Age Range: Elementary
Learning Objective: Students will generate original artistic ideas in response to verbal and written prompts.
Free Download: Printable Lesson Plan: Create a Musical Story
Note to Teachers: Language and examples are geared toward early elementary; however, the lesson concept can be adapted and is very appropriate for older students as well.
INQUIRE. “Raise your hand if you like books.” (Pause.) “Raise your hand if you like music.” (Pause.) “Adding music to a story makes it more exciting. Today we will create our own soundtrack for a story to make it exciting and memorable.”
READ. Select a favorite book to read aloud. (Scroll down for book recommendations!) While reading, pause after key moments and ask students to brainstorm sound effects (body percussion or vocal sounds) that enhance the story. Establish a “start” and “stop” signal to cue students. (i.e. Book: “The boy ran away!” Sound effect: Drum on lap quickly for 5 seconds)
EXPLORE. Gather some classroom instruments or found objects. Read the book again and allow students to explore and improvise sound effects using instruments.
CREATE. Fine-tune the group’s musical choices by adding “story cards” like the examples below from Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Use words or graphics depending on your students’ literacy level.
REFINE. Practice and refine your musical story!
PERFORM. Assign a conductor to start and stop cues. Take turns as the reader/narrator.
Choose one or more of the following activities to enhance learning.
LISTEN. Listen to an episode of YourClassical Storytime. Notice how the music helps tell the story.
REPEAT. Repeat the lesson with another story, or spend time polishing the performance of the first book, record it, and share it with parents.
Moo by David LaRochelle
Snail Trail by Ruth Brown
Mortimer by David Munsch
Skeleton Cat by Kristyn Crow
The Z was Zapped by Chris Van Allsburg
Tuesday by David Wiesner
Be You! by Peter H. Reynolds
Tip: Books with a lot of animal sounds work well for vocalization and vocal development. Action-oriented books work well if you have a lot of classroom percussion instruments available.
Composer Shruthi Rajasekar was inspired to write a piece of music that helps us explore and think about all the ways numbers influence our lives.
Learn a little about the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Listen to some musical pieces inspired by these places!
Music is a cultural expression. Visit different regions around the world to learn about unique genres of music and their core characteristics.
Learn the science behind pendulums and how composer Steve Reich used pendulums to create a unique piece of music.
Understand different types of maps and consider what it means to map out a piece of music.
Build on your understanding of musical mapping to create an instrument map for Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #2. This is part two of a two-lesson series.
Cryptograms are puzzles and can also be used as a way to structure a musical composition. For elementary and middle school students.