John Williams, tónskáld

Author: Vala Tryggvadóttir.

This assignment is written for students in 9th to 10th grade, Elementary School. It is written for an ESL class (English as second language) and is therefore in English. It is also required of the students that they will turn their assignments in, in English.

The Task

(Námsmarkmið skv. aðalnámskrá.)

• A student can read both for the usefulness of reading and for pleasure. For example educational material from magazines and from electric media. • A student can write different kinds of shorter texts, for example, his own responses to texts and descriptions. • A student can use his imagination, create and write with his own words.



During this assignment you are going to get to know the composer John Williams but he has composed a lot of music for movies and quite a few of those pieces are well known.

The Process

  1. Your sit down by the computer and use it to solve your assignment, either as an individual or as a part of a small group. It depends on your teachers instructions.
  2. Answer the questions that are written here below. You can decide for yourself how big the font should be, but it must be 16 to 20 pt.
  3. Solve the assignment in an word editor program and submit it electronically to your teacher. He will give you the e-mail address you need. Use the links under the heading Resources needed to answer the questions. Other than those links I give you, you will need to use an search engine of your own choice to answer some of the questions. It is very important to answer in whole sentences. Short, one syllable answers will not be valid.
  4. When the questions have been answered then send your teacher the answers as an attachment and put your name and the name of the assignment in the heading of the letter.


  1. Where is John Williams born and where did he grow up?
  2. Can you find any information about his personal life?
  3. How long has his career been in the music business?
  4. Find a list of his works online. This list of his works is quite long. There are lot of theme songs from movies on that list. Listen to some of them online, and pick your 5 to 10 favourites. List them in the assignment and write down what you think is special about them. Perhaps they set an atmosphere you think is essential for the general idea in the movie or make an impression on you that you can describe.
  5. When you see that list of music, can you hum any of it? What pieces can you hum?
  6. Has he only written film music? What other pieces has he written?
  7. For what special athletic occasions has he written music? Listen to that piece and tell me what you think about it?
  8. Has John ever been in the U.S. Army? What was his position there?
  9. One of his most distinguished movie themes has only two notes. That theme is an
  10. ominous two-note motif and has become synonymous with sharks and approaching danger . From what movie is that theme? Do you think it signifies danger?
  11. With what director has he worked most closely with through the years?
  12. For what has he had the Academy Awards? What is the name of the trophy for that award? Did he have any nominations this year (2012)?
  13. Search the Internet and find a film that has music that you like and write a few words about that composer. (20 - 40 words) Perhaps you already know of some filmmusic that isn't written by John Williams.

Resources needed




(Niðurstaða) When the assignment is done you should hopefully appreciate John Williams work more and perhaps you are amazed of how many of his songs you already know.



The assignment will be graded according to the teachers valuation of how well the questions are answered and if they will include the answer he is looking for.

Teacher part


Students get a pretty free reign online and they have an opportunity to use their own words. You need to give the students the e-mail which they are to submit their work to.

This WebQuest is created in May 2012 by Vala Tryggvadóttir in Iceland for an elective English course in an Icelandic Elementary school. --Valatr (spjall) 4. maí 2012 kl. 01:35 (UTC)