A Sample Lesson
1. Pick a playlist of at least five different pieces of music. Consider how the music evokes a mood and choose music that taps into different emotions. A great resource for highly charged, emotional music is film scores. It works best when students are unfamiliar with the music that they will be experimenting with to avoid any preconceived notions of what the music is supposed to be about.
2. Explain to the class that the goal for the day is to move to the music in a way that matches the way the music feels. Depending on the critical thinking skills of your students, you may find a need to demonstrate with a couple of pieces, playing the music and then asking students to identify what emotion they hear in the notes.
3. Be sure that students understand that the day's exercises are individual activities. Many students feel the need to seek comfort from friends when they feel self-conscious, and this exercise can make even the most secure performer feel exposed. Being by yourself during the movement is helpful. If your class struggles with self-consciousness, consider asking them to move with their eyes closed for the first song or so.
4. Play through your playlist, stopping after each song to allow the students a chance to rest and reflect on their movement. What movements worked? What pace and rhythm best fit the mood?
5. At the end of the lesson, ask students to prepare a short, 15-second series of movements for the next class period. The goal is to get the class to correctly guess the emotion behind the movement!