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Topic: 'The Infernal Dance of King Kastchei' from 'The Firebird Ballet Suite' (1919) by Igor Stravinsky
Duration: 1 term (approx. 35 hours)

Music 1 (Preliminary Course) Stage 6 Topic Options

  • Music and the Related Arts
  • Music for Large Ensembles
  • Music of the 20th and 21st Centuries
  • Theatre Music

Teaching materials

  • Score and recording of 'The Infernal Dance of King Kastchei' from 'The Firebird Ballet Suite' (1919) by Igor Stravinsky
  • Classroom instruments or individual students’ instruments
  • Manuscript, worksheets and assessment sheets as included in this unit of work


In this unit of work, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of compositional techniques used in music of the 20th century. Through performing, composing and listening activities, students will recreate their own version of Movement 3 – 'The Infernal Dance of King Kastchei' from Stravinsky’s 'The Firebird Ballet Suite' (1919). Compositional techniques taken from Stravinsky’s original work will be used as the stimulus for the composition process.


Structure: formal structure both macro and micro, motifs, phrases, repeated patterns

Pitch: tonality, dissonance, unusual scales and approaches to harmony, melody, ostinato, tritone, modulation, motifs,

Duration: repeated rhythms, syncopation, note values, polyrhythm, multimetre

Dynamics and Expressive Techniques: extensive dynamics, pizzicato, sforzando, score conventions

Texture: orchestral voicing, roles of instrumentation, thick and thin, textural layers

Tone Colour: instrumentation, combination of tone colours


  • to develop knowledge and skills about the concepts of music and of music as an art form through performance, composition, musicology and aural activities in a variety of cultural and historical contexts
  • to develop the skills to evaluate music critically
  • to develop personal values about music.


P1 – performs music that is characteristic of the topics studied

P2 -– observes, reads, interprets and discusses simple musical scores characteristic of topics studied

P3 – improvises and creates melodies, harmonies and rhythmic accompaniments for familiar sound sources reflecting the cultural and historical contexts studied

P4 – recognises and identifies the concepts of music and discusses their use in a variety of musical styles

P5 – comments on and constructively discusses performances and compositions

P6 – observes and discusses concepts of music in works representative of the topics studied

P7 – understands the capabilities of performing media, explores and uses current technologies as appropriate to the topics studied

P9 – performs as a means of self-expression and communication

P10 – demonstrates a willingness to participate in performance, composition, musicology and aural activities

P11 – demonstrates a willingness to accept and use constructive criticism

Australian Professional Teaching Standards

Through the completion of this module and the implementation of this program, teachers will have achieved the following Australian Professional Teaching Standards:

1.5.2 – Develop teaching activities that incorporate differentiated strategies to meet specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities

2.1.2 – Apply knowledge of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area to develop engaging teaching activities

2.2.2 – Organise content into coherent, well-sequenced learning and teaching programs

2.3.2 – Design and implement learning and teaching programs using knowledge of curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements.

3.1.2 – Set explicit, challenging and achievable learning goals for all students

3.2.2 – Plan and implement well-structured learning and teaching programs or lesson sequences that engage students and promote learning

3.3.2 – Select and use relevant teaching strategies to develop knowledge, skills, problem-solving, and critical and creative thinking

3.4.2 – Select and/or create and use a range of resources, including ICT, to engage students in their learning

4.1.2 – Establish and implement inclusive and positive interactions to engage and support all students in classroom activities

5.1.2 – Develop, select and use informal, formal, diagnostic, formative and summative assessment strategies to assess student learning

5.2.2 – Provide timely, effective and appropriate feedback to students about their achievement relative to their learning goals

6.2.2 – Participate in learning to update knowledge and practice targeted to professional needs and school and/or system priorities

6.4.2 – Undertake professional learning programs designed to address identified student learning needs


Please refer to the Activities worksheets provided for explicit teaching and learning strategies for implementation based on the following outcomes:
  • Students are to complete the historical background comprehension sheet on Stravinsky and Diaghilev.
P3, P5, P7, P9, P10, P11
  • Performance Activity – In small groups, re-enact the synopsis of 'The Firebird Suite' incorporating a narrator, movement, acting and simple thematic musical accompaniment.
P2, P4, P6
  • Listening Activity – Listen to Stravinsky’s The Infernal Dance of King Kastchei with the score. Read through the worksheet in regards to the structure and pitch material incorporated.
  • Complete the Glossary of musical terms.
P1, P2, P3, P4, P5, P6, P7, P9, P10, P11
  • Work through the extensive composition/performance activities provided, resulting in a final performance of the finished product.
P2, P4, P6, P10
  • Aural/Musicology Activity – Students are to complete the listening questions provided with guidance from the teacher.


Composition Portfolio

Throughout the duration of the Performance/Composition project, students will keep a comprehensive composition portfolio outlining the composition process. This will be handed in on completion of the unit. Please refer to the detailed assessment task sheet for further information.

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