August's Rhapsody

Me Read? No Way! lists great writing activities using music without lyrics to spur or inspire students.

Students can:
  • "create word lists,
  • phrases,
  • lyrics,
  • descriptions of feelings,
  • word-images,
  • letters,
  • dramas or dialogues,
  • slogans or protests,
  • poems or chants,
  • or an imagined description of the composer" (Research #8, 24).

    August's Rhapsody is from the final scene of the 2007 movie August Rush.  This 7-minute medley tracks the different emotions and adventures of the musical boy genius as he is separated and finds and brings his parents together in the end through music.

    Without lyrics, students are free to explore their own feelings and responses to the orchestra and jot down some of their ideas.  You can ask:
    • Pick a section that you identify with emotionally and write about a memory or feeling that it evokes.
    • Create a short narrative poem about the life of the character this music medley tracks.
    • Write a story (with a partner) based on the line spoken in the end, "Music is all around us.  All you have to do is listen."
    • What role does music play in your life?
    I got this last idea from my music class with Alison Kenny-Gardhouse.  We listened to Edvard Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" and did all kinds of fun of activities.  One of them was a brainstorming chart.  So for "August's Rhapsody" why not have your students...
    • Do a See, Feel, Hear Chart as a guide for brainstorming words and emotions.  (This will pull out rich vocabulary and gauge reader response as well.)

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