Class Notes Opera: Lesson One - What is Opera?
Classical MPR and the Minnesota Opera are teaming up to bring opera for young people to the classroom or the living room.
This is the first in a series of two lessons that introduces the art form of opera to young learners. Teaching artist Victoria Korovljev will explain a little about opera. You will hear three singers perform a little bit of operatic music.
Content is designed for early elementary-aged children.
Note to teachers, parents, and caregivers:
The aim of these lessons is to promote student engagement and ensure comprehension. Throughout the lesson, Victoria gives prompts for both verbal and written responses. Read the following tips to help support both emerging readers/writers and pre-literate students.
For pre-literate students:
• Our host Victoria will ask questions directly to the camera during the lesson. Support and encourage young children to engage by answering the questions yourself. This modelling helps students engage with the material and promotes active learning. Press pause at any time if you need to repeat a question, or allow a child to expand on an answer.
For emerging readers/writers:
• Have a writing utensil and paper ready. Press pause, or direct children to pause, as time is needed to write down answers. Encourage the use of both words, sentences, and drawing pictures as appropriate. Feel free to adjust all material and approach to align with classroom literacy goals.
What is opera?
1. Introduce the word opera. If working with a group, say, "Raise your hand if you've heard of opera." Explain that you will be watching a video and that Victoria will tell them about opera.
2. Watch the video! Be prepared to pause if children need more time to respond to questions. During the video, Victoria will ask students to guess the "story" in three short excerpts, sung by three different singers. Scroll down to the bottom of this lesson to see a sample template to use with the "guess the story" part of the lesson.
3. Follow up with questions for discussion, reflection, or journaling:
• What is opera?
• Do you remember the name for a little "mini story" that is part of an opera?
• What is an aria (AH-ree-ah)?
• Describe the voice of someone who sings soprano (suh-PRAN-oe).
• Describe the voice of someone who sings bass (base).
• In Class Notes Opera Lesson #2, we will be telling our own stories. What story do you think you might want to tell through singing and music?
Create a worksheet like the one below to organize thoughts and ideas while listening to each short singing excerpt.
Adapt the activity to various ages by encouraging full sentences, describing words, and drawings as appropriate. Ask students what clues they heard in the music that helped them come up with their guess.
Tell us what you learned!
Have a question or suggestion? Contact Katie Condon, music education specialist.