Earliest Civilisations: Shang Dynasty

Block H - Music

Study this fascinating topic and learn all about The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China. Discover key information about the formation of the Shang Dynasty and the kings who ruled it. Learn all about everyday life, the music, cities and settlements, and the process of worship in this early civilisation. The importance of warfare, advanced technology, and the development of writing are all studied and children will have the chance to meet a number of exciting creative outcomes!

In this creative block, find out about the instruments (bells, pipes, cymbals, flutes) and music made by the Shang people – make simple instruments and compose a piece of instrumental music about the final days of the Shang Dynasty.

This Topic is written for Upper Key Stage 2. If you want to use this Topic for a different Key Stage, you will need to consider how to adapt the outcomes, content, delivery methods, resources and differentiation, as well as the relevant National Curriculum objectives.

Supporting documents for topic
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01: Shang music

Children will learn about Shang musical instruments, discuss what these musical instruments could have been used for, find modern equivalents and try them out.

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02: Emotive music

Listen to different compositions that tell a story or evoke an emotion and examine how the pitch, tempo, timbre and structure communicates elements of a story or an emotion.

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03: Downfall of the Shang

Tell children the story of the downfall of the Shang dynasty. Children improvise a composition to accompany the story. Note down what tempo, pitch and timbre each part of the orchestra plays during each section of the story.

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04: Perform the Shang piece

Children will practice and perform the Shang piece to an audience.