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Bethany Hamann - 1608384

Film Music Unit Plan

Topic: Film Music
Term/Weeks: Term 3
Unit Description

Band: 9-10
Year Level: 9
Length of Unit: 10 weeks (1 lesson per week)

In this unit of work students will explore why and how music is used in film. They will study examples of film and music
ranging from 1920 silent films to modern day blockbusters, and will learn how film music can reflect different moods and
feelings. Students will also have the opportunity to study famous and influential film composers and discover what
compositional techniques they incorporated into their film music.
Students will demonstrate their knowledge and understanding by participating in a number of individual and group
learning activities. These activities aim to build students skills in performing, listening and composing, as well as providing
opportunities for appraising and evaluation. Towards the end of the unit, students will complete an individual assignment
where they are to compose the film music for a short cartoon using the program GarageBand. They will also complete a
story board for their assignment as well as an analysis of their composition.
Assumed Knowledge
Basic musical literacy skills (i.e reading and writing simple notation on a stave)
Be able to play and perform simple notation on a keyboard or tuned percussion instrument such as a glockenspiel
Simple time signatures 4/4, 3/4, 2/4
Key Signatures such as C major, G major, D major, A minor
Experience in using Garageband
Basic analytical and listening skills
Learning Objectives:
By the end of this unit students will be able to:
Recognise the role of music within film and identify how music is used to reflect mood/emotion.
Distinguish different moods in music through listening activities
Identify different techniques used in film music such as Mickey-mousing and the Leitmotif and be able to
incorporate them into compositions
Confidently compose and perform simple compositions
Complete a story board
Perform an analysis and evaluation of own compositions
Unit Structure (timeline)
Lesson 1:
Introduce film music unit by first playing a short scene from Pirates of the Carrabin.
In groups of 4, students will watch that scene and come up with a single word that
they think describes the mood/atmosphere created (e.g heroic, brave, love, sorrow).
They will also list what musical features contributed to creating this
mood/atmosphere (e.g. instrumentation, tempo, tonality etc). Next, play the same
scene but with different background music. Ask students to write what they think the
mood is now and what musical features contributed to this. Before playing the scene
a third time, tell the students that the music will be sad and thoughtful. Ask the
groups to brainstorm ways in which they can make music sound sad and thoughtful.
After a brief discussion, play the film and see if any suggestions from the students
were present in the film music.
Take this opportunity to explain that music in film is a powerful tool that helps to
convey and reflect different moods and feelings.
Hand out Glossary of Terms worksheet for students to put in folders/stick in
workbooks. Explain that every time a new term is introduced, it will be written on the
glossary page along with a definition

Required Resources/Additional Notes

Pirates of the Caribbean Boat
Scene I Want to Grow Old with
You from UP
Analysis Worksheet
Glossary of Terms worksheet

Bethany Hamann - 1608384

Watch the I want to Grow Old with You scene from the animated movie UP. Students
individually fill in an analysis worksheet that helps students to identify when and how
the mood changes and how it complements the film. Discuss answers as a class.
Lesson 2:
Introduce film music that was used for silent films in the 1920s and 1930s. Discuss how
a piano player and/or small band would accompany the silent films. Show pictures and
examples scores and music used, and introduce the Mickey-Mousing technique.
Watch an example of a silent film Charlie Chaplin and the Eating Machine. While
watching the film, students are to do an analysis (e.g Instrumentation, tempo, mood
created, where and how the mickey-mousing technique was used).
Students form groups of 4 in an activity to demonstrate Mickey-mousing. Students
choose one member of the group to be the actor. The actor re-enacts the eating
scene from Eating Machine and the rest of the group adds the sound effects using a
variety of different instruments and objects.
Each group performs their scene to the class.

