Music Activity For Children & Toddlers: Handel’s Water Music

Music Activity For Children & Toddlers: Handel's Water Music
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This is a movement and music activity for children based on Handel’s Water Music. 

The Hornpipe from Handel’s Water Music (HWV 349), performed by the Festspiel Orchester Göttingen and directed by Laurence Cummings

Why did Handel compose a series of 3 orchestral suites, naming it Water Music?

King George I was planning an excursion up the Thames River and thought aloud, “Wouldn’t it be lovely if there was music to entertain my guests and me when we cruise up the River?”

With this thought, Handel wrote three Water Music suites for this special occasion. While King George I and his party sailed up Thames on a barge, another barge with a huge orchestra on board floated alongside to perform Handel’s suites. Many townsmen also gathered by the River to enjoy and dance to this lovely performance.

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The host and his guests enjoyed the joyous music so much they requested for the musicians to perform it four times, which lasted from 8 pm till past midnight! Can you imagine how exhausted the musicians were after this performance?

Try these listening and movement activities at home and be introduced to the instruments and sections of an orchestra as well.

Activity 1: Instruments of the Orchestra

Watch and listen carefully to this dance movement and let your body sway along with the orchestra! The first section emphasizes different instruments in an orchestra – can you hear and see when the trumpets receive the limelight? And the horns?
Now, let’s listen to the movement again and imagine we are musicians of an orchestra by imitating their movements.
Handel's Water Music - StringsLet’s first imagine we play a string instrument!
Trumpet music activityRemember when we heard the trumpet and horn solos just now? Imitate a trumpet or horn player during these solos.
Music and movement activity - conductorTake on different roles of the orchestra, don’t be shy, you can even try to be the conductor!

Activity 2: Listening and Movement

This hornpipe dance movement is in 3! Let’s imagine you are sailors and march as a family counting 1-2-3 out loud! The middle section of the music is quieter, let’s walk to the beat on our tippy-toes while the strings are bustling in activity as if whispering to each other. Listen carefully to when the “sailor” section returns and march with pride and joy!
Let’s try this once more – Give a firm stomp of the feet while you count 1 out loud and lightly march to 2 and 3, barely whispering under your breath!
Parents’ Note:  The first section of the music (0:00-1:00 minute) Middle section (1:00-1.53) and return of the first section (1:53 to end).

Other Similar Suggested Music to Handel’s Water Music for Listening and Movement

The Air from Handel’s Water Music (HWV 349), performed by the Festspiel Orchester Göttingen and directed by Laurence Cummings

Henry Purcell: Rondeau from Abdelazer (Z570), Voices of Music



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