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Theme and Variations


Level:            All


Purpose:       To learn about this form of music

To help younger students understand what is meant by “Twinkle Variations”

To create original music


Set-up:         We are going to learn about the form of music called Theme and Variations

Sing and play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

This is the original melody – the “Theme”


Does anyone know the meaning of the words “variation” or “to vary”?

To vary is to change, alter, transform, or expand upon


Play Twinkle Variation A

How is this different from the Theme?


Suzuki created five variations all using the same notes with different rhythmic patterns





(1)       Divide the class and play each variation (or part of it) along with the theme

Can anyone think of another variation of Twinkle?


(2)       Create a class Theme and Variations through movement

Arrange the class in a circle

Learn a simple dance-the theme

Go around and have everyone create a variation


(3)       Create a class Theme and Variations on the violin

Choose a short theme such as the beginning of Frere Jacque or Lightly Row

Go around, giving everyone a chance to contribute a variation

Choose some or use all of the variations created, name them (for example, Variation A or Mandy’s variation) and learn them as a group

Make a recording of your new composition


(4)       Listen to examples of Theme and Variations such as La Folia or

Mozart’s 12 Variations in C Major K 265 (Twinkle)

© 2018 CAM Publications

"I've never known a musician who regretted being one. Whatever deceptions life may have in store for you, music itself is not going to let you down."  - Virgil Thomson

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