music lesson incorporating technology

Rhapsody in Blue and the Blue Danube: music appreciation

Stage: 3

Duration: 1x 40 minute lesson

  • Rhapsody in Blue, 1924, George Gershwin
  • Blue Danube, 1867, Johann Strauss
  • Music appreciation worksheets
  • CD player


Organising sound

MUS3.3 Notates and discusses own work and the work of others


MUS3.4 Identifies the use of musical concepts and symbols in a range of musical styles 

  • Demonstrates an understanding of the musical concepts through a discussion about the similarities and differences of two classical compositions
  • Identifies the use of specific instruments, pitch and dynamics in classical music as musical concepts which vary within the music
Musical concepts: pitch, tone colour, duration, dynamicsRepertoire: instrumental music
Assessment strategies
  • Listen to students’ justifications for their responses and ideas to the musical excerpts that they hear. Do they demonstrate a solid understanding of the musical concepts through their justifications?
  • Mark students’ music appreciation sheets. Can students differentiate between different orchestra families by listening for tone colour and pitch? Can students correctly identify changes in duration and dynamics?
Learning sequenceTeaching notes

Discuss students understanding of classical music. Create a mind map using students’ contributions. This could include discussion on composers they know, instruments used in classical music, traditional music notation. Brainstorm with students all the instruments that they can think of in an orchestra.  Students research in small groups an instrument that they find interesting. Students should use the website:

They should include what the instrument looks like, the tone colour, pitch of the instrument. Students listen to excerpts from Rhapsody in Blue and the Blue Danube to fill in the music appreciation sheets. Students discuss their answers Play a section of the music. Have students create a scenario from the mood of the music. Thinking about what they have learnt from their music appreciation. Write a short story about the scenario using the piece of music as stimulus.

      Organise the instruments into the various families, e.g. strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion etc. Assist students by providing media files which demonstrate the range of the various instruments and the tone colour of the instrument.   Revise musical concepts with students prior to listening to the music excerpts. Duration (rhythm, beat, metre, tempo), pitch, dynamics, tone colour (the way it is played will affect this), structure.  Encourage students to think about the differences and similarities of the two pieces.
  • Are the instruments the same?
  • Is the style of the pieces the same?