Music, Music Everywhere
To appreciate more fully the gift of music
by The Revd Alan M. Barker
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To appreciate more fully the gift of music.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a recording of Elgar's Pomp & Circumstance March No. 1 (Land of Hope and Glory).
- A £20 note or notes.
- A simple line of music from a well-known song to display on an OHP.
- Note: You might like to link this with the 'Music of Friendship' assembly, also about Elgar.
- Play Elgar's Pomp & Circumstance March as the children gather. Begin by asserting that these days music seems to be everywhere. Refer to shops and public places where music is played and invite the children to reflect on why this is. Music can create a mood, help people to feel brighter and relaxed, or feel comfortable and at home.
- Refer to the £20 note(s) and ask one or more children to come to the front to look at them. Even the money we spend has music on it! Invite some children to examine the £20 note closely to discover some 'hidden notes'. On the front, beneath the words 'I promise to pay', there is some music notation. Display your line of music on the OHP. Talk together about its features, how it shows the notes and when they should be played. If recorder players are present, ask them to read the music and play the tune.
Reflect that music is rather like a language, which takes time and practice to learn. Invite anyone who is learning to play a musical instrument to share their joys and frustrations.
- Ask the children to turn over the £20 note to discover two musical instruments (a trumpet and a set of pipes); the patron saint of music (St Cecilia, whose festival day is 22 November); and a famous composer, Edward Elgar (who lived from 1857 to 1934).
Explain that Elgar composed the music played at the beginning of the assembly. Ask the children to describe the feelings that the piece evoked. Observe that playing and listening to music together can stir our emotions and imaginations very deeply. That's why music plays an important part in Christian worship.
In the design of the £20 note, a heavenly angel is playing the trumpet and there is a view of Worcester Cathedral, where Elgar first heard a full orchestra play at the age of nine. When he was older he went to the Cathedral to listen to its choir. Ask what kind of music the children enjoy listening to? Where is music performed locally?
- Explain that Elgar also loved walking and cycling in the countryside around the Malvern Hills. He said: 'Music is in the air all around you, just take as much as you want.' Invite the children to consider what he meant. Conclude with the thought that music isn't just played in many different places, it also flows from within. The gift of music can enable everyone to express their deepest feelings. Suggest that when the children are next using money they can think of the £20 note, and its design can remind them to give thanks for music, music, everywhere!
Time for reflection
Today we thank you for the gift of music,
for the skills of composers and musicians,
for songs to sing, instruments to play,
for the varied rhythms and harmonies of life.
'Praise the Lord in the rhythm of your music' (Come and Praise, 33)
Publication date: February 2004 (Vol.6 No.2) Published by SPCK, London, UK.