Using film music in the classroom
Using film music in the classroom

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Using film music in the classroom

1 3. From experience to interpretation

In almost all films, the visual story is completed first, dialogue and sound effects are then added and music is composed last of all. However, when Disney made the animated film Fantasia in 1940, they reversed the process, producing animations based on pieces of classical music. You may like to look at the Disney archives website, or read some information about the making of Fantasia from the Disney family museum website.

At the time, this was thought of as a way to popularise classical music, and to make audiences more comfortable with hearing music in films. The earliest audiences were often confused about where the music was coming from, especially if they couldn't see an orchestra.

Activity 3 imitates Disney's Fantasia process to help pupils analyse different expressive musical elements. A segment of music from Fantasia is a good basis for the activity. You might like to finish the activity by comparing pupil responses with the original film scene.

Activity 3

Click 'View document' to open Storyboard worksheet

View document [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

Choose a piece of film music from a soundtrack album (preferably without voice over) of about two minutes in length. An effective choice would include a change of melody, mood or tempo in the middle. Play this piece of music to the pupils several times and ask them either to:

  • draw up a storyboard (click on the link above for a storyboard worksheet) or

  • write a short scene or

  • write a short piece of prose to describe the action for this music.

Then share the outcomes, asking pupils to read their prose or scene aloud, or lead through the pictures on their storyboard. Ask pupils to compare with each other how they responded to mood, tempo, and significant moments in the piece.

TL_MUSICT3

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus