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Music Appreciation Playlist

Here is our Music Appreciation Playlist. 

We recommend our students and parents to listen and watch the videos on this playlist frequently.


Below are the videos listed individually with a few comments and activities for active listening.

There are many ways these videos can be used to expand the student’s music awareness and appreciation. Listed below are a few ways we recommend, ranging from

  • relaxed, passive listening,
  • all the way to “listening with a purpose”, like listening to something very specific (an instrument, a motif, sections, dynamics, etc.), or answering questions (as in school).

In the “forest and trees” metaphor,

  • relaxed listening is like watching the forest and
  • answering questions is like counting the trees.

As time goes by, students tend to get increasingly good at counting trees, and tend to stop seeing the forest. It is important that they stay open to “watching the forest”, as in relaxed listening.

In short, here are a few ways of interacting with the videos used below:

  • listen in a relaxed way, several times to the same track, without doing anything else,
  • listen and watch the musicians play, several times to the same track, without doing anything else,
  • listen/watch and discuss what is going on,
  • listen/watch and clap/tap/play along
  • listen/watch and notice instrumentation,
  • listen/watch and notice sections and changes in instrumentation between sections,
  • discuss and/or answer the suggested questions below.

The list starts with a contemporary artist creating and orchestrating a pop song in 10 minutes. The rest of the list goes in historical order, from medieval music to present day.

Ben Folds Composes a Song Live

Ben Folds Composes a Song Live:

  • What is the conductor asking the audience to give Ben before starting?
  • What instruments does he call on? Sing along with each one.
  • Cellos? Clarinets? Violins? Flutes? Double Basses? Drum set? Trumpets?
  • Listen to the piece and tell when they play loud (forte) and when they play softly (piano).
  • What happens when the orchestra plays softly?
  • How do the conductor and the composer know how to end the piece at the same time?
  • Do you like the song?
  • Add your own words (or read some text, just as Ben) and sing along.

Medieval Music

Cantigas de Santa Maria:

  • Listen without watching: tell what instruments you hear (Use modern words like flute, guitar, drum, percussion, violin, etc.)
  • Listen and Watch again, and see if you guessed right.
  • Count how many instruments are playing at the same time, as the song progresses,
  • Listen again without watching and say what instruments are playing: “I hear the flute alone, now I hear the percussion joining in, now the ‘guitar’ “,
  • Sing along with the flute
  • Try to clap along with the percussionist
  • Use letters A, B, C to make a map of the form of the song

Beethoven Fifth Symphony

Beethoven 5th Symphony:

  • What is the name of the conductor?