The BBC National Orchestra of Wales plays the 'William Tell Overture' by Rossini. There is an opportunity for students to listen to the orchestra play this fast and loud piece of music. As they listen, students could imagine themselves galloping along in time to the music and to pretend to ride a horse. The clip is supported by Makaton signing and Widgit symbols and is suitable for children with special educational needs (SEN).
Tell the pupils that this famous music was written by composer Gioachino Rossini (show the class a picture of Rossini, born in Italy and lived from 1792-1868). The story behind this particular piece of music took place in the country called Switzerland. Show the group Italy and Switzerland on a world map. Make this information accessible with the use of pictures and word banks. After listening to this clip ask children to comment on the speed (fast) and the expression (loud or soft) of this piece. Explain that we call the change in loudness of music, its 'dynamics' and the speed of the music's beat, its 'tempo'. Was the music smooth or separated (was it jumpy or choppy-sounding)? How would you move to the music (was it jumpy and very quick and galloping)? Explain to the children that this music was used to accompany a TV western ('The Lone Ranger') in the 1960s. Ask students to find their own place, scattered throughout the room. Play the recording and allow students to move freely in ways that match the music. It may be that you want to encourage the galloping theme. Explain to the children that when the music pauses they should 'freeze'. After a short time, pause the recording (check that students 'freeze') and describe some of the movements you saw that matched the quality of the music. Comment on children exploring low, medium, and high levels of movement with their bodies and responding to the tempo with quick, rapid movements. Make a game of 'Stop and Start' by continuing to pause the recording and having the students 'freeze'. The children may enjoy listening to other pieces of music that depict riding on horses, such as 'Light Cavalry Overture' by Franz von Suppé, or the piano piece 'The Wild Horseman' by Robert Schumann.