Lesson 1: Exploring “Rondo alla Turca”

Aim: How can we explore the instruments in the brass family while listening to the steady beat in music?

Students learn the instruments in the brass family. Students learn to move rhythmically to “Rondo alla Turca” while building vocabulary to describe the brass ensemble.

Musical Explorers CD or online audio


brass family, ensemble, theme, timbre

Learn About Different Instrument Families

  • There are different categories, or families, of instruments. Using SG43, learn about the instrument families.
  • Hollie and Bernard play instruments in the brass family. Unlike the other instrument families, brass instruments are made of metal. Using SG44, identify the different brass instruments.

Explore the Sound of Brass Instruments

  • Listen to Hollie and Bernard and their friends play “Rondo alla Turca,” Track 41.

    This is a brass ensemble. In music, an ensemble is a group of people who play music together. Hollie, Bernard, and all of their friends in this ensemble play brass instruments.
  • Listen to Hollie and Bernard and their friends each play their instruments. How do they sound alike? How do they sound different?
    • Track 42: trumpet
    • Track 43: French horn
    • Track 44: trombone (Hollie)
    • Track 45: tuba (Bernard)
  • The timbre (TAM-bur), or tone color, of an instrument is the quality of the sound, and what makes it sound different from other instruments.
  • Hollie and Bernard play the two lowest, and biggest, instruments in the brass family, the trombone and tuba. Listen again to the instrument excerpts and challenge your students to identify which are the trombone and tuba.
    • A good rule for hearing the difference between instruments is: the bigger the instrument, the lower the sound.
  • Brass musicians make sound by buzzing into a mouthpiece.
  • We buzz into the mouthpiece by vibrating our lips together. Practice buzzing by making an “okay” sign with your hand, cupping your lips with your first two fingers, and vibrating your lips together. See video on savannahmusicfestival.org/musicalexplorers for a demonstration.
  • Listen to Hollie and Bernard’s friend play a melody with only his mouthpiece, Track 46.

    Next, listen to him play the melody with his mouthpiece and French horn, Track 47.

Explore Movement in “Rondo alla Turca”

  • Listen to “Rondo alla Turca,” Track 41,  again.

    This version of “Rondo alla Turca” was recorded at a live concert, with all of the musicians moving around the audience.

    • How does this music make you want to move?
    • What do you imagine when you hear this music?
  • Now listen to a musical theme in “Rondo alla Turca,” Track 48.

    A theme is a small part of the melody that frequently occurs in a piece of music.
  • Ask your students to create their own movement for the musical theme.
  • Play “Rondo alla Turca,” Track 41,  again, this time encouraging your students to move around the room to the steady beat, like the musicians in the recording.

    When the students hear the theme, they can perform their special movement. Alternately, students can stand still (like a statue) when they don’t hear the theme, and move when they do hear the theme.

Literacy Extension

Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews and Bryan Collier is the autobiography of Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, who earned his nickname by playing the trombone when he was still half the instrument’s size. Trombone Shorty is an insider’s perspective on the brass band tradition of New Orleans.

Visit savannahmusicfestival.org/musicalexplorers for videos of the New Orleans brass band.

Creative Extension

The House on Melody Street is an interactive ebook about families of instruments living together under one roof. Along with the text is a musical accompaniment that reinforces the sounds of each instrument and the instrument families. It is available via the Bookful App (available for download on iTunes and Google Play).

Musical Word Wall

Add brass familyensembletheme, and timbre to the Musical Word Wall.


PDF Downloads

SG43 ↓ Download File

SG44 ↓ Download File


Musical Explorers Audio Tracks



Go to Lesson 2: Learning “Stars and Stripes Forever”