‘My Many Coloured Days’ – Emotions and Music

A few years ago, I was creating a unit of work looking at music and emotions. As we do, we scour high and low for appropriate resources and ideas to engage students in a variety of ways. I love including books in class. I stumbled across the book My Many Coloured Days by Dr Suess. Further hunting about the book led me to the Notes Alive animated and orchestrated version of the book! And it’s fantastic!

The Minnesota Orchestra perform music composed by Richard Einhorn and it is narrated by Holly Hunter.

Watch the movie HERE – My Many Coloured Days Notes Alive

The worksheet below accompanies the video and prompts students to actively listen and take notes on what they hear. Prior to watching, as a class, we go through the terms: Instrumentation; Dynamics; Tempo; Articulation.

After watching and taking notes, go through the sheets as a class. Discuss with students what things they noticed about the composer’s choices to reflect the mood of a particular colour.

  • What instruments made it sound happy/sad/bright/dark?
  • What dynamics did a certain colour have? Did the dynamics stay the same or did they change? What effect did this have on the music and mood?
  • Was the tempo fast/slow? Did the tempo stay the same? Did it accelerate or slow down? Why might the composer have chosen that tempo?
  • Were the notes long/short/jumpy/legato/staccato? What impact did this have?
  • How did the music make you feel?

As an extension/follow on from this activity, get students to use instruments to create their own ‘mood music’ composition. You can use traditional instruments that they may play, classroom percussion instruments, or even found sounds – everyday objects. Students can be prompted by using the different colours or pages from the book or you could find your own images for them to gain inspiration.

Music is so emotive and this is a really great way to lead students into considering how music can be used to create and enhance mood.

Happy music making and exploring.

Danielle x

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