Category Archives: Music Classroom Lesson Plans

8 Music Lessons for the Music Classroom | Free Lesson Plans

If you want to incorporate active, hands-on lessons into your music classroom, take a look at these 8 free lesson plans for elementary music. Each plan will have your students out of their seats and interacting meaningfully with music– no pencils or paper required.

Melody Map | An Introduction to Melodic Contour/Grade 2-4

This simple but effective high and low lesson plan can be completed with the song of your choice. Students first use hand movement to reflect the high and low notes they hear. Then, they progress to using yarn to map the highs and lows on the classroom floor. The movement and manipulation of the yarn will help solidify student’s understanding that the sounds of music can be represented visually.

Hungarian Dance No.5 | AABBCDAB Codetta/Grade 2-6

Musical form takes on a baseball theme in this active lesson plan. Each section of the piece becomes associated with its own baseball game-related action, leading to lots of movement and a memorable introduction (or review) to musical form.

Meter, Meter, 3-4-5 | Meter Activity/Grade 2-4

Round up some playground balls and rhythm sticks for this time signature/ meter lesson. This rhythmic lesson is perfect for either introducing or reinforcing the concept of meter and the “patterns” of common time signatures.

Entry Kentry | A Passing Game/Grade 2-6

Students can have fun while practicing steady beat with this hot-potato style game. Passing must happen on the beat, and eliminated students help keep the beat with rhythm instruments.

Mortimer | An Introduction to Solfege/Grade 2-3

Introduce solfege with this book-based lesson. The stairs in the story provide a perfect opportunity to learn and repeat the scale pattern, while glockenspiels and other non-pitched instruments make students participants in the musical story.

Music Symbol Swat | Music Symbol Swat Game/ Grade 3-5

With just a white board and fly swatters, you’ve got a great review game that can be applied to many musical concepts. Potential answers, such as musical symbols, are displayed visually, and when a definition or question is given, competitors race to swat the correct answer.

Viennese Musical Clock (Kodaly) | Rondo/Grade 2-3

This multi-faceted movement lesson takes a little prep and a bit of patience, but it results in an unforgettable illustrating rondo form. The lesson begins with a helpful hamburger illustration to introduce the form. Then, a complex movement activity lets students act out the form as a live Viennese clock.

Zin, Zin, Zin A Violin | Musical Instrument Identification Game/Grade 2-6

The book, Zin, Zin, Zin A Violin, is used with visual support to introduce 10 orchestral instruments. Then, a racing instrumental identification game is used to review them.

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Peter and the Wolf | 8 Music Lesson Plans and Resources

Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf lends itself well to many different classroom objectives. Whether you’re looking for a stand-alone lesson, listening activities, bundles, or even units, there are lots of great resources available. Some teach new concepts, some allow students to exercise their listening skills, while others are more geared towards creative interaction with a beloved piece of music. Check out the lessons and resources below and find just what you need to bring Peter and the Wolf to life in your classroom.

  1. Peter and the Wolf Music Lesson Pack. This bundle includes tools for exploring both the composer and his most well-known work.  A kid-friendly biography with review activities, listening glyphs, and a comic-strip listening lesson plan are just some of the resources in this collection.

Get Peter and the Wolf Music Lesson Pack

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Contents
Hey Kids, Meet Sergei Prokofiev | Biography
Sergei Prokofiev | Composer Word Search
Meet the Composer Job Application
Peter and the Wolf | Listening Glyphs (3)
Peter and the Wolf | Comic Strip Worksheet and Lesson Plan
Peter and the Wolf | Draw!
Peter and the Wolf | Match!

2. Peter and the Wolf Listening Journal and Fact Sheet. This highly rated Teachers Pay Teachers offering leaves students with their own, self-made informational booklet at the end of their study, and the printables make preparation simple.

Get Peter and the Wolf Listening Journal and Fact Sheet

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Contents
14 Color-able fact sheets
2 Listening log pages
Listening journal

3. Peter and the Wolf Worksheets and Writing Prompts. Approachable worksheets help young students review the story and instrumentation and then advance to higher level thinking, putting themselves in the shoes of composer and characters. Many music teachers are encouraged to incorporate writing, and this is a natural way to do it.

