It’s October!!! I think Halloween/Fall music is one of my favorite seasons to teach in the classroom. There are so many things that can be done and so much that can be listened to. Students love playing games with pumpkins, ghosts, and all kinds of creatures. I’m going to share today one of the story-songs I do with my younger students, but the big kids love it as well.
I adapted this idea from Beth Nelson’s workshop I went to a couple years ago. For her workshop she used a story about fairies and giants and played some music for the 2 different types of movement associated with both. I wanted to use it around Halloween so I changed the story to be about Frankensteins and spiders, but you could change your characters to fit your needs.
Here is my story:
Once upon a time there was a haunted forest where spiders and Frankensteins lived. The Frankensteins were big, huge creatures who moved very slowly. All day long, they would travel slowly through the haunted forest in search of spiders to crunch and munch on. The trouble was that they were really too slow and too tall to ever find any. At night, the Frankensteins would fall asleep right where they were standing, frozen right in place. This is when the spiders would wake up and scurry around the forest. They moved very fast, but were very quiet. When morning came, the spiders quickly slipped underneath a leaf, acorn, or mushroom to safely sleep hiding from the frankensteins.
While I am telling this story I am playing Danse Macabre (“Halloween”) by Saint Saens on the piano and the students are creating movements to match. I have the students split between Frankensteins and Spiders. The Frankensteins are only allowed to move slowly on the big slow parts, while the spiders are frozen. Then while the fast, jumpy parts are going the spiders are scurrying around while the frankensteins are frozen. I pause in-between the 2 contrasting sections of the music to tell bits of the story and then continue the music so that they students can move like their characters. It creates a wonderful musical story through movement.