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  • Writer's pictureCarol Turner Music


Updated: Oct 29, 2020

October has always been my favorite month of the year. The weather changes, school is in full swing, and it seems to be the perfect time to introduce movie soundtracks to the band. (Actually, every month is a great time for that, as you'll see in some of my other posts.) If we want to get our students hooked on orchestral music, music from the movies is one way to go. 2020 is looking to be "The Year of the Mask". So why not run with the theme and make it fun? Just think about your favorite folks that "wear the mask". The Lone Ranger, Batman (and Batgirl), Zorro, The Phantom, The Mandalorian. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (a name I often refer to my band kids). The list is endless and there's so much great music out there to play! This lesson will give you ideas for creating your own "Masquerade" performance, explore creative projects for your students with fantastic music and events that will educate and entertain your students and audience. Grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte take a look

(Disclaimer - please review any internet information before sharing with your class, as appropriateness may vary due to age or location)

Literature/Programming - There is so much to choose from. Arrangements of Phantom of the Opera, the Mask of Zorro and Superhero themes abound at every level of difficulty and are huge audience pleasers. Carnival of Venice could feature a director, private lesson teacher or community member, a local college student or an exceptional HS student. Disney's Let it Go could inspire an audience Sing-A-Long, the lyrics speak for themselves. Find an arrangement of "This Masquerade" for your jazz band, perhaps feature a soloist from your choir.

Props, Etc. - This one is easy...let the audience and kids wear face masks (I realize this takes on a different meaning now), have a costume contest for kids and adults; With the popularity of the Mandalorian I would imagine Baby Yoda to be a popular costume this year. If you hold the concert in February, decorate the stage for Mardi Gras and give everyone Mardi Gras beads when they come in the door. Show film clips during performances. Display student projects (see below). Add candy. Candy is especially nice no matter what month it is.

Cultural/Historical Significance - For student research projects and display boards,here are some links:

HIstory of Venetian masks

Masks in comic Book Culture

Social/emotional Learning - This theme presents you with a real opportunity to delve into things that are so important to our teens. I make a list of essay questions and have the students take time in class to choose one and write for me. I learn so much about them this way. Here are a few examples:

1) Many Superheroes wear masks (Batman, Spiderman, Captain America). Choose one and discuss why they wear the mask and the differences between their persona with and without the mask

2) Discuss the meaning of a song lyric. A couple of good lyrics to list:

The Stranger (Billy Joel)

Let it Go

This Masquerade (The Carpenter’s)

Student Projects - These are a little more time consuming and would need to be done outside of class:

1) Read and review Oral History, Masks, and Protocol in the Jazz Community by Douglas Henry Daniels

2) DYI carnival masks

3) Create a montage video with student projects, movie clips, quotes, student interviews, music

4) Have students review video Examples:

Batman Danny Elfman

Masquerade (Phantom of the Opera)

Mask of Zorro


For more performance/project ideas Click Here

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