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We think of film as being a visual medium, but music and sound play an important part in telling the story. The soundtrack helps create meaning and mood in a scene and enhances our understanding of a character’s point of view.

Discussing music in film can deepen children’s understanding of authorial intent, the purpose of genre and effects on an audience. It also develops their story language whilst informing and inspiring their writing.

When watching a film, ask how the music makes the children feel and collect emotional vocabulary. Discuss what it tells the audience about the central character’s feelings. Music can also tell us if characters are good or bad, or at least make them appear to be one or the other.

Consider the pace of the music and the impact of sound effects and moments of silence. Is the filmmaker trying to amaze, excite or amuse the audience?

Primary curriculum links:

  • Film narrative: children develop film language by exploring how filmmakers create mood, pace and viewpoint with music and sound.
  • Non-fiction - persuasive texts: watching film trailers and discussing the effect of the music and sound effects, before demonstrating how to combine words, music and images to persuade an audience.