Get Peter and the Wolf Worksheets and Writing Prompts

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4. Peter and the Wolf Listening Lesson. Leitmotifs are just one of the many musical techniques that Peter and the Wolf exemplifies. This lesson introduces that concept and guides students to find the story in the music.

Get Peter and the Wolf Music Listening Lesson

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5. Songs, Visuals, and Activities for Peter and the Wolf. For an extensive study of Peter and the Wolf, try this 79-page unit plan from Teachers Pay Teachers. Beat and ostinato are two of the concepts covered, and the visuals are exceptionally attractive.

Get Songs, Visuals and Activities for Peter and the Wolf

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Contents
“Follow Me” beat activity
Peter and the Wolf beat visuals for beat-tracking
Story visuals: Image and text cards
Rhythmic ostinato activity and flashcards
Prokofiev and the Peter and the Wolf Worksheet (reading with questions)
Listening Worksheet for Peter and the Wolf
Peter and the Wolf” slideshow
Bulletin board visuals for each character with their instrument
A picture of Prokofiev
Directions for the set, including picture book and unit suggestions

6. Peter and the Wolf FunLibs Story Synopsis and Worksheet. This worksheet is a fun way for students to learn, review, and have fun with the story in the music. It could easily accompany a larger lesson or unit, or it could facilitate a short introduction to the piece.

Get Peter and the Wolf FunLibs Story Synopsis and Worksheet

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7. Peter and the Wolf Work Stations. Dive into Peter and the Wolf station-style with 5 hands-on activities perfect for station work. The variety will keep students engaged and the creativity will ensure students won’t soon forget Peter and the Wolf.

Get Peter and the Wolf Work Stations

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Contents
Peter and the Wolf Color by Note
Peter and the Wolf Crowns
Peter and the Wolf Cut and Tell
Peter and the Wolf Dabber Activities
Peter and the Wolf Flap Book

8. Peter and the Wolf Storybook PowerPoint. A great accompaniment to any unit or listening session, this PowerPoint presentation puts a storybook on the screen. With colorful illustrations and text, this 33 page presentation brings story time to the music classroom.

Get Peter and the Wolf Storybook PowerPoint

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Orff Orchestrations for Elementary Music Students | Free Sheet Music

The Orff approach is all about getting students actively involved in the music-making process. If you aren’t familiar with it, follow this link to a summary of the Orff-Schulwerk Process.

If you are using Orff orchestrations, you know you can never have too much music or too many ideas. The free Orff orchestrations below are all instantly printable and both lyrics and an option to listen to the piece. Some include activity ideas, too.

Easy Orff Orchestrations With Classroom Activity Ideas

Shake Those ‘Simmons Down | Orff Orchestration

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Little Tommy Tiddlemouse  | Free Orff Orchestration

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Tommy Snooks | Free Orff Orchestration

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Easy Orff Orchestration Sheet Music

Engine Engine No. 9 | Free Orff Orchestration
I’m as Free a Little Bird | Free Orff Orchestration
Oh, Susanna | Free Orff Orchestration
Song of the Bluebird | Free Orff Orchestration
Tideo | Free Orff Orchestration
The Wee Little Scare | Free Orff Orchestration

Intermediate Orff Orchestration with Free Music Lesson Plan

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Run from the Farmer | Free Orff Orchestration
Run from the Farmer | Free Lesson Plan

 

Free Intermediate Orff Orchestration with Activity Idea

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Sourwood Mountain | Free Orff Orchestration

 

Intermediate Orff Orchestration Sheet Music

A Cat Came Fiddlin’ | Free Orff Orchestration
Jack Be Nimble | Free Orff Orchestration
Oh, Susanna | Free Orff Orchestration (Extended Version)
O, The Train’s Off the Track | Free Orff Orchestration
Sakura, Sakura | Free Orff Orchestration

Get students out of their seats and into the action with free Orff sheet music and classroom activities.

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Ludwig van Beethoven Music Lesson Resources | Lesson Plan Guide

A good composer study combines information about the subject’s life and context with analysis and appreciation of his or her music. Sometimes composer studies can become so fact-oriented that the music takes a back seat, but kids need opportunities to listen to, enjoy, and discuss a featured composer’s works. Students do need an overview of when and where a composer worked and what contributions make that composer important, though. To strike a good balance, consider how much biographical and historical information is necessary to meet your learning objectives, making sure they spend time with both the composer and their works.

