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Classical Kids Music Lessons: Antarctica/Arctic

Penguins Siggy Nowak/Pixabay

Need ideas for easy and fun at-home music learning? Here's our latest Classical Kids Music Lesson.

Earth has two polar regions- the Arctic (north) and Antarctica (south). Learn a little about each region and hear some music inspired by these remote places.

Target age range: K-6

1. Here is a short video that explains some key characteristics of each region.

2. After watching the video, look at the chart below. After each statement, say or write the correct region-Arctic or Antarctic.

Arctic or Antarctica? Katie Condon

3. Think about how a composer might try to capture the sounds of a polar region through music. Brainstorm a list of adjectives or objects associated with each region. Use words or pictures or a combination of both. See the boxes below for an example.

Arctic grid Katie Condon/Images from Pixabay


Antarctica grid Katie Condon/Images from Pixabay

Think about these questions as you consider how you might compose a piece about the Arctic or Antarctic regions.

• What instruments would you use to express these ideas through sound?
• What tempo (or speed of the music) would express cold and ice?
• How would you use dynamics to create the atmosphere of a polar region?

4. Listen to music inspired by these polar regions. First, let's visit Antarctica. Here is Nigel Westlake's Antarctica Suite for Guitar and Orchestra, Mvt. III Penguin Ballet.

5. Musician Terje Isunget is so inspired by the Arctic landscape that he creates instruments out of ice. In this video, he plays his ice instruments in a cave underneath a glacier. Notice how he uses his foot on crunchy snow to help keep the beat.

Here is another piece by Terje Isunget featuring ice instruments and including animation that is also inspired by the Arctic region.

6. After listening and watching, write down or tell someone three observations for each piece of music.

7. Find some more reading and resources for older students at the National Snow & Ice Data Center.

Have a question or suggestion? Contact Katie Condon, music education specialist.

More: View all of our Classical Kids Music Lessons

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