Lesson 3:
Introduce the leitmotif by playing examples of the leitmotif of the shark in Jaws and
Darf Vader from Star Wars. See if students can recognise the leitmotifs.
Explore and discuss what makes a good leitmotif and how it reflects appropriate
character traits (use the Jaws and Darf Vader leitmotifs as examples).
In groups/pairs students compose their own leitmotif based on a cartoon character
(choose between Cinderella, Tigger, The Hulk, or The Evil Queen). Worksheet to help
with this.
Groups perform their leitmotif to the class, and the class guesses what character it
represents. Group then discusses and evaluates the effectiveness of their leitmotif.
Set homework task

Lesson 4:
Students are given the opportunity to perform their leitmotif composition from their
homework task. The class will try and guess what character it represents.
Introduce Australian film music by playing a game where snippets of film music are
played and the students have to guess whether it is Australian film music or not.
Play example Ngarra Burra Ferra from the movie The Sapphires and get students to
do quick analysis (e.g. instrumentation, tempo, time signature, what mood or feeling it
Students are divided into groups of 4-5, and each group is given an Australian film
composer to research (includes Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island music and
composers). The groups are given questions to guide their research such as: Date of
birth, films the composer has composed for, well known pieces etc.
Each group gives a short 3 minute presentation on their Australian Composer which
includes an audio example of one of the composers pieces (found on YouTube).
Lesson 5
Introduce story boards by watching a video that shows what a story board is, how to
make one, and why they are useful -especially for film composers.
Look at and discuss an example of a story board for a scene from Toy Story.
Students individually complete a music story board for a short Tom and Jerry scene.

Fact sheet on Music used in

Silent Films
Silent film example Charlie
Chaplin and the Eating Machine.
Computer/projector/speakers to
play film example
Various musical instruments and
objects such as keyboards,
glockenspiels, triangles, wooden
blocks, rhythm sticks, shakers
Props such as tables, chairs,
bowls, plates, utensils
Adequate space for students to
work in groups
PowerPoint for explanation of a
leitmotif. Includes audio and
visual examples of Darf Vader
and Jaws leitmotif.
Leitmotif composition
worksheet to use in groups and
for homework task
Instruments such as tuned
percussion (e.g. glockenspiels),
keyboards, guitars
Adequate space for students to
work in groups
Instruments to perform leitmotif
Student access to internet
through laptops, iPads, or other
Australian Composers worksheet
Audio example Ngarra Burra
Ferra from The Sapphires
Australian film music examples

Storyboard explanation video:

Bethany Hamann - 1608384

Discuss as a class

Toy Story example

Tom and Jerry Video:
Tom and Jerry Story Board

Lesson 7:
Continue working on Assignment

Assignment sheet
Example of storyboard and
completed assignment
Computers/iPad. If students have
their own laptops/iPad they can
use Garageband and work on
their assignment at home. If not,
students can use school
computers and more lesson time
will be given for the assignment.
Tom and Jerry films
Headphones for students to use

Lesson 8:
Continue Working on Assignment

Headphones for students to use

Lesson 9:
Continue working on Assignment

Headphones for students to use

Lesson 10:
Presentations/Collect Assignments
Hand out Unit Evaluation Forms for students to fill out and return

Projector and speakers for
Unit evaluation sheet

Lesson 6:
Introduce and handout Film Music Composition Assignment. Students are to choose
from 1 of 3 short films to which they are to compose their own film music. The
assignment must include a completed story board for their video, film music
composition, and an analysis of their composition.
As a class watch the 3 different Tom and Jerry films
Show an example of a completed assignment
Students begin working on their storyboard

Role Play


Assessment Details
Overview of assessment task
Word Count/Other Requirements
Students form groups of 3-4 and re-enact a
Each Group must include at least 5
short scene based on a silent movie watched
mickey-mousing examples
Formative Group in class. Students must provide the sound
Each group performs their scene
effects by using instruments/utensils/objects
to the class
found around the classroom.
Formative Group Students form groups of 3-4 and work
Students complete the first half of
together to compose their own leitmotif
the Leitmotif Composition
based on a character such as Cinderella, The
Worksheet which is slightly
Incredible Hulk, Tigger, or The Evil Queen
scaffolded to assist them in writing
(group chooses one). The group then
a leitmotif.
performs their leitmotif and the class
guesses what character the leitmotif is based
Students apply what they have learnt in
Students complete the second half
lessons and in the group task to individually
of the Leitmotif Composition
homework task
compose their own leitmotif. They will have
Worksheet which is slightly
the opportunity to perform their
scaffolded to assist students to write
composition to the class and explain their
a leitmotif
Due at the beginning of next lesson

Bethany Hamann - 1608384

(Week 4)
Film Music


Students are to individually complete a film

music composition assignment. Students are
to choose one of three short video clips of
which they are to compose the background
music. The assignment is split into 3
Section A = Story Board. Students are to
complete a storyboard that highlights when
the music changes and where to include
techniques such as mickey-mousing and
Section B = Composition of the film music on
Garage Band.