Below, you will find lesson plan resources for a study of Ludwig van Beethoven that addresses both his remarkable life and his immortal music. There’s probably little need to explain why Beethoven is worth learning about, so let’s jump in to the resources.

Beethoven’s Life and Times

beethoven.jpgYou may be interested in studying Beethoven as part of a “composer of the month” program, where a new composer is featured each month. If so, the Composer of the Month Bulletin Board Pack provides a visual feature of the composer. Even if you aren’t studying Beethoven as a composer of the month, the visuals could still set the stage and enhance your study.

A simple Beethoven Biography provides an accessible one-page introduction to the composer’s life and accomplishments. If you’d like to include more in-depth study of Beethoven’s context, early life or career, this biography could provide a good starting point from which students can generate questions for further research.  Those looking to dig in deeper might also use Beethoven Research Activity Sheets from Music Teacher Resources on Teachers Pay Teachers.

To review key facts from the composers life, the Beethoven Word Search tests students’ critical reading skills. The word search doesn’t come with a word list– instead, students must determine key words from the biography and search for them to see if they are correct. Kids can also apply their knowledge of a composer’s experiences by completing the Meet the Composer Job Application Worksheet.

Beethoven’s Music
The options for introducing students to Beethoven’s work are many. A number of his works appeal to kids, including his instantly recognizable Fifth Symphony, the uplifting “Ode to Joy,” or the darker “Fur Elise” or “Moonlight Sonata.” To guide students in purposeful listening, use a variety of prompts and activities.

Listening glyphs are excellent tools for guiding students as they encounter a new piece. Beethoven Listening Glyphs  from Trinity Music at TpT include glyphs for five well-known Beethoven works along with blank glyphs in case for any other of his music  you’d like to include. For more music response options, consider this Listening Worksheet Bundle, with 30 different worksheets for grade levels K-12.Beethoven Music Listening Journals  from Mrs. Krafts Music Creation also prompts kids to make record factual observations, reactions, and opinions on great Beethoven works. For something a little different, the Moving with Beethoven Bundle  from The Yellow Brick Road on TpT uses Beethoven’s music to teach and review specific musical concepts through movement.

For more inspiration, visit MakingMusicFun.net’s Beethoven Lesson Resources. It includes possible writing prompts, sheet music for easy piano and several other insruments, and other ideas for your Beethoven study. It also links to Beethoven Multiplication-Connect-the-Dot and Beethoven Coloring Page. If you take the suggestion of watching Beethoven Lives Upstairs,  you may find this Movie Guide from Teachers Pay Teachers helpful.

There are lots of great directions your lessons can go when you teach Beethoven. Enjoy the opportunity to introduce kids to this outstanding composer and his music!

If piano playing students become interested in playing Beethoven’s music themselves, arrangements of his most well-known songs are available at a variety of levels.

Beethoven | Piano Book for Easy/Intermediate Piano
Beethoven’s Fifth for Easy/Level 2 Piano Solo
Ode to Joy for Easy/Level 2 Piano Solo
Ode to Joy for Easy Piano – Play and Learn™ Series
Für Elise for Intermediate/Level 3 Piano Solo
Ode to Joy Intermediate/Level 4 Piano Solo
Ode to Joy for Intermediate Piano – Play and Learn™ Series
Minuet in G for Intermediate/Level 4 Piano Solo
Moonlight Sonata for Piano Solo by Beethoven
Moonlight Sonata for Piano Solo by Beethoven – Play and Learn™
Ecossaise for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo
Pathetique Sonata for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo
Rage Over a Lost Penny for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo

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Tchaikovsky | Homeschool Music Lesson Curriculum

You don’t have to be an expert in Russian Romantic composers to give your students an appreciation of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. With a few helpful resources, you can introduce Tchaikovky’s life and greatest musical contributions. Studying Tchaikovsky is certainly a worthwhile investment, as many of his works are cultural staples, and he is credited with bringing Russian music onto the international scene.

