Music and Emotions

Music and Mindfulness Thumbnails

Age Range: Elementary

Learning Objective: Students will describe emotions experienced when listening to a musical selection.

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ENGAGE students

ASK. "How many different feelings, moods, or emotions can we come up with? Let's make a list. " Once you have generated a list, go through each word and discuss what kind of music might express that emotion, mood, or feeling.

EXPLORE sounds

PREPARE. Create a blank listening chart like the one attached. You can choose to fill it out as a class or let students fill it out individually.

LISTEN. Listen to a diverse selection of music. (See list below for suggestions.) Instruct students, “Think about what emotions you hear and feel. Use vocabulary words to describe each piece. The list of feelings the class brainstormed might help. Draw a picture to go along with each. As you listen and write, consider:

  • “Does the emotion or feeling change throughout the piece?

  • “What musical techniques did the composer use to create these feelings or emotions?

  • “Can you use any music vocabulary words when you describe the emotions or feelings you hear?

  • “Does the title of the piece give you any clues?”


EXTEND learning

Choose one or more of the following activities to enhance learning.

WATCH. Watch the Class Notes Videos A Journey Through Musical Emotion and A Recipe for Emotion in Music.

SHARE. Invite students to bring their own songs or pieces to listen to together as a class! Set clear parameters on what music is classroom-appropriate and ask students to submit names of songs (artist included, if possible) for you to put into a playlist. With each student’s musical choice, repeat the “connect” activity above, having students listen, write, and draw their emotional ideas. After each selection, invite the class to discuss what they felt in response. You may also invite the student who brought that selection to share what the selection means to them.

Logo YourClassical Class Notes

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Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment

This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.

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