Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Among classical composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart stands out for his unique genius, creativity, and an amazing talent for his life’s work from a very young age. The history of this musical genius is a fantastic story. Students will listen to works of Mozart as they explore the life of this gifted composter. The different styles of music that Mozart wrote have inspired music lovers throughout time.
A fun way to start this lesson is by asking students to talk about some of their favorite music. Ask the students what they like about their favorite pieces. How do your students feel when they hear their favorite of music? Write their answers on a chalkboard.
Can your students identify what it is about each piece that makes them feel emotions like happy, sad, excited, or powerful?
Discuss with the class Mozart’s famous quote “Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.”
What do your students think this quote means? How did Mozart feel about his music?
Start with the biography and video about Mozart from Biography.com. Follow with the Britannica feature on Mozart. Make sure to click the Videos section and watch the collection of clips. Next jump over to All Music for a selection of Mozart Best 100 excerpts.
As you listen to each piece of music, ask students how Mozart’s music changed as he grew older. What differences do they hear? Do your students think Mozart was learning more about music as he grew older?
Now that students have listened to some samples of Mozart’s compositions, visit the quiz about Wolfgang Amadé Mozart from Hoadworks, Inc.
Do your students think that a musician can be a hero? Take them to visit IMA Hero’s Hero History of Mozart. While you are learning more about Mozart, use this site to begin a discussion with your class about the different types of music Mozart wrote. Explain that Mozart wrote many different kinds of music, including operas, symphonies, and concertos.
Different Styles of Mozart
Next, learn more about the different types of music Mozart wrote by visiting the Style page on Mozart. Did Mozart think that music came easily for him? How are the symphony and the concerto alike? How are they different? You can look up these musical terms and others by taking your class to Naxos’ Learning Zone. Use the A-Z Glossary to look up the terms “opera,” “symphony,” “concerto,” and “chamber music” and discuss them with the class.
Next, let your class do some exploring with a fun classroom activity. Try the Interactive Mozart activity from Melody Street. Find out about the specific instruments used in symphony orchestras by visiting the instrument storage room (New York Philharmonic Kids). Read the BBC information on Mozart and look at the photos and play the game.
Log on to Naxos' Learning Zone: Composers. Click “M”, then Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. Scroll to the bottom of the page, where you will find categories such as Orchestral (includes symphonies) Opera, Concertos, and Chamber Music. (Teacher’s Note: In order to listen to the music, you will need to subscribe to Naxos free service.). Allow your students to follow the links to explore one of the pieces in each category of music Mozart composed. Ask students to write down the category, name of the piece he or she selected, and then list five adjectives to describe how each piece made him or her feel.
When each of your students has had an opportunity to complete the activity, ask students to compare the sounds of the pieces in the “orchestral,” “opera,” “concertos,” and “chamber music” categories. Play a selection from each category for the class. How does each category sound different from the others? Are there any similarities?
Now that students have gotten to know Mozart, take a tour of Mozart’s hometown. Take your students to Salzburg. Read this page. Next hop over to the Stiftung Mozarteum Salzburg to explore Mozart’s birthplace and residence. Read the information and watch the video clips. Follow up with a tour of Mozart’s home as it has been preserved today at the Travel Channel’s video on his home in Salzburg.
Salzburg today is a popular European travel destination. Watch this overview of Charming Salzburg by Travel Channel host Samantha. Did you know that the famous movie, ‘The Sound of Music’ was filmed in Salzburg? Check out this video clip. Continue with the clips from the official Salzburg travel site.
Mozart was certainly one of the greatest composers of all time. His compositions are familiar to those of all ages and nationalities. Today’s students may not recognize his music, but learning about his life and listening to his music provides a whole new perspective on music appreciation.
§117.12. Music, Grade 3
(5.A) Historical/cultural heritage. The student relates music to history, to society, and to culture. The student is expected to identify aurally presented excerpts of music representing diverse genres, styles, periods, and cultures.
UNDERSTANDING MUSIC IN RELATION TO HISTORY AND CULTURE
Students identify by genre or style aural examples of music from various historical periods and cultures.
Surfing the Net with Kids – Hoadworks.com: Mozart Quiz
IMA Hero: Hero History – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Naxos.com – Composers: Mozart
Essentials of Music.com – Composer: Mozart
Images of Beautiful Places – Salzburg, Austria