A fun and free Mad Lib lesson plan for teaching this classic piece.
Grieg’s Morning Mood
This recognizable piece is a great way to get students to activate their imaginations when it comes to music. While most people associate the melody with beautiful Norwegian fjords and mountains, did you know it was actually written to evoke sunrise in the Sahara Desert?!?
You can almost feel the heat of the desert and see the sheen of the sun on the sand. Plus the part about fighting off monkeys with a stick is hilarious. Why not share some of that juicy imagery and humor with your students?
It is easy to find free recordings of this piece on YouTube or Spotify. Here is one of the many quality recordings that are out there.
The Lesson Plan
(1) Students will demonstrate recognition of a famous melody by raising their hands when they hear it.
(2) Students will demonstrate their ability to interpret mood and setting in music by filling out a MadLib-style worksheet.
(3) Students will demonstrate their understanding of what the piece is about by describing it verbally.
(1) Recording of “Morning Mood” by Edvard Grieg.
(2) Copies of “What is this music about?” worksheets for every student.
(3) Pencils for every student.
(4) Answer key for “What is this music about?” worksheet.
(5) Optional: Powerpoint files to project the worksheet and the answers.
(1) Invite students to close their eyes as you play the first 10-20 seconds of the recording of “Morning Mood.” Ask them to raise a hand if they recognize this music.
(2) Inform students that they are going to use their imaginations to try to decide what the piece is about. Turn out some lights to create a calm atmosphere for listening, and invite students to lay down and close their eyes while they imagine. Play the first two minutes or so of the piece (longer or shorter depending on your students’ attention spans and your available class time).
(3) Say, “Now I’m going to tell you what this piece is REALLY about.” Read the blank version of the worksheet, saying the word “blank” every time you get to a blank. Do it tongue-in-cheek so the students think it’s funny rather than frustrating. 🙂
(4) Reveal that the students are going to fill in the blanks themselves. Distribute the worksheets and pencils. Play the music in the background while they work.
(5) Invite 2-3 students to read aloud what they’ve written. The answers will be quite funny and creative!
(6) Tell them what the actual answers were. See if anyone got close or even some answers correct!
(7) Play the recording again, asking them to imagine Peer in a tree, holding a stick as the sun comes up.
For More Information
The text for the worksheet came from the Wikipedia article about Morning Mood. You may read the rest of the interesting article at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morning_Mood.
Did you know the pentatonic opening melody matches the tuning of the understrings on a Hardanger fiddle? If you haven’t found out about this fascinating and funky Norwegian instrument yet, do yourself a favor and check it out at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardanger_fiddle. You’re welcome.