Learn About The Music of John Williams
Without a doubt, the most prolific composer of the Modern Era is John Williams.
This legendary film score composer has written music for over 100 films and won five Academy Awards.
You might not know that he also wrote music for television (Gilligan's Island), musicals (Fiddler on the Roof), and four Olympic games.
In short, the music of John Williams leaves indelible images in our minds and hearts - representing characters and moments in a way that is uniquely his.
Often, when parents ask me where to start with music appreciation, I will suggest the music of John Williams. The Imperial March from Star Wars or Hedwig's Theme from Harry Potter are familiar to just about anyone - and extremely rich in instrumentation and mood.
Children can so easily relate to a piece of symphonic music from a movie; it is the perfect entrance point (especially for teens!).
Teaching Children About John Williams
John Williams was born in 1932. After time spent at UCLA, in the Army, and then at Juliard, Williams began composing music.
It was his collaboration with Steven Spielberg that changed his career - and most of his film success has been in conjunction with Spielberg.
John Williams is also an accomplished conductor (he has conducted the Boston Pops and Chicago Symphony Orchestra) and pianist.
Use the following Spotify playlist to immerse your children in the music of John Williams. (Do your children know all of the movies he has written for? It's impressive!)
Activities - Questions to Ask
Children love to draw while listening to music.
Remember, encourage children to use the SQUILT technique the first time listening. Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time. Listening this way the first time allows children to simply be still and focus on the music!
Download this Draw What You Hear Sheet for the music of John Williams. Play any of the above-suggested pieces written by John Williams and allow your children to draw while listening.
The Elements of Music
As we listen to the music of John Williams, we can sneak in some questions to help our children think more deeply about the music.
- What instrumentation does John Williams use to convey the desired emotion or character sound?
- What is the mood John Williams is creating through his music?
- What is the tempo (speed of the beat) of the music?
- What are the dynamics (louds and softs) used in the music?
Learn More About John Wiliams in SQUILT LIVE!
Our SQUILT LIVE! members have access to an entire lesson about John Williams' music - originally presented on May 4, 2020.
And - each SQUILT LIVE! member receives the members-only volume, SQUILT Goes to the Movies, which includes five full PDF lessons exploring famous movie music - if your children love the music of John Williams, they will most certainly love this entire volume!
This May we will explore the magic of animation and classical music!