And just like that, April has arrived! It’s time for our April listening lessons playlist. Each month, I share a playlist you can use in your home or preschool with your children. You can choose songs from the playlist to create listening lessons for the month.
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When choosing songs for the playlist, I like to start by focusing on special days or holidays unique to that month. I also like to feature a musician of the month. I like to mix it up between famous composers and musicians from pop culture.
April is Jazz Appreciation month across the United States. I’ve included some jazz pieces in this month’s playlist that would be fun to play throughout the month. There are many great children’s books for introducing jazz to children, as well. I’ve listed a few book suggestions at the bottom of the post, if you want to check them out.
This month, we say “happy birthday” to these composers: Sergei Rachmaninoff (April 1st), Sergei Prokofiev (April 23rd) and Duke Ellington (April 29th)! If you can’t find a composer you would like to feature, you can always use a favorite musician. I like to use a mix of modern and older musicians in class. A couple musician birthdays this month are Billie Holiday (April 7th) and Lionel Hampton (April 20th). They would both be great for introducing jazz this month!
Special Days in April:
- April Fool’s Day (April 1st)
- Easter (April 16th)
- Tax Day (April 18th)
- Earth Day (April 22nd)
- Arbor Day (April 28th)
- International Jazz Day (April 30th)
April Listening Lessons Playlist
Once you have chosen your song, here are some questions to ask to get your children (or students) talking about the music:
- have you heard this song before?
- what kinds of things did you hear?
- did you hear any interesting instruments?
Suggested Playlist for April:
- The Four Seasons, Vivaldi- celebrate Earth Day going through the seasons!
- Hallelujah Chorus, Handel- classic Easter music
- Appalachian Spring, Aaron Copland-great for spring, Earth Day, Arbor Day
- Peter and the Wolf, Prokofiev- composer of the month, intro to instruments
- Take the “A” Train, Duke Ellington- fun jazz standard
- Old MacDonald, sung by Ella Fitzgerald- jazz sensation singing classic children’s song
- Rag Mop, Lionel Hampton-fun song children will enjoy
- What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong- great for Earth Day!
- Trees for America, John Denver- check out the Arbor Day foundation’s site for more info
- Easter Oratorio, J. S. Bach- great for Easter
How to do a listening lesson
If you have never done a listening lesson before, check out some of my previous lesson ideas (here’s March’s list). It’s really easy to incorporate listening into your day.
Here are some simple tips for getting started:
*play the piece you’ve selected a few times
- The first listening, play the piece once, having your child just listen.
- The next listening, you can add background information on the music and the composer
- for the last listening, add an activity:
- a listening log/journal
- coloring a picture as they listen
- movement activity or freeze dance
Here are some fun listening glyphs for jazz pieces on teachers pay teachers, as well. One of them goes along with What a Wonderful World!
Hopefully, this gives you some fun ways to listen to music together during this month!