and ask them to create movements for loud/soft. The stipulation being that they still must move to the steady beat.

You can use the list below as a personal reference. Or you can project it on your interactive whiteboard to give your students some ideas for movement. If you project it on the whiteboard, give students a chance to fill out the last two spots on the list with their own creative movement ideas.

Use Les Toréadors to play music freeze (students move while music is playing and freeze when it stops). Instead of playing music freeze the traditional way, play it with a twist.  Let students draw stick figures in the bottom boxes to show how students should pose when the music stops. You could use this activity with any piece of music.

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