I prepared a spooky music listening session for my school-age kiddos this week and I’m EXCITED about it!

My goals for the students in these classes are:

  • To improve auditory perception skills (ie. listening skills)
  • To improve sustained attention
  • And, to practice using adjectives (one of the goals shared by their teachers)

These goals, paired with the fact that Halloween is coming up, led me to create a spooky music listening session for the students.

We started off with The Halloween Rhythm Repeat (you can get a PDF of this musical experience sent straight to your inbox!) as a warm up to work on listening skills and sustained attention.

Following that, we listened to three pieces of music, took part in some listening activities, and filled out a listening sheet that I created. Out of all the spooky sounding classical music out there (and there is a LOT), I narrowed it down to three pieces:

Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” (you know it from Fantasia)

Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in d minor” (think creepy organ music)

Saint-Saëns’ “Danse Macabre” (the students knew it from Mickey’s Halloween)

Here’s the plan for each musical selection:

  1. Listen to the music – no writing, no watching, just listening.
  2. Listening Activity – Examples include: True or False (where I shared four statements about the piece or composer and the students told me if they thought those statements were true or false) and Let’s Vote (where I paused the music to see if they could identify the instrument being played).
  3. Watch video of a live performance of the piece. Each classroom has a laptop and Promethean board so I pulled the music up on YouTube. This was especially neat for “Toccata and Fugue,” as the students were VERY intrigued by the organ!
  4. Listening Sheet – Finally, each student answered questions on their Listening Sheet. The last question prompted them to circle the musical elements that make a piece sound “spooky” (minor mode, sudden dynamic changes, etc.) and compared them with the musical elements that make a piece sound “happy.”

Have you ever done a music listening activity for Halloween? I would love to hear what music you used and how you facilitated the activity. Leave a comment below to let us know!