Section A = 25%
Section B = 50%
Section C = 25%
Film music is to include a minimum
of 4 mickey-mousing examples and
at least 2 leitmotifs.
Analysis is to be 250 words
Assignment due at the end of
Lesson in week 10

Section C = Analysis. Students to complete a

short analysis describing their choices for
their film music and what techniques are
used and why. Also must include whether
they think their music is effective and what
they could do to improve.
Differentiation of Assessment:
Mickey-Mousing Role Plays
Teacher gives a struggling group specific mickey-mousing techniques that they need to include in their role-play
Struggling students may instead watch a short animation and write down at least 2 different mickey-mousing
Leitmotif Compositions
Teacher may help struggling groups by giving the first bar of the leitmotif and the group composes the rest
A struggling student may be given a leitmotif for a character with 2 or 3 missing notes. The students use their skills
to complete the leitmotif by choosing notes to fill in the gaps.
Film Music Composition Assignment
Students may be given an already completed story board to base their composition on
The analysis word count may be reduced
Students may be given completed background music for a video to which they are to just include sound effects
Teacher Evaluation:
Note whether students have gained a solid understanding of the techniques used in film music. Were students able to
demonstrate their understanding through their leitmotif compositions, mickey-mousing role plays, and film music
Have Students understood how music is used to create different moods and atmospheres in film?
Were the activities set at the right standard? If not, how can this be improved?
Were the learning activities engaging, motivating, and inspiring?
Did activities appeal to all learning types?
Were the activities flexible enough to allow for differentiation among students? Which students were having difficulties?

Bethany Hamann - 1608384

At the end of the unit, pass out evaluation sheet which contains questions such as:
What did you learn?
What was your favourite activity in the unit of work? Why?
What was your least favourite activity in the unit of work? Why?
Any other comments/suggestions
Key Activity/
analysis of film
music to
how music can
evoke different
Film music

and Skills

Knowledge and skills Addressed:

General capabilities and Crosscurriculum priorities covered:

Evaluating the use of the elements of

music when listening to and interpreting

Critical and creative thinking


Consider viewpoints. For example: How

does music used in film influence and
stimulate an emotional response in an
Applying an aural understanding of key
and tonality when improvising and
Experimenting with layering of sound to
develop a personal style in improvisation
and composition
Exploring use of elements of music in
different music styles, including those
from other cultures and time, as a
stimulus for improvisation
Manipulate sound sources and technology
to suggest or replicate style
Experimenting with and comparing how
elements of music are used to
communicate musical intentions
Combining and manipulating the elements
of music using repetition, variation and
contrast to shape compositions
Exploring and manipulating combinations
of electronic and acoustic sounds to
create new works, using technology as a
composition tool and sound source
Considering viewpoints e.g. How does
music used in games or film influence and
stimulate an emotional response in an
Experimenting with and comparing how
elements of music are used to
communicate musical intentions
Using notation to record compositions
Rehearsing solo and ensemble music for




Leitmotif group
and Individual



Critical and creative thinking

Information and communication

Critical and creative thinking
Critical and creative thinking
Personal and social capabilities

Critical and creative thinking

Bethany Hamann - 1608384



Study of
composers and
the use of
music in films



Working collaboratively to develop
ensemble skills
Evaluating performances
Combining and manipulating the elements
of music using repetition, variation and
contrast to shape compositions
Performing music from scores made by
themselves or others
Considering viewpoints and evaluations
why was the music successful and
Considering viewpoints societies: For
example How is this piece typical of the
social context in which it was created?
Cultures: How are the elements of music
used in this piece to convey a cultural
identity? Histories: What historical forces
and influences are evident in this work?
Discussing the influence of music on the
development of personal and cultural

Critical and creative thinking

Personal and social capabilities
Critical and creative thinking
Critical and creative thinking
Personal and social capabilities
Intercultural Understanding
Critical and creative thinking

Critical and creative thinking
Personal and social capabilities
Intercultural understanding