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How Can Music Connect to Other Interests and Experiences?

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Music Age Levels Primary (5 to 8 years old), Elementary (9 to 12 years old)

That is a question the National Association for Music Education Responding standard asks students to consider. Grades 1-5 discuss a piece selected for them. Older students do the selecting. Presented here is an example for the older students, and perhaps a selection for the younger: Beethoven's Symphony No. 6, or Pastoral, which reveals Beethoven's love of nature and the sounds he heard on long walks in the country. The five movements are in public domain:  I., II., III., IV., and V. At times the music is imitative, most strikingly toward the end of  II. "Scene by the Brook," when he reproduces the calls of a nightingale (flute), a quail (oboe), and a cuckoo (clarinets). As a fun exercise for any grade, see if students can identify the three birds in the music. Recordings of their calls are also in public domain:  nightingale, quail, and cuckoo. (A composer reviewing this exercise heard one of the birds, the cuckoo, "repeating a descending major third, D# to B." Try it on piano!)

Bust of Beethoven

Smithsonian American Art Museum


Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

Common Quail

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

Common Cuckoo

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access