Group Classes, Music Camps, Music History

4 New Composer Lapbooks

Over the past week, I have added four new Great Composers & Their Music lapbook studies to the Color In My Piano shop!

The first one is John Cage.  I mentioned this lapbook before, when I blogged about my October Piano Party.  I think this composer study was my favorite one to teach so far!  It was so fun to teach students about Cage’s ingenuity as a composer.  As an extension, we explored the room to find “found instruments,” and experimented with prepared piano.  (No, I didn’t bring screws or bolts anywhere near my piano…but we did try laying pieces of felt and tinfoil on the strings/dampers to see what sounds we could create!).

Studying Brahms gave us the opportunity to talk about concertos, and the difference between monophony, homophony, and polyphony.  Since we had already studied Robert Schumann, we were able to connect the two composers and discuss the relationship dynamics between Brahms and the Schumann family.

CPE Bach gave us the perfect opportunity to discuss the evolution of the piano, from the clavichord and harpsichord all the way to the modern piano.  Another term we discussed was Empfindsamer stil — the “sensitive style,” which was a compositional style that was characterized by changing moods within a piece, in contrast to the single “affect” generally found in Baroque pieces before this time.

The fourth composer is Gustav Holst.  We spent a lot of time listening to “The Planets.”  We drew a picture of each planet as we listened to each movement, and talked about how it turned out that Holst was correct not to compose a new movement for Pluto after it was initially discovered!  We also learned that John Williams was influenced by “The Planets” when he was composing the music for the Star Wars movies.

I want to say a big THANK YOU to those who have already purchased one or more of these composer studies!  I hope they have been as effective for your students as they have been for mine.  If you have used these lapbooks and have any feedback and/or suggestions, I’d love to hear it (email me!) as I continue to work on future lapbooks.  (Hint: Next will be an Impressionist composer!)  🙂

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