Music of the Olympics

Who is ready for the Olympics? I still remember the first time I got into watching them during the summer of 1984 when they were in Los Angeles. As you prepare your kids for watching the Olympics, spend some time learning about the music they will be hearing during it with this lesson.

I have 3 pieces/songs for you to learn about and listen to for this lesson. Then, when you watch the Olympics this winter, you'll recognize them when you hear them!

1. Bugler's Dream was written in 1958 by French-American composer Leo Arnaud as part of his Charge Suite. The piece is often thought of by Americans as the "Olympic theme" because it is played so often during the televised games beginning with the 1964 Olympics. The musical theme of Bugler's Dream is based on a typical cavalry trumpet's call which was composed during Napoleon's Consulat.

2. In 1984 American composer John Williams wrote the official music of the XXIII Olympiad in Los Angeles called Olympic Fanfare and Theme. John Williams received a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition for it in 1985.

The music is now known to all as representing the Olympics. In 1996, Williams wrote an alternate version of "Olympic Fanfare and Theme" for the Atlanta Olympic Games, which replaced the first part of the piece with Arnaud's Bugler's Dream. Hear it below.

3. The Olympic Hymn, also known as the Olympic Anthem, is played when the Olympic flag is raised. It was written by composer Spyridon Samaras and poet Kostis Palmaras.

It was first played for the 1896 Olympic games in Greece and was declared the official hymn in 1957. The version below was sung by Sissel in Norwegian at the Norway Olympics in 1994.

4. You will enjoy this next video because it shows athletes from a variety of Olympic sports. It features the song “When You Believe” by Ken D. Ward.


Bonus: A Tribute to Winter Olympics

That concludes the 15-minute music lesson._____________________________

If you would like to continue with more music of the Olympics, you 'll find a great list here and for more great fun activities to do to related to the Olympics, see 10+ Incredibly Fun Ways to Prepare Your Students for the Olympics.

Olympics 15-Minute Music Lesson revised June 2017.pdf