Xylophone Lesson Plan
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Illinois State Standards
Anchor Standard 7 (Responding)
Perceive and analyze artistic work.
Enduring Understanding: Individuals choose music based on their interests, experiences, musical understanding, and each musical work’s purpose.
Essential Question: How do individuals choose music to experience?
Anchor Standard 8 (Responding)
Construct meaningful interpretations of artistic work.
Enduring Understanding: Through their use of elements and structures of music, creators and performers provide clues to their expressive intent.
Essential Question: How do we discern the musical performers’ emotions, thoughts, and ideas?
Anchor Standard 9 (Responding)
Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work.
Enduring Understanding: The personal evaluation of musical work(s) and performance(s) is informed by analysis, interpretation, and teacher- or student-established criteria.
Essential Question: How do we judge the quality of musical work(s) and performance(s)?
Anchor Standard 10 (Connecting)
Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art.
Enduring Understanding: Musicians connect their personal interests, experiences, ideas, and knowledge to creating, performing, and responding.
Essential Question: How do musicians make meaningful connections to creating, performing, and responding?
- Learn the history of the xylophone
- Listen to two xylophone songs
- Compare and contrast xylophone songs
Listen and Watch
“Danse Macabre” by Saint-Saëns (listen to all or a portion)
Listen to how the xylophones and other percussion instruments mimic the sound of skeletons (piece means “Dance of Death”).
History of the Xylophone
Students share what they already know about the xylophone.
- Pitched percussion
- Different kinds of xylophones/pitched percussion: marimba, glockenspiel, vibraphone
- Bars made from wood or metal and played by hitting with a drum stick called a mallet
- Xylophones first found in Africa and Asia
- First used in Humperdinck’s opera Hansel and Gretel
Talented percussionists can play with four mallets – two in each hand! Example video: “Super Mario Bros.” theme on marimba performed by Aaron Grooves
Listen and Watch
“Flight of the Bumble Bee” performed by Dano Cracchiolo
Compare and Contrast
- Which example do you prefer and why?
- How do the examples sound similar?
- How do the examples sound different?
- How do individuals choose music to experience?
- How do we discern the musical performers’ emotions, thoughts, and ideas?
- How do we judge the quality of musical work(s) and performance(s)?
- How do musicians make meaningful connections to creating, performing, and responding?
Additional funding for WFMT’s Bach to School program is provided by the Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts. Ralla was an attorney with a passion for social justice and the arts. The arts opened up worlds to Ralla, and she wanted to bring them to people who might not have the same opportunities that she did.