Introduction
The fact that many of Tchaikovsky’s most famous pieces were written for ballets also makes them great choices for younger children to study. These programmatic works convey distinctive senses of mood, time, and place, and can be connected with the stories of the ballets. Playing clips or even full recording of some of Tchaikovsky’s most appealing pieces may be a great way to pique students’ interest as you begin your study. Selections from the Nutcracker, such as Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy, Trepak, or Arabian Dance would all work nicely, and recordings can be found on YouTube. Students could be asked to draw images that the music makes them picture, write or describe a story inspired by the song, move to the music, or simply share observations and feelings about the music.

Biography
Once students have been drawn in by the music, the study can begin with an overview of the composer’s life. This accessible yet thorough one-page free Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky Printable Biography introduces the composer. To review the facts from the biography, use the Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky | Word Search and the Meet the Composer Job Application Worksheet. The word search asks students to return to the biography text and determine possible keywords to look for in the word search, which requires higher level critical thinking. The job application is a practical way to synthesize the composer’s life experiences and accomplishments. A visual element can also be incorporated with the Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky Coloring Page, allowing students to put a face with the name.

Depending on how in-depth you want students to study Tchaikovsky’s life and context, further research can be assigned, with findings presented in writing, electronic presentation, or speech. However, if a more general study is your goal, your students should have enough of a foundation to move on.

Works
An introduction to Tchaikovsky must include an introduction to the Nutcracker. The Nutcracker FunLib™ Story and Worksheet is a fun way to teach and review the basics of the Nutcracker’s plot. One page provides a succinct summary of the story, and the second page provides a synopsis with blanks where keywords should be. The second page could be used to create a silly story by having students choose words to fill in the blanks without seeing the context. After you read the nonsense story, students could guess what some of the real answers might be as a pre-reading exercise for the real story. The FunLib could even be used again for review after the real story has been read.

Then, to study the music of the Nutcracker, use the Nutcracker Venn Diagram (Tchaikovsky) Worksheet. You can select any two pieces from the Nutcracker Suite: Arabian Dance (“Coffee”), Chinese Dance (“Tea”), Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy, March, Russian Dance (“Trepak”), Dance of the Reed Flutes, or Waltz Of The Flowers. Depending on students’ ages and musical background knowledge, you could leave the comparison and contrast open-ended, allowing them to observe any similarities and differences they think of. If they need guidance, you could instruct them to listen for dynamics (volume), speed (tempo), instrumentation (which instruments are playing), the mood and feelings the music creates, or articulation (slurred, tongued, staccato, legato) to get them started.

To listen to an individual piece more critically, try Tchaikovsky Listening Glyphs available on Teachers Pay Teachers. These allow students to represent with colors what they are hearing the music. Glyphs give students specific musical elements to listen for and provide two choices for them to decide between. These simple listening activities help increase students’ musical vocabulary and observation skills.

For additional types of listening activities, consider the Composer of the Month: Peter Tchaikovsky Bundle, also available on Teachers Pay Teachers. Also included in the bundle is a biography slide show, worksheets, interesting facts, and visual aids.

For review or culminating assignment, options abound. Students could write or present on almost any aspect of Tchaikovsky that interest them. This might include comparing and contrasting his life and/or work with another composer they have studied, reviewing or comparing different performances of his works, analyzing one or more of his works in greater depth, or researching his life and contributions further. For a more creative project, students could create artistic products or performances inspired by Tchaikovsky’s works. These could be collages or other art products, original music compositions, dances, dramas, or creative writing. Attending an orchestral or ballet performance live and writing a critical review makes for a memorable experience, but the same can also be done with a video performance.

Students whose imaginations are captured by Tchaikovsky’s music may wish to play some of his works in their own piano studies. There are Tchaikovsky arrangements at all skill levels below.

