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The Carnival of the Animals Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught history, and has an MA in Islamic law/finance. He has since founded his own financial advice firm, Newton Analytical.

This lesson plan for 'The Carnival of the Animals' will help you introduce classical music to students, showing them how it can be used to paint an aural picture of different animals and asking them to use technical terms to describe each.

Lesson Objectives

By the end of this lesson, your students will be able to:

  • describe the life of Camille Saint-Saens
  • analyze the movements of The Carnival of Animals for both the invoked animal of each movement as well as other musical aspects

Length

  • About 60 minutes

Materials

To do either of the activities for this lesson, you will need access to a recording of The Carnival of the Animals. It is in the public domain and can easily be acquired online.

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.5.2

Summarize a written text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.5.5

Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.

Key Vocabulary

  • Camille Saint-Saens
  • The Carnival of the Animals
  • The Swan

Instructions

  • Before starting the lesson, ask your students to describe what they think different animals would be like if represented in music. What would the tempo be like? What about the notes? Any melody?
  • Take a few minutes to discuss then pass out copies of the lesson The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens. Read the lesson as a class, stopping after each section for the following discussion questions:
    • Camille Saint-Saens: How would you describe Saint-Saens' career? Why do you think he was ashamed of The Carnival of the Animals?
    • The Carnival of the Animals: Give some examples of how animals were described through music. Have students state how they would 'describe' animals through music with respect to instruments.
    • Crossover Appeal of The Carnival of the Animals: How have others used The Carnival of the Animals? What do you think that Saint-Saens would think of these innovations?

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