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Carnival of the Animals

Carnival of the Animals


As a finale to our Amazing Animals topic we would like you to enjoy The Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens.

What is a carnival? Why do they happen? What do people do at carnivals?


The Carnival of the Animals is a series of pieces of music that describes different animals. The PowerPoint below gives you a little information about each section and the YouTube link has each section clearly named if you hover over the progress bar at the bottom of the screen so you can skip backwards and forwards between the sections.


Choose your favourite section to listen to with your child.  Talk about the instruments you can hear and how the music is representing the movements of the animals.


Now, choose a different section but don't show or tell your child which animal is associated with the music immediately.

Can your child follow your example and move with the music? What animals do they imagine when they listen to the music?  Do they imagine one or many animals? Would the animals be large or small? Fast or slow? Fierce or gentle? 

Carnival of The Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns

Musical Instruments

What instruments can you hear playing in different pieces of music? How are the different instruments played? What is your favourite instrument?

You could use any instruments that you have at home or the instruments you have made in the last few weeks and play along with the music. 

What does the music look like?

Musicians usually use lines of musical notes, read from left to right to compose their music. Graphic scores are where symbols, shapes, lines, marks and colours are used instead.


Ask you child to close their eyes and imagine they have a magic music crayon. As they listen to the music what shapes and lines does their magic music crayon draw in their imagination. They might light to act out drawing these lines and shapes with their finger drawing in the air. Stress that these lines and shapes don't need to draw objects or make a picture as such.

Now, place a selection of crayons or coloured pencils in the middle of the table and take a piece of paper each. Listen to the music again and this time draw on the paper whatever shapes and lines the music creates in your mind. 


Think about… 

What mood do the colours create?

What instruments/objects would play these shapes?

Can shapes show how fast/slow the music is?

Does the size of shape show how loudly it is played?

Where does the music start? End?


Look at each others drawings of the music. Are any of the colours or shapes the same? It is important to stress that there are no right or wrong answers as music can make people feel and imagine different things.