Intermediate Listening Activity: The Planets

Gustav Holst was an English composer who wrote a very famous suite of music called The Planets over 100 years ago.

The Planets was made of of 7 movements (different pieces of music that connect together). Each movement was named after a different planet and a different mood or characteristic Holst associated with that planet.

The Planets was written to be played by a full orchestra. Holst used the different sounds made possible by all the instruments in the orchestra to give each movement of The Planets a very different mood and feeling.

Mars: god of war

The first movement of Holst’s The Planets is called MARS: The Bringer of War. The planet Mars is named after the ancient Roman god of war, which was Holst’s inspiration for the mood of this movement.

Watch this video of MARS: The Bringer of War. Do you think this music is a good fit for a “bringer of war”?

Click here for the link:



The second movement is called VENUS: The Bringer of Peace. The planet Venus is named after the ancient Roman goddess of love. Watch the same orchestra perform VENUS: The Bringer of Peace. What differences do you notice between this movement and the first one?

Click here for the link:

Venus: goddess of love










Listening Questions: Ask yourself these questions as you listen to the music.

  1. What did you notice about the “mood” of each movement?
  2. Are there any instruments that you hear more or less of in each movement?
  3. How are the dynamics (loud/soft) or tempo (fast/slow) different for each movement?
  4. Does anything else catch your attention? What else did you notice that was different or similar between the two movements?


If you liked what you heard, be sure to check out the 4th movement, JUPITER: Bringer of Jollity performed by a flashmob of students from Berklee College of Music. Click here for the link:

Assignment #1: Q & A

Hi Students,

I have been getting a lot of questions and feedback from you about your assignment, so I thought I’d post some of the most common questions here in case you need it:

Q1. Do we have to do the music assignment?

A: This assignment is optional. With everything going on right now, priority is taking care of yourself and your family. A lot of people are under a lot of stress at home, some people don’t have access to devices, so the last thing I want is to create more unnecessary stress for you. If circumstances allow and you wish to do more with music, then you can dabble in the pursuit of one of these 3 assignment options. 


Q2: What if we don’t have instruments at home?

A: Do what you can. Use what you have (e.g. your voice, body percussions, digital sounds from Garage Band or iMovie or Sound Trap…etc.). Be creative, there are no penalties for not having instruments. 


Q3: How do we send our finished work to you?

A: Send the completed work to my email: Preferably as a link from one drive, if you don’t know how to do that, just sending me the actual file is fine too.


Q4: How do we record?

A: You can used apps like Voice Memos and Voice Record. If you are recording collaboratively, Garage Band or Sound Trap or iMovie are awesome tools to use. If you need help or have problem accessing these, please talk to me.

Q5: Are all 3 options to the assignment due April 30?

A: For the autobiography, yes. For the composition and the parody, I will extend the due date if needed. For students who are working on those, just take it at your own pace and check in with me.


Q6: If we write a grad song, will we get to perform it?

A: Mr. Wall and the grade 7 teachers and I are discussing ways to make this happen. We would like to do a virtual grad assembly if possible. If you have any questions/concerns about instruments or tech, let me know. 


Last thing I’d like to mention, if you chose to do the autobiography, please spend some time researching and brainstorming DETAILED answers before you turn in your work in. 


Hope this helps,

Ms. Chang


Music Project #1

Tuesday, April 7

Dear Students:

Please check the page for your division on top as I have posted your first music activity.

Even though we are not in class, I hope you are still practicing music in some way. Some of you have instruments at home, some do not, so use what you have to complete this assignment. I’m on Teams and my blog from 9-3 Mondays to Fridays (except statutory holidays), so I’m always available if you need help. Just send me a message on Teams or my blog and I’ll get back to you ASAP. You may also wish to set up an appointment with me to video or audio call on Zoom or Teams. If that is easier for you, just let me know. 

If you have questions or concerns, I’m here to help in any way. =) The last thing I want is for you to feel stressed out about this project. Music should build bridges and help us feel better and connect all of us at times like this. Please reach out to me if you are feeling stressed or have concerns.

I’m here to help in any way. =)

Ms. Chang

Friday, April 3

Hi Students,

It is really nice to see the comments some of you have left, it’s a great way to connect and it helps me understand who has internet access. Please stay tuned to this site as I will be posting some fun, simple music activities for you to play around with at home next week. 

If you have access to a device, feel free to play around with some of these music apps (if you can): GarageBand or SoundTrap. For SoundTrap, it is free so you just have to create an account. Trying singing or playing your instrument and record and see what that feels like! 

Again, feel free to leave a comment! And I have attached a picture of my puppy enjoying the sun on our balcony. =)

Happy Friday,

Ms. Chang

Thursday, April 2

Hi Students,

To make browsing easier, I have created 3 different pages for different grade groups, located at the top of my site, underneath the header. Please click on the one that applies to you for information relating to your grade group.

Also, if you can, please comment by saying “hi!” so I know you can access my blog!



Ms. Chang