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Teacher Notes

Resource created by Heritage Quay

This resource accompanies the film 'Music', which can be viewed here.  The full resource can be downloaded as a teacher pack from the resources page.


Curriculum Links

  • KS2 Music: “using and understanding staff and other musical notation”

An example of graphic notation is shown and children are able to listen to the piece being performed. Suggestions are made for classroom activity to create and perform graphic scores.

  • KS2 Music: “appreciate and understand a wide range of music from different traditions”

Genres heard in the film include jazz dance and contemporary percussive music. Children are introduced to the idea that music can be used to express, inspire and reflect emotion. Suggestions for follow up activities are provided.

  • KS2 Music: “develop an understanding of the history of music”

The film gives shows different formats for recording music and gives an introduction to the development of popular music in the early 20th century. The resource can also be used to support the curriculum for Physical Education at

  • KS1 and KS2 Music and Dance: “perform dances using simple movement patterns”

Children can learn steps for one of the dances listed in the film, perhaps using the track “Happy Feet.”


Activity Ideas


Graphic notation evolved in the 1950s and replaces traditional musical notation with symbols and pictures. Children can:

  • Learn which sounds are represented by symbols created and givenby the teacher

  • Respond to those symbols depicted in a grid – practice reading them in different patterns

  • Create their own symbols for different sounds and fill in a blank grid on the whiteboard

  • Children can follow each other’s tunes

  • Play consequences using notational symbols instead of images and play the resulting tune

  • Play pass the sound – pass an invisible mimed object around the circle, the person oppostie gives the matching sound, e.g. baby crying.

Show children clips of musicians using everyday objects, including body percussion and vegetable orchestras. Tell them the story of Peter Grimes, by Benjamin Britten. They can:

  • Create graphic notation for vegetables and body percussion

  • Create a graphic score for “Storm” from Peter Grimes – see Further links and Resources

Such Nights by Amber Priestley (featured in the film) was inspired by the tedium endured by an office worker – hence the use of the typewriter. The title is taken from a poem by Walt Whitman. Children could:

  • Choose a piece of poetry as a starting point for their own piece.

  • Choose an every day object which links to their piece in some way

Children can consider the mood conveyed by Such Nights. How does it make them feel? What kind of music would they compose to make someone feel happy? Sad? Brave?

Play Soundtrack: children provide the soundtrack for a silent film. Assemble children in a circle. The conductor tells the story, and at various points, asks a member of the circle who must immediately act out the part just mentioned. Continue until everyone in the circle has a part.

Next, number the children in sequence 1,2, and 3. Retell the story but this time the conductor points only to the 1s, who act the part. Number 2 is directed to make the sounds that match their neighbour’s acting.


Sign the class up to and enjoy 60 seconds of sound appreciation every day.

Ask the children to list all the places and occasions they hear music – some are given in the film. How does music make them feel? What is their favourite piece? Favourite sound? Find out what popular music children and the rest of their family are listening to.

  • Compare today’s music with popular music of the 1930s (see Further Links and Resources)

Listen to different versions of the same song, e.g. Miss Otis Regrets by

Find out what the lyrics mean – which singer do the children think best captures the mood of the song?


Developing an understanding of the history of music

Listen to the lyrics from other songs of the 30s, e.g:

Compare them with some of today’s lyrics. What do they notice?

Many songs/tunes from the 20s and 30s have continued to be used. Do the children recognise any of these?

Rhapsody in Blue composed by Paul Whiteman in 1924 featured in:

  • Great Gatsby 2013, Fantasia 2000, United Airlines Safety video and Chicago (That Toddling Town)

It’s Only a Paper Moon, composed by Arlen, Harburg and Rose in 1933 featured in:

  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Happy Feet, featured in the educational video, written by Yellen and Ager in 1930 can be heard here and also appeared in:

  • Muppet Show 1978

  • Advert for Clark’s shoes

  • Strictly Ballroom 1992

Listen to other music composed by Amber Priestley, e.g.

  • Did Not Feel Very Well at Skool

  • The Spider Woman’s Magic Formula

Compare these with the piece featured in the film (Such Nights), for which she wrote a traditional and a graphic score.

Take students on the Heritage Music Trail around Huddersfield and discover the town’s diverse musical heritage (See Further Links and Resources)


Children can:

  • Perform the pieces they have composed

  • Form a carrot kazoo band or vegetable orchestra and perform

Children may be familiar with many of the dances mentioned in the film from watching the TV series Strictly Come Dancing. They could learn some of the dances which were popular in the 1930s and perform the. Tutorials can be found at:

Explain to the children that at the time Jay Wilbur’s band was performing, dancing was very popular, and the role of the singer was central to the success of the band, unlike today. Many pieces were purely instrumental.

Consider taking part in Huddersfield’s Mrs. Sunderland Music Festival. The archives are also held at Heritage Quay.

This film and pack have been developed to introduce schools and home educated students to the musical collections in the University of Huddersfield’s archives.

The archives contain many more collections than can be covered here and educators should refer to the online catalogues at

NB If you wish to perform the piece in the film, or any other piece by Amber Priestley, please email her at


Internal Links

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Industry at Heritage Quay

Politics at Heritage Quay

The Arts at Heritage Quay

Politics at Heritage Quay