There are so many fun songs at Christmas time! One of my absolute favorite pieces is Sleigh Ride, even though it isn’t technically a Christmas song. I’ve included it in my December listening lessons list, and today want to give some more examples of how you can use the song in a listening lesson.
When I do listening lessons with students, I like to begin with having them listen to the chosen piece without giving any information. If the piece isn’t very long, I’ll play it through in its entirety. If it is longer, I’ll just play a short clip. With younger children, I will sometimes have a movement activity for the initial listening.
After listening to the piece once, it’s a good chance to talk about what they’ve heard, and to give some background information about the music.
Here are some things you might say:
Discussing Sleigh Ride
- how many of you have ever been on a sleigh ride?
- What kinds of things did you see?
- What did you hear on the ride?
- How was the weather?
Behind the Music: Sleigh Ride
- composed by LeRoy Anderson
- composed during the summertime
- uses instruments to create sounds of sleigh ride (bells, horse, whip cracking)
- lyrics were added later
After initial listening, consider adding something for them to do while listening.
Active Listening and Movement ideas:
*pass out jingle bells and try a simple play along
*Create a sleigh out of a big box. They can decorate their sleigh by coloring it or adding ribbons to it. Don’t forget to add jingle bells! My boys loved this (but they love any time we get to use the play horse)!
If you have more than one listener, they can switch places in the sleigh every time the bells stop (have the sleigh driver hold the bells). For an idea of when those changes happen, check out this video:
- passing jingle bells to the music, like in this video
- simple cup game, like in this video by Elizabeth Caldwell
You can also have them fill out a journal sheet as they listen.