Twinkle, Twinkle, Changing Star | Free Music Lesson Plan (Theme & Variations)

from the Lesson Zone


Grade 2-4


Students will learn theme and variations form through a worksheet based listening activity. This lesson is designed to fulfill Standard #6 of the National Standards for Music: Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.


Recording of Ah, vous dirai je, maman
Twinkle, Twinkle, Changing Star Worksheet

'Twinkle, Twinkle, Changing Star' Music Lesson Plan

Step 1
Tell students, "We will be learning about theme and variations by listening to a famous piece by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart called Ah, vous dirai je, maman."

Step 2
Tell students, "I'm going to play the theme for this piece. As soon as you know what it is, raise your hand." Start the recording.

Step 3
Tell students, "Correct. The theme (melody) for this piece of music is Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star. Mozart didn't write the theme for this piece, though it was written when he was just a boy. The words that you all know were written in 1809, 17 years after Mozart died. He did, however, write the variations that follow. In fact he wrote them so well that this piece is one of the most popular piano pieces ever written."

Step 4
Tell students, "Theme and variations is a musical form. A theme is a melody. In theme and variation form, it is the only melody that the composer will write for his composition. A variation is a restatement of the theme in a different way. Variation means to change. In theme and variation form, the repeated melody will be changed each time it occurs. The composer may choose to change the notes of the melody, the harmony, the rhythm, or the instruments that play the melody."

Step 5
Tell students, "As we listen to Mozart's piece we will be describing each variation with a picture. If the variation sounds happy, you will draw a happy face on one of the stars on your worksheet." Show worksheet. "If the variation sounds excited, you will make your star look excited. Perhaps you could add a smile, raised arms and dancing shoes. Be creative."

Step 6
Tell students, "Before we begin, let's make a list of words that could describe a piece of music." Make list.

Step 7
Start recording. Stop recording after each variation. Ask students to complete one star for each variation as they listen.

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