Sleigh Ride | Holiday Listening Activity

Each week the older classes have a “Listen and Think” to start their lesson.  This week’s “Listen and Think” is Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride.  I post this flipchart page on the board as students enter class….

and we read the questions aloud.  Then I play the following video of John Williams conducting The Boston Pops “Sleigh Ride.” 

Volunteers discuss their opinions of what instruments they heard and what the music reminded them of.  (Typical answers I receive:  temple blocks for the horse hooves, trumpet for the horse whinny, slap stick for the whip; winter, Christmas, snow, the Nutcracker (?? – don’t understand this one but I always get this response – LOL!)).

Then I display the next slide…

And we “popcorn read” the bulleted points, as I expound upon Mr. Anderson’s life.  A great resource is Leroy Anderson’s official website, so I add extra little bits of info, like what exactly is the Boston Pops or where is Harvand.  Then its time for the next slide…

…and we talk about how Mr. Anderson conceptualized and composed Sleigh Ride.  Much to my surprise, I was impressed to learn that the lyrics to Sleigh Ride  were written post-composition, 2 years later!  As we played this in band every year, I always thought, “It sure is cool Mr. Anderson wrote this great piece to the tune of Sleigh Ride.”  Maybe that was my youth and inexperience, but I was fascinated to find out the lyrics were added later!!!  The wikipedia article for Sleigh Ride is a great resource for this…check it out.
We conclude our “Listen and Think” by singing the lyrics with the following Amy Grant recording.  I picked this one because of the good display of the lyrics (like karaoke) but I do apologize for the 5 second ad at the beginning.  I guess that’s what you get for using free things!

I hope you will enjoy this mini-lesson!  What kinds of listening activities and lessons do you use in your classroom?  Leave a comment and please share!

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