3 In the Hall of the Mountain King Music Lesson Ideas

Thanks in part to the Trolls movies, kids are already pretty familiar with – and excited about! – In the Hall of the Mountain King. Over the years, it’s become a staple in my K-2 curricula.

Even better – there are sooo many concepts you can teach with it:

  • beat
  • rhythm
  • form
  • melodic contour
  • tempo
  • dynamics

Here are 3 In the Hall of the Mountain King music lesson ideas:

1. Introduce half note with movement

No In the Hall of the Mountain King music lesson is complete without some sneaking around! First, we use locomotor and/or nonlocomotor movement that goes with the rhythm of the melody. For example, we might tip toe for ti-ti, stamp for ta, and slide for half note. Sliding for half note helps students understand that it fills up the entire space of two beats, differentiating it from ta followed by ta rest.

Later on, I have students write or use manipulatives to show their understanding of half note. They don’t have to know what it’s called yet – they just have to get the gist. As a bonus, you can practice dynamics and tempo. Have them sneak when it’s quiet and stomp when it’s loud. And of course, practice careful locomotor movement (or just go nonlocomotor) while working on fast and slow.

2. Practice form by following a listening map

Listening maps are great visuals for teaching form. The first time through, I simply point to where we’re at on the listening map – no commentary. From there, I prompt students to share their observations. What looks the same? What looks different? Why might that be? When we listen again, we can test out these hypotheses.

You can opt to only show the listening map on the board or hand out copies to each student. I prefer to do it together on the board at least once or twice before handing them out to the kids. It’s helpful that In the Hall of the Mountain King is very repetitive. It makes it easier to see the overall form!

3. Keep the beat circle pass

Your students have probably played passing games before, whether in your room, in another class, or on the playground. They may be used to keeping a steady beat at one certain tempo. When passing the ball to In the Hall of the Mountain King, what happens? (Hint: It speeds up!) This can be a great review of tempi or an introduction to the term “accelerando”.

Hooking your students in is key to keeping them engaged and learning. This is why I created an entire interactive In the Hall of the Mountain King music lesson series for students in K-2. Want to get your hands on it?

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