Swan Lake (Solo) for Easy/Level 1 Piano Solo by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Swan Lake (Duet) Easy/Level 1 Piano Duet by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Beriozka (The Birch Tree) for Easy/Level 2 Piano Solo | 4th Symphony Theme
March Slav for Easy/Level 2 Piano Solo
Trepak (Nutcracker) for Easy/Level 2 Piano Solo
Arabian Dance (Nutcracker) for Intermediate/Level 3 Piano Solo
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (Nutcracker) for Intermediate/Level 3 Piano
Romeo and Juliet (Love Theme) for Intermediate/Level 3 Piano Solo
Chinese Dance (Nutcracker) for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo
Dance of the Reeds (Nutcracker) for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo
Swan Lake (Theme) for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo by Tchaikovsky
Theme from 1812 Overture for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo
March (Nutcracker) for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo
Waltz of the Flowers (Nutcracker) for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo

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Free Elementary Music Lesson Plan Template

Do you want to streamline your lesson planning process while still ensuring your music lessons are thorough, focused, and meet national standards? A well-designed lesson plan template can help you do just that.

Get Free Elementary Music Lesson Plan Template from Teachers Pay Teachers

Elementary Music Lesson Plan Template

7 Page Microsoft Word Document (Download)

With clearly labeled sections, you won’t overlook any necessary lesson parts, and you can approach each lesson with a strong sense of purpose. Not only does this template help you organize your thoughts as you approach each lesson, but it also helps you effectively communicate your plans to administration, fellow teachers, or substitute teachers.

Because this template is provided in Microsoft Word, you can adapt and customize it to your liking and then type lesson plans directly into the template. Other elementary music teachers have given this template four stars and have appreciated the organization it lends to their planning process. Those with many different elementary grade levels and sections find it especially helpful. Make lesson planning more approachable and effective with this free lesson plan template.

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John Williams Music Lesson Resources | Lesson Plan Guide

Featuring a contemporary composer can engage students in an exciting way. However, it can be more difficult to find teaching resources for contemporary composers than the tried and true Baroque and Classical stalwarts. Nonetheless, it is worth the effort to educate students about great 20th and 21st Century composers such as John Williams. To help get you started, we have a collection of resources for teaching John Williams in the classroom or homeschool setting.

For anyone familiar with great movie soundtracks, John Williams needs no introduction. Among his best-known works are pieces featured in Star Wars, ET, the Indiana Jones films, and the Harry Potter series, just to name a few. Students love the opportunity to study the music from movies they love, and there is much for them to learn from doing so. What musical choices does Williams make to create the magical sense of time, place, and emotion that he is so skilled at evoking? What in his life prepared him to become the greatest film score composer of all time? What role does music play in film? These and many more questions are waiting to be explored by your students.

First of all, if you have a bulletin board or other display area, consider using the John Williams | Composer of the Month Bulletin Board Pack to add a visual element and a few memorable facts to get started.

A kid-friendly free biography of John Williams is an excellent place to begin a study. Students’ comprehension of the biography can be deepened with John Williams | Word Search Worksheet (also free), where students draw conclusions about keywords from the biography as they generate their own possible word list for the search. Review the qualifications and experiences of the composer one more time with the Meet the Composer Job Application Worksheet, where students complete a job application on the composer’s behalf. For older students, a Prezi presentation with guided notes sheet offers further detail on Williams’ life and contributions.

One of the highlights of any composer study is a focused listening experience. Listening glyphs can be extremely helpful, especially for younger students, as they learn what to listen for in music and acquire the vocabulary to reflect what they are hearing. Check out the following listening glyphs for some of Williams’ most recognized works:

Star Wars (John Williams) | Music Listening Glyph
Jurassic Park (John Williams) | Music Listening Glyph
Indiana Jones (John Williams) | Music Listening Glyph

The above works are available as a John Williams | Film Score Music Listening Glyph Pack with some additional general and blank glyphs to use for additional Williams pieces of your choice.  Another bundle of John Williams Listening Glyphs by The Bulletin Board Lady on Teachers Pay Teachers offers some additional pieces. For older students, a John Williams Film Score Graphing Worksheet facilitates comparison and analysis of the composer’s works. Any of these listening worksheets could be a starting point for a comparison/ contrast writing assignment of a length appropriate for the grade level.

For further study, a bundle including plans for mini-lessons and links to applicable YouTube videos is available from Pitch Publications on Teachers Pay Teachers.Work with John Williams could also be incorporated into a larger unit on music in film. Here’s one example of a Music in Film Unit at the middle school level, and another extensive Let’s Go to the Movies music camp or workshop plan that could provide some great inspiration.

Classic movies, great music, and engaged students – what’s not to love about studying John Williams?

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