Saturday, December 3, 2016

Get Moving with Nutcracker: Movement Activities for Elementary Music

What I love about teaching music, is that with every season, comes the opportunity to introduce my students to the classics!  For most music teachers, Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Ballet is a standard for December and provides a rich variety of material to draw upon for instruction. 
 

Nutcracker: March Movement Activity
Several years ago, my friend, Kristin Kreiss, shared with me an amazing movement activity she created for the Nutcracker March.  With her permission, I am sharing it with you. 
 
To begin, pair each student with a partner.  Ask each pair to decide who will be partner one and partner two.  It is very important that each partner know his/her role!  Explain to your students that this is a follow the leader activity.  Partner one is going to move in pathways around the room and it is partner two's job to follow.
A Section - Each time the trumpet theme is played, partner one marches 8 macrobeats around the room. At the end of the trumpet theme, partner one stops.  Now it's partner two's turn!  As the string theme is played, partner two marches 16 microbeats, chasing after their partner.  On the 16th step, they should tap their partner on the shoulder, as partner one moves again.
B Section - During the B section, I have partners scatter anywhere in the room, but they have to be back with their partner by the end of the B section.
A Section - Have partners reverse roles.  Partner one is now partner two and vice versa.
 
Nutcracker: Trepak Movement Activity
You can do a similar with Trepak as well.  To vary it a bit, I used foam swords from that I purchased from the Dollar Tree last year.  

Partner the kids together.  Ask the students to decide who is going to be partner 1 and partner 2.  Partner 2 begins by holding his/her sword still as Partner 1 taps macrobeats against it for 4 beats.  Then Partner 1 holds his/her sword still as Partner 2 taps microbeats against it for 4 beats.   You can see a video of my students do this.  If you can't use foam swords in your classroom, pool noodles cut in half or rhythm sticks would work just as easily.
 
 
 
Nutcracker: Dance & Freeze
Another fun way to get your littlest ones moving to the Nutcracker is simply doing a "Dance & Freeze" using music from the Nutcracker.  I love to use movement cards to help students who may need a prompt to imagine how to move their body.   I have an interactive product called, Dance & Freeze: The Nutcracker Edition that allows students to click on all the different characters of the Nutcracker to reveal a new movement to explore in their bodies. 
I hope this gives a few ideas to get your students listening to and moving to The Nutcracker this year!

Let me know how you like to use The Nutcracker in your classroom!