Students in fourth grade used kick balls and guiros to keep the tempo in the song “In the Hall of the Mountain King”- a song from The Peer Gynt Suite which is a piece for orchestra by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. We discovered that the balls had to bounce faster and faster throughout the song (this is called an accelerando). We also noticed that, in order to be heard, the guiros had to play louder and louder throughout the song (this is called a crescendo).
The Peer Gynt Suite tells a story of a naughty boy named Peer Gynt who kidnaps a bride at her own wedding as a practical joke. (Although, as one student whose father is a police officer pointed out to us, kidnapping is a crime and not a practical joke!) Fortunately, this is just a fairy tale. The boy then ends up being kidnapped himself by a group of trolls who live in a mountain! The music in “In the Hall of the Mountain King” tells the story of Peer Gynt escaping the trolls and running from them.