Here are a few ideas you can use if creating a music lesson plan about Baroque composer G.F. Handel.
Today when you hear keyboard music by Handel played, it is usually played on a piano. However, pianos were not around in Handel’s day and the music was originally written for an instrument called a harpsichord. Have the students research differences between the instruments, looking at the time when each instrument was invented, and the methods of sound production in each instrument.
After reviewing the differences between the piano and the harpsichord, listen to recordings of each of these instruments and then discuss the actual differences in sound. You may like to consider the following topics:
How would you describe the sound of each instrument?
What factors in the instruments make them sound a particular way?
Which instruments sound do you prefer?
Do you think Handel would have liked the piano?
In recent years, there has been a lot of interest in playing baroque and classical music on original instruments. Why do you think this is so?
Handel’s oratorio The Messiah is one of his most well known works. Pretend that you are watching the very first performance ever of this piece. On the way out, you are stopped to be interviewed by the local television news (…just use your imagination!). What would you say? You could choose one student to be the reported, and videotape interviews with “audience” members.