Music 101

Charles Ives grew up in Connecticut, and he often drew inspiration from the sites, sounds, and celebrations of his life in New England. Here in his 5th Sonata for violin and piano, he describes the Thanksgiving holiday in music.  Listen for the slow, simple melody at the beginning of the piece and then an upbeat section in the middle.  Why do you think Ives chose these sounds to represent Thanksgiving?  What do the different sections make you think of?

(Use worksheet 1 & worksheet 2)

Welcome to our Lifelong Listening Center! 

This month we are celebrating Thanksgiving and the fall season by exploring

music with an autumn theme. We will hear an examples of autumn pieces

written for each instrument that we teach at Music 101, and explore how

different composers chose to represent this season in sound.

You may think of Tchaikovsky at Christmas time because of his famous Nutcracker ballet, or around the 4th of July because of his 1812 Overture. However, Tchaikovsky wrote all kinds of music appropriate for all seasons of the year. This piece is from a larger collection of solo piano pieces, each depicting a different month of the year. This “November” movement is subtitled “Troika”, which is a Russian sleigh pulled by three horses. While you listen, imagine a ride in a horse-drawn sleigh on a cold November day.

(Use worksheet 1worksheet 2)

Violin: “Thanksgiving” from New England Holidays

              By: Charles Ives    

              Performers: Diamanda La Berge Dramm (violin),

              Aaron Likness (piano)

Fall isn’t just a holiday celebrated by classical composers. Here we have an example of a pop song which later became a jazz standard. In the original song, the singer talks about Autumn leaves floating by his window and reminisces about spending the summer time with a woman he loves. Listen to how this guitarist represents the sounds of a whole jazz band just with a single guitar. You can hear a bass line, percussion, melody, and accompaniment all coming from just one player!  ​ (Use worksheet 1 & worksheet 2)

Voice: “Herbst”
            By: Franz Schubert
            Performers: Francisca Prudencio (Soprano),

            Volker Link (piano)

​​Franz Schubert wrote music for many different instruments, but he is very famous for writing art songs like this one. Art songs are pieces of poetry illustrated in music. “Herbst” means Autumn in German, and during the song the singer talks about cold winds rustling through dead leaves. Listen to the piano part and see if you can hear anything that reminds you of cold fall winds or rustling leaves.

(Use worksheet 1 & worksheet 2)


​Piano: “November” from The Seasons
             By: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
             Performer: Valentina Lisits (piano)


Download & Print 

Listening Worksheets

#1  Listen & Write

#2  Listen & Draw!

#3  Composer or Artist Facts

#4  Link Facts

#5  Free Page!

How to earn 
Listening Points...

Using the content in the Listening Center, complete the Listening Worksheets and

discuss your work with 

your instructor.  

Hand in your completed worksheets to the front desk.  

Each worksheet is worth 
10 points.   


Students will get 

completed worksheets 
back and achievements 
will be recognized at 
the annual recital.

Which worksheets should

I be using?


use worksheets #1 and #2


use with worksheet #3

Charles Ives
Johnny Mercer
Franz Schubert
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky​

Other Links:

use with worksheet #4

Harvest Music Radio Show

Research on your own!

use with worksheet #5


Guitar: “Autumn Leaves”
                By: Johnny Mercer
                Arranged and Performed by:
Sungha Jung (guitar)