I have another question from the readers! This one comes from a new colleague in the “General Music Classroom.” Suzzie A. asks “What are some activities that I can use with my older students, in my music class, to inspire musical curiosity?”

First, Suzzie I’m thrilled that you are taking the initiative to inspire your students rather than just entertaining them. I cannot tell you what will work for your students as I do not know their interests, but I can give you three activities that my students love. For those who are reading this please feel free to customize these activities or share your own in the comment section below. Last, I ask that if you like this post please subscribe and like our Facebook page.

Music Mania:

  • Grade Range: Fourth Grade – Twelfth Grade
  • Required Materials:
    • Three dry erase boards with markers
    • Speaker
    • Musical cd’s or playlist
      • I use “Google Play Music”
  • Objective:
    • Students must listen to and identify music based on teacher questions (genre, artist, song name, movie and/or musical characteristic).
  • Outcome
    • I have found that by playing this game as an incentive not only improves the students’ behavior but it also inspires students to analyze music that they listen to everyday.
  • National Music Standards Addressed
    • Listening to, analyzing, and describing music
    • Evaluating music and music performances
    • Understanding relationships between music, the other arts and disciplines outside the arts
    • Understanding music in relation to history and culture
  • Description
    • I always start this activity by reminding the students of the class rules as sometimes this game can get quite competitive. Then I break the students into two groups with a student scorekeeper. Students will then vote on given themes for the game. The themes that I utilize are movies, video games, pop culture, Disney, and seasonal. Students then listen to the song and the first team to correctly hold up the correct written answer gets a point. The winning team moves up in the “Mania Bracket” and win a prize.

 

Musical Reviews

  • Grade Range: Fourth Grade – Twelfth Grade
  • Required Materials:
    • Paper and Pencil
    • Speaker
    • Musical cd’s or playlist
      • I use “Google Play Music”
  • Objective:
    • Students must listen to and classify a song of their choosing
  • Outcome
    • I have found that by using this activity students tend to open up creatively and share their thoughts on music. But the best outcome is the fact that some students realize that the music that we listen to in class is often better than what they listen to at home.
  • National Music Standards Addressed
    • Listening to, analyzing, and describing music
    • Evaluating music and music performances
    • Understanding relationships between music, the other arts and disciplines outside the arts
    • Understanding music in relation to history and culture
  • Description
    • I start this unit by having students listen to, and talk about, specific music (I tend to use bluegrass as my students are not a familiar with that genre). As a class we then read a review about the music that we’re listening to. We focus on what the song is talking about and some history about the topic of the song. I set the students free to review a song of their choosing.

 

Great Segway Batman

  • Grade Range: Eight Grade – Twelfth Grade
  • Required Materials:
    • Speaker
    • Musical Library of Movie Music
      • I use “Google Play Music”
  • Objective:
    • Students must create a “musical pathway” from one movie to another.
  • Outcome
    • I have found that by using this activity students tend to recognize subtle similarities and differences between songs.
  • National Music Standards Addressed
    • Listening to, analyzing, and describing music
    • Evaluating music and music performances
    • Understanding relationships between music, the other arts and disciplines outside the arts
    • Understanding music in relation to history and culture
  • Description
    • Ok… I know the name is really cheesy… but hey, the kids like it. This activity is a fun one for older students who have a little better understanding of musical terms and concepts. Whenever I start this project with my students I find that I achieve better results if we complete one musical pathway together. I start by taking the soundtrack to The Dark Night Rises We then listen to the album as a class and listen for a theme that is present throughout all the songs (Batman’s Theme). We then write what songs we heard them in and if they have changed in any way. Students then pick partners and their given movie. They then listen to the soundtrack (instrumental preferably) and complete a musical pathway for the album. Overall this project is great for inspiring students to try to find musical themes even outside the album. The best connection that a student made was a connection between Pirates of the Caribbean, The Gladiator and Gustav Holst’s’ The Planets.

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