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Free Music Studies: George Frederick Handel

Free Music Studies: George Frederick Handel

Free Music Studies: George Frederick Handel

Handel: The Story of a Little Boy Who Practiced in an Attic

George Frederick Handel was a German-born composer during the Baroque period most known for his oratorio, “Messiah.”

Free eBook

  • Map the following (you’ll find mapping resources below):
  • Learn more about and see a modern photo of the house where Handel was born.
  • Review Bach.
  • Add Handel to your composer timeline (see resources below).
  • Learn more about barber-surgeons, a common practice in medieval Europe — and the origin of that famous red-and-white striped barber pole!
  • View an illustration of Handel’s father.
  • Learn more about the harpsichord and listen to how one sounds.
  • The author gives clues to aspects of Handel’s character that helped him throughout his life. Write a character sketch of Handel. Younger students may enjoy creating a character trading card (see resources below).
  • View an illustration of the Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels.
  • View the organ that Zachau played.
  • Read more about Friedrich Wilhelm Zachau, Handel’s first teacher. When Zachau died in 1712, none other than J.S. Bach became his successor!
  • Look up some of the terms used to describe the things Zachau taught Handel: harmony, counterpoint, canon, and fugue.
  • Learn more about the hautbois, the first baroque oboe.
  • Compare/contrast the grand piano of our day to the harpsichord of Handel’s day.
  • You can listen to Six Little Fugues in the video below.
  • Learn what a “suite” is in music (scroll down). Do you recognize the source of the example clip? (from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite)
  • You’ll find some of the dances from the suites in the Selected Works section below.
  • Learn more about Johann Mattheson.
  • Learn more about Arcangelo Corelli, Alessandro Scarlatti, and Domenico Scarlatti whom Handel met in Italy.
  • View the color version of the painting of Handel with King George I of Great Britain traveling by barge on the Thames River. The painting commemorated the first performance of Handel’s Water Music in 1717.
  • You’ll find links to Water Music in the selections below.
  • Learn more about the Duke of Chandos.
  • Listen to the Six Chandos Anthems.
  • Learn what an oratorio is. Do you recognize the example clip? (from Handel’s Messiah)
  • You’ll find links to the Messiah including the “Hallelujah Chorus” in the Selections section below.
  • Learn more about Handel’s London house.
  • Learn more about Handel’s monument at Westminster Abbey.
  • You can write or narrate your story on Handel notebooking pages below.
  • Use the “Some Questions” section as oral or written narration prompts.
  • Learn more about Handel from the Book of Knowledge:

    The year 1685 is one of the great dates in musical history. In that year three men were born who wrote so much beautiful music that their names are known by most people and their compositions by many. George Frederick Handel (died 1759) was the only one of the three whose family had no interest in music…. Domenico Scarlatti (died 1757) was the son of Alessandro and for that reason grew up surrounded by the stimulating musical life of Naples. Johann Sebastian Bach (died 1750) was a member of a family so renowned for its musicians that most people living at the time thought he was just another Bach who did his job well. None of the three added much that was new to the art of musical composition. They used all of the contrapuntal styles of earlier composers so well that there was nothing left for later musicians but the invention of new forms….Although he always had difficulty with the English language, Handel loved London and became a naturalized subject of England. His popularity and fortune reached heights and depths experienced by no other composer in music history. Londoners supported his operas for a short time and enjoyed the emotions of the Italian singers, but before long the London audiences grew bored. The idea of having a silly plot sung in a foreign language by foreigners gave English writers of the time an opportunity for satire which they could not resist. [A comic opera was produced], ridiculing the words, music and ideas of serious opera. The public received it with joy.Handel made other attempts at writing opera, but soon realized that he was defeated. His money and most of his friends had vanished. He turned to another kind of musical drama, the oratorio. His early oratorios cover the most dramatic stories of the Old Testament; his greatest one, The Messiah, tells the story of Christ. The oratories pleased the people of his adopted country and it is for them that we know Handel best today.His works fill nearly one hundred volumes. [There] are sonatas a tre or a due (for three or for two) scored for violin and ‘cello combinations with some for flute or oboe in one of the parts. There are songs, organ works and suites of dances for keyboard instruments. One of his best-known orchestral compositions is the Water Music, a suite of thirty-two dances and airs, written to be performed on barges floating down the Thames.”Three Great Centuries in Music” from The Book of Knowledge


Further Investigation

George Frideric Handel, Composer
Biography for kids from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

George Frideric Handel
Simple biography at

Chronology from Handel House showing the key events in Handel’s life.

Selected Works
Handel Greatest Hits

Handel: Greatest Hits
Our favorite series.

“Hallelujah Chorus” from The Messiah

The Messiah

“Hornpipe” from Water Music

Water Music

Royal Fireworks

“Zadok the Priest”


George Frederick Handel
Biography, selected works, and activity sheet at

Hallelujah Chorus by Parts
Learn the various parts and sing along!

George F. Handel Quiz
Interactive quiz for summing up.

Trading Card Creator
Interactive at ReadWriteThink that helps you organize character information and print a character card.

Use this interactive at to create a composer’s timeline.

Handel at the Court of Kings

Handel at the Court of Kings by Opal Wheeler
Some really enjoy these music biographies by Opal Wheeler. This one was one of our favorites in the series.

“George Frederick Handel: The Wonder Child”
Chapter from Stories of Great Musicians by Katherine Lois Scobey.

“George Frederick Handel”
Chapter from The World’s Greatest Men of Music by Harriette Brower. Subtitled Story-Lives of Master Musicians, this public domain title tracks nicely with our free music studies.

“George Friedrich Handel”
Chapter from First Studies in Music Biography also by Thomas Tapper.

“George Friedrich Handel”
Chapter from Essentials in Music History also by Thomas Tapper.

Child's Own Book of Great Musicians

Child’s Own Book of Great Musicians: The Complete Collection from Bach to Wagner
Complete collection on Kindle (can be read on any device).

The Gift of Music: Great Composers and Their Influence by Jane Stuart Smith & Betty Carlson
Our favorite overall music appreciation reference book. Over 300 pages long covering 43 composers along with Christmas carols. Not only covers the influence of the composer but also how his faith influenced his works. Recommended reading and listening guides at the end of each section. Highly recommended!

Unit Studies & Lesson Plans

Bite-sized Handel: Movement VI from Water Music Suite
Free listening lesson plan download from the Sydney Symphony.

Zadok the Priest
“Creative response” lesson plan at the BBC covering the anthem Handel wrote for the coronation of George II.

Printables & Notebooking Pages

World Map
At for locating Germany and England.

Germany Map
PAT map for locating Halle and Hamburg.

United Kingdom Map
PAT map for locating the River Thames and London.

Free 18-Page Composer Notebooking Set {Time Limited}
This free set of generic pages from goes perfectly with our studies.

Handel: The Story of the Little Boy Who Practiced in an Attic Notebooking Pages
Simple pages for copywork, narrations, or wrapping up.

Enjoy the entire series:
Free Music Studies: Child's Own Book of Great Musicians
Free Music Studies: Child’s Own Book of Great Musicians

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