Music Appreciation Lesson Plan

This lesson plan is © Copyright 2011 by Cindy Downes. All rights reserved. Permission is given to homeschooling parents and teachers to use these units free of charge in their own homeschool or classroom only. This lesson may not be reprinted or distributed in any form, for any other purpose (commercial or otherwise) without permission from Cindy Downes. Contact Cindy at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Are you looking for a way for your teen to fulfill a high school unit of Music? This Music Appreciation lesson plan can be used to fulfill this requirement. When completed, award your student with 1 unit of Music Appreciation.

  1. Create a Music Notebook by following the instructions below.
    Recommended study time: Tuesday & Thursdays, 45 minutes per day.
    1. Read 3 or more biographies of famous musicians. Use Library books and/or search online. 
    2. Pick one composer. Research his life and write a biographical sketch for your notebook (minimum of 750 words).
    3. Attend at least one concert or musical.
    4. Explore the relationship between math and music with Pythagoras
    5. Visit the following websites to learn about the orchestra, the instruments, the composers, the musical periods, and more.
      1. Baroque Music Page.
      2. The Music Room.
      3. San Francisco Symphony Kids’ Site. Compose a song of your own! 
      4. Essentials of Music: Click on glossary to learn about music terms. 
      5. I Hear America Singing, history of american songwriters. 
      6. Learn About the Instruments. Select a country, see a photo & hear the sound.
      7. Learn About the Instruments.
      8. Medieval and Renaissance Instruments.
      9. Early music from England, France, Spain, etc: 
      10. Take a music quiz.
      11. Classical Composer Archive
      12. The Symphony, An Interactive Guide. 
      13. Playmusic. Meet musicians. Listen to the orchestra. Play music. 
    6. Research the History of Music and Musical Periods. Make a timeline identifying the various periods and illustrate for notebook.
      • David and Saul (Bible History)
      • Psalms (Bible History)
      • Polyphonic Period
      • Baroque Period
      • Classical Period
      • Romantic Period
      • Modern Period (1900 - present)
    7. Musical terms. Create a dictionary for notebook by identifying the following terms
      • Acappela, Accent, Arpeggio, Bar, Chord , Coda, Downbeat, Dynamics, Expression, Fifth, Glissando, Harmony, Improvise, Key, Measure, Melody, Pitch, Rhythm, Scale, Staff, Syncopation, Tempo, Third, Timbre, Time, Tone, Troubadours
      • Add addition terms as you read about them.
    8. Listen to six (or more) of the following musical forms. List title and the form to which it belonged.
      • Ballet, Canon, Cantata, Celtic, Chamber Music, Chorale, Concerto, Etude, Folk Music, Fugue, Gregorian Chant, Madrigal, March, Opera, Orchestra, Overture, Rhapsody, Scherzo, Serenade, Sonata, Suite, Symphony
      • Write an opinion piece about your favorite form and add to your notebook.
    9. Research at least three instruments for each category below. For each instrument, make a page for your notebook. Explain it’s history, how it makes music, what type of music is performed on the instrument, and illustrate with a drawing or photo.
      • Strings
      • Woodwind
      • Percussion
      • Brass
      • Piano
      • Accordion
      • Organ
  2. Read the following books:
    1. Lives of the Musicians: Good Times, Bad Times, and What the Neighbors Thought by Kathleen Krull. Doesn't always paint a rosy picture but VERY interesting. 5th+
    2. Spiritual Lives of Composers by Patrick Kavanaugh. Excellent for students in grades 6-12. Twelve composers are discussed: Handel, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Wagner, Dvorak, Ives, and Stravinsky. The easy-to-read text provides a brief biography of the composer along with information about how his personal faith affected his music. Excellent. A highly recommended addition for your personal library. ISBN 0310208068.
    3. Story of the Orchestra by Robert Levine. This is a wonderful resource for teaching about the instruments, the composers, and the music of an orchestra. Includes a CD so you can listen too!
    4. Devil on the Deck by Lois Dick. This is a fiction book based on the life of John Newton, the author of Amazing Grace. This book is out of print, but it is well worth locating to add to your library.
  3. Optional:
    1. Take Music Lessons
    2. Make your own musical instruments.
    3. Penny Whistle Party Planner: Plan a party with an orchestra theme. (Home Economics)
    4. Music Lesson Plans and Webquests

Be sure to enter these topics on your copy of The Checklist!