Introduction to the Modern Era
The Modern Era began in roughly 1900 and continues to this day. The Modern Era encompasses so MANY styles of music. For a thorough understanding, reading this 20th Century Timeline will prove VERY helpful!
Modern music was greatly influenced by events in history... specifically World Wars I and II. Composers broke all previous musical “rules” and created many new and interesting sounds. You can see these trends in art and literature, as well.
Watch this video of favorite Modern composers
Lesson 1: The Entertainer by Scott Joplin
Listen to The Entertainer (choose one of the following links for listening):
The rhythms in this piece (and Ragtime in general) are SYNCOPATED.
Read about Scott Joplin at Making Music Fun.
Listen to this show about Ragtime from Classics for Kids.
Watch the piano keys and graphic score for The Entertainer
The Entertainer performed on Classical guitar
How about The Entertainer performed on a pipe organ?
Finally, a performance of The Entertainer by an orchestra
What is your favorite Rag? Listen to these three famous Rags and decide which is your favorite!
Lesson 2: Bolero by Maurice Ravel
Listen to Bolero by Maurice Ravel. Choose one of the following links for listening:
Listen to the Flash Mob play Bolero
Read more about Ravel at Brittanica Kids
Another of Ravel’s famous works was The Mother Goose Suite
Lesson 3: Evening in the Village by Bela Bartok
Listen to Evening in the Village – Orchestral Transcription
Evening in the Village (flute and piano)
Evening in the Village (played by an 8 year old pianist)
Evening in the Village (played by Bartok himself!
Bear Dance – another piece from Hungarian Sketches – this is a favorite of children!
Read about Bartok at Classics for Kids
Another biography at The Famous People
Lesson 4: Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinksy
Read about Igor Stravinsky at Classics for Kids
Listen to the Opening from Rite of Spring on YouTube (includes dancing – parents: please preview)
Listen to the Opening from Rite of Spring on YouTube (follow the music)
Watch this video about the bassoon
Listen to this bassoon solo
Can you hear a bassoon in “Tears of a Clown” by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles?
Lesson 5: I Got Rhythm by George & Ira Gershwin
Listen to I Got Rhythm performed by Ella Fitzgerald
Watch this Sesame Street video about Scat Singing.
Read about George Gershwin at Making Music Fun.
This song has been performed and arranged many, many times. Listen to these three versions – which strikes a chord with you?
Lesson 6: Sabre Dance by Aram Khachaturian
Listen to Sabre Dance via YouTube and the Berlin Philharmonic
Listen to Sabre Dance via YouTube and the Classic FM Orchestra
Parents: Listen to this Morning Edition episode about Khachaturian – learn about this “one little rambunctious piece”.
Read more about Khachaturian and folk music at DSO Kids
There are MANY versions of Sabre Dance! Give each of these a rating between 1 and 5 stars (5 being the best):
Sabre Dance Boogie
Liberace plays Sabre Dance
Sabre Dance performed by a street violinist
Marimba Ponies performing Sabre Dance
Lesson 7: Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland
Listen to Fanfare For The Common Man
Listen to another recording of Fanfare for the Common Man with added content from Emerson, Lake, & Palmer (this version includes something extra at the end – this is good supplemental listening!)
To learn more about the Brass Family, explore this site, where you can click on different families and learn about them.
Listen to these pieces and transport yourself to that place or time. Which is your favorite?
Learn more about Aaron Copland at Making Music Fun.
Lesson 8: Mambo from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein
Listen to this fun recording of Mambo
Listen to another version of Mambo – lots of good shots of the instruments here!
Watch the Mambo scene from West Side Story below, then read about Bernstein at Making Music Fun!
Lesson 9: Superman March by John Williams
Listen to the Superman March
John Williams conducts the March from Superman - (this is good for watching the conducting and seeing the instrumentation)
Meet John Williams!
Children might enjoy this television interview with John Williams.
Students may enjoy listening to just a few of his compositions:
Lesson 10: Overture from Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Parents/Teachers: Read a brief synopsis of The Phantom of the Opera. It is up to you whether or not to share this with your students – you be the judge based on their age and maturity.
Listen to The Overture from The Phantom of the Opera
More Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Which of these do you like the best?