Baroque Composers and lessons in the music classroom

Learning about baroque music has never been as much fun as it is with these music lesson plans.

These days Handel’s keyboard music is most often performed on a piano. At the time that this music was performed however pianos had not yet been invented, so keyboard music was generally played on 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?
Can you think of any factors in either instrument that may influence the way the music sounds?
Which sound is most appealing to you?
Do you think Handel would have liked the piano?
Recently musicians have been seeking to perform baroque music on instruments from the era. Why do you think they would do that?

Handel’s oratorio The Messiah is one of his most well known works. Imagine that you are in the audience of that first performance of the Messiah. Imagine that after the performance you are stopped by a reporter for the local television news. What would you say? You could choose one student to be the reported, and videotape interviews with “audience” members.

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