These are 3 Halloween music education activities that are easy enough to do with one child, a few children, or a classroom full of children. These activities are easy to teach to younger students and can be added to and made a little more difficult for older students.
1. “In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg
“In the Hall of the Mountain King” is from the 6th scene of the play Peer Gynt. It is written in the key of B minor, making it sound eerie and perfect for Halloween. I mean, just imagine going into a great big mountain that is dark, wet, and probably cold.
- First, watch the performance of the song while listening to how it sounds. Here is a YouTube link of The Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg orchestra performing it…
- While listening to the song, have the child pat the steady beat on their legs. When they have listened to the whole song ask “did the beat speed up or slow down?”
- NOW…let the kids stand up and move to the music. Instruct them to move their bodies to represent how the music sounds. For example, at the beginning, they can tip toe slowly around the room, crawl, or march in place. Remember that the beginning of the song sounds like someone is scared and is trying to be as quiet as possible. Once the music speeds up, they will probably end up running and can have their arms in the air to represent the louder sounding music.
- At the end of the song, you will hear a loud sound that is preceded by a bunch of fast notes. During this part, have the child jump up every time they hear this part come in.
*Not only is this a fun activity, children without even knowing it, will be meeting the learning objectives of steady beat, tempo and dynamics, and movement.
2. “Someone” by Walter de la Mare
This is a poem that is perfect to use as a Halloween activity.
- Read the poem out loud together. Then, read it again while patting your legs to make sure you keep a steady beat while speaking the poem.
- This time, read the poem and have the child do motions to the words they hear. For example, when it says “I listened, I opened, I looked to left and right” they can do these movements. Then, when it names each insect or animal, the child can act like that animal in the poem.
- Now, use instruments or items lying around the house, to create sounds for the poem.
- For the knocking sound, you could use a plastic spoon to make a knocking sound on the floor or the wall. A good instrument for this would be a wood block.
- For the busy beetle section, use a book on the wall to make a scraping sound. A good instrument for this would be a guiro.
- The screech owl call would sound good by playing a piano or xylophone note loudly.
- The cricket whistling sound could be made by rubbing a small spoon softly on a metal object, like a desk leg. A triangle would be a good sound for the whistling.
*After completing this activity, students will have met the learning objectives of movement, steady beat, rhythm, and sound.
- Speak the words together first, and add a steady beat by tapping your legs.
- After speaking it together, learn the song. If you can’t read music, no problem. Just google “Pick-a-pick-a-Pumpkin”, find a recording, and you can hear how the song goes.
- After hearing how the melody goes, sing it together.
- Clap the rhythm of the words-“pick-a-pick-a” (16th notes) counts “ti-ka-ti-ka”, “pumpkin” (8th notes) counts “ti-ti”, and “pile” (quarter note) counts “ta.” So, line one would go…. ti-ka-ti-ka ti-ti ti-ti ta ti-ka-ti-ka ti-ti-ka ti-ti ta
- Play the rhythm on the bottom of a bucket or a drum while speaking the words out loud.
- Now…get a big bouncy ball and bounce it to the beat-either one child or with a partner.
- If you know how to play an instrument, go ahead and learn how to play the melody.
*The learning objectives include steady beat, rhythm counting, singing melody, and matching pitch.
What are your favorite Halloween music songs or activities? I would love to hear all about them.
If you are a parent, student, or teacher who wants to learn more about music, connect with other musicians, or wants to post their latest videos of what they’ve been working on, I would love for you to join my Facebook group Music Education Connection. Collaborate, learn from each other, and grow new friendships. This is a place to receive encouragement, positive feedback, and to ask questions.