Trepak (Russian Dance) from The Nutcracker | Music Lesson Plan (AABA Form)

from the Lesson Zone

Your elementary grade students will learn AABA form, and you'll enjoy this ready-to-teach music lesson plan for "Trepak" from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker.


Grade 2-4


Students will learn AABA form through this music listening lesson. This lesson is designed to fulfill Standard #6 of the National Standards for Music: Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.


Recording of Tchaikovsky's "Trepak" from The Nutcracker
Trepak Listening Map and Music Lesson Plan

"Trepak" from The Nutcracker Music Lesson Plan

Step 1
Tell students, "Today you're going to learn about musical form and listen to music from one of the most popular ballets of all-time." Ask students, "Can anyone guess what the ballet is called? It's very popular around Christmas. That's right! It's Tchaikovsky's, The Nutcracker."

Step 2
Tell the students, The Nutcracker includes many pieces. The one we'll listen to today is "Trepak."

Tell students, "I'm going to give everyone a listening map. When you get it, please place it on the floor in front of you." Pass out the listening map. If you'd like to provide a reading opportunity for your music students, pass out "The Trepak" page from the "Trepak Listening Map and Music Lesson Plan" and skip to Step 3.

Tell students, "Long before Tchaikovsky wrote his "Trepak" it was a popular dance in Russia and Ukraine. That's why this piece is also called, "Russian Dance." Some of you might have seen people dance the trepak and not even known it. It's always performed by men and it's a very fast dance. When they dance they squat and kick their feet out one at a time.

Step 3
Ask students, "Has anyone ever seen this dance before? Is there anyone who wants to try it?" Student volunteers. "Great! I'll put on the music." Start the recording and ask student to dance. "Way to go!" Student returns to their seat.

Step 4
Tell students, "(Student's name) was dancing to Tchaikovsky's "Trepak." Now let's learn about the musical form of this piece, beginning with a review of the listening map.

A Section
Tell students, "The music begins with two A sections. Two times through this section on the chart is one time through the A section. That means we have to repeat this part four times - more than the repeat sign calls for. The dancing boy represents accented sounds, which are a little louder than the rest of the music. The boots are the beats of the music. We'll tap our index finger on everything as the music plays."

B Section
Tell students, "The B Section is divided into two parts. The first part of the B section is played and repeated only once. That's just what the repeat sign asks us to do. We'll tap our index fingers on the candy canes to the steady beat of the music. The second part of the B Section is filled with dynamic changes, which makes the music exciting to listen to. It begins with an accent and an arrow. Tap your finger on the accent and slide on the arrow. The accent and arrow are repeated because the music is repeated. Tap and slide again. Next, four accents are given that get larger and larger showing that the music is getting louder. Tap - TAP - TAP! - TAP!!"

A Section
Tell students, "The A Section is repeated, but this time it's only played twice - exactly what the repeat signs ask you to do."

Tell students, "The Coda is the final section of a piece. We'll tap our finger on every boot until we get to the final accented note."

Step 6
Tell students, "I'll start the recording. Do your best to follow. If you get lost, look up to see where I am."

Step 7
Start recording.

Step 8
Ask students, "How did you do? Great! This time I'm going to reward the students that stay in the right spot with a piece of candy. I'll start the recording and stop somewhere in the middle. Next, I'll call a name from my roll book. If I call your name, and you're in the right place, you'll win the candy!"

Step 9
Start the recording. Randomly stop three times, giving students a chance to win.

Step 10
Review by asking students, "Who can tell me something about Tchaikovsky's "Trepak?" "What is musical form?" "What is the form of Tchaikovsky's 'Trepak?'" Reward students with candy.

Browse Best Seller Music Lesson Plans

Browse New Music Lesson Plans