Ready-made Lessons

No time to prepare a lesson? No access to your usual instruments or music room? These videos will enable you to explore aspects of the music curriculum with absolutely no preparation. All you need is to be able to show the videos to your class or get them to watch from home - and have access to pens and paper.

Watch the films and be ready to pause it when instructed to carry out the activities.

These activities have been designed for Key Stage 3/Third/Fourth Level by music education specialist Patrick Bailey. Each lesson plan is a standalone.

Lesson 1: Draw what you hear!

In this activity, featuring members of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, you will create a graphic score inspired by Anna Clyne's Night Ferry to then form a brand new piece of music. The activity involves elements of music including ostinato, dynamics, rhythm and texture.

Suggested time required: 45 minutes
Suggested extension activities:
Watch the full performance of Night Ferry by Anna Clyne
Find out more about Anna Clyne and her music

Tip for teaching...

You can use the whole video for a live online lesson and work through it together as a class.

Alternatively, you can work through the first part together as a live lesson and then ask pupils to complete the creative task at their own pace away from the live lesson. Just pause the film at 8’20” and share this .mp3 audio file link with students.

If any pupils struggle to download or use the audio file, you can direct them to this film of the piece to work with instead: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03c0rqf

After the independent work, bring the group back together for the lesson summary which begins at 13’11”.

Lesson 2: Create your own tala

In this activity, you will explore tala which are rhythmic cycles that are used in South Indian (or Carnatic) music. You will create your own tala taking inspiration from a piece of music by world-famous sitar player, Ravi Shankar.

This activity involves call and response, improvisation, bols (drum syllables) and rhythm and pulse.

Suggested time required: 1 hour to complete the activities which can be extended into a further hour to perfect and perform your own composition.
Suggested extension activities:

  • Watch the full performance of Ravi Shankar’s Symphony
  • Research Ravi Shankar – who was he, why was he so famous, which other musicians did he work with?
  • Research tabla (drums) – what do they look like, how are they played, listen to some examples
  • Research Teental and Jhaptal – what is the difference between them?

Lesson 3: Create exciting rhythmic patterns using number series

In this activity you will explore minimalist rhythmic patterns, develop interesting rhythms using number series and create your own piece inspired by renowned minimalist composer Steve Reich. This activity involves elements of music including pulse, rhythm, dynamics, time signatures, number series.

Suggested time required: 1 hour to complete the activities which can be extended into a further hour to perfect and perform your own composition.
Suggested extension activities:

  • Watch the full performance of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians
  • Research other minimalist composers such as Philip Glass or Michael Nyman