Farewell, Summer - A Complimentary Lesson

Each time I teach a music appreciation lesson I am reminded that children are capable of so much more than we give them credit for!

Our last lesson of the summer in SQUILT LIVE! was magical. Many times the students amaze me with their sensitivity, understanding, and creativity. The American female composer Amy Beach is unknown to most people. Her story, however, is greatly inspiring, and the music she composed is lovely.

Farewell, Summer: A Complimentary Music Appreciation Lesson

This music appreciation lesson is perfect for all ages, and will take you anywhere from 30 minutes-1 hour (depending on how you would like to expand, discuss, etc...). It is a shortened version of what I taught my SQUILT LIVE! students,  condensed into a do-it-yourself format.

Follow these steps exactly and you will give your children a beautiful taste of piano music, story, recognizing patterns, and more! 

Download this printable for your children to use during the lesson.

Farewell, Summer by Amy Beach

Tell your children that Amy Beach was an American female composer born in 1867 in New Hampshire. She was unusually talented from a young age (a prodigy), and composed this first piece, "Mamma's Waltz" when she was just FOUR YEARS OLD! 

Listen to the piece (this is Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time). Have your children get a picture in their head while they are listening with their eyes closed. When the music is over, ask them to tell you what they were thinking about.

(All answers are correct. Encourage creativity!)


After listening, explain you will now learn more about Amy Beach's amazing life. Share the recording of Pitch Perfect and Persistent: The Musical Debut of Amy Cheney Beach. You may want to discuss the meaning of "persistent" and ask your children to be on the lookout for ways in which Amy was PERSISTENT when she was a child. 

Next, tell your children you will be listening for patterns in a piano SOLO Amy wrote called Farewell, Summer. In this piece they will listen for an "A" section, a "B" section, and also a "CODA".

Tell them the literal meaning of CODA is "a tail" - in music it is something tacked on at the end of the music. 

Now, it's time to use the printable. Cut out the cards and explain to your children that they will watch the following video and lay their cards out as they see them in the video. Tell them they should notice a difference in the music each time the cards change.

Children may want to do this activity a few times, until they get comfortable with putting the cards out to match the video. The goal is for your children to be able to not look at the video and be able to lay the cards out as they hear the changes in the music.

In our LIVE! lessons, I had several of the children creating their own stories to go with the music. Here's an example I just loved - you can encourage your children to come up with their own stories, too.

"In the first A section it's like you are enjoying your time in the pool. In the B section it is like a river flowing smoothly and the wind gently blowing. In the second A section it is like on last swim. For the CODA you are thinking of your summer and all the past memories."

Children may also want to draw their own pictures to go with each section. Let them get as creative as they want in response to the music.

You will also see the piano sheet music in the handout. Your children can observe the intricacies of a piano composition. Older students who are piano players may want to see if they can play any part of the music.

This is such a simple lesson that packs a big punch. Potential follow-ups include:

  • Investigating this time in history more carefully - Amy was part of advancing the rights of women composers

  • Look up and listen to more of Amy Beach's music - use it as the backdrop for your week.

  • Research other American female composers/performers like Florence Mills


If you would like more lessons like this, taught LIVE!, join us in SQUILT LIVE! Membership is always open!


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1 comment

  • We really enjoyed this and learned a lot about a composer I had never heard of! My kids and I were amazed at that first waltz written when she was four! Wow!


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