Lesson Plan:
Have your students create a listening log while listening to each musical excerpt.

Discuss how the mode, tempo, style, etc. of the music impact how listeners react to music, and how culture influence musical interpretations.

  • Each student will need paper & pencils ready to take notes or draw during the listening exercise
  • Musical excerpt recordings & sound equipment
  • Classroom note-taking method, i.e. blackboard, overhead projector, etc.
Prepare & play 5-10 excerpts of music of different styles. Do not give away any information about the excerpt ahead of time, students should listen to each one ‘blind’.

For each excerpt of music, the students should take notes on the following questions:
  1. What emotions do you feel when listening to this piece?
  2. What visual images come to mind? Feel free to draw these images.
  3. Does this make you think of any specific memories?
  4. Take notes on the style of the music; is it fast or slow? Harmonic or dissonant? Are the notes clipped or smooth?
  5. Does the music make you think of any particular geographical area, culture, or time period?
  6. How would you classify the style of music?
After each presentation, lead a class discussion about the questions above.

After all presentations are complete, lead a class discussion to answer the following questions:
  1. What, if any, common characteristics of music evoke particular emotions?
  2. Are there differences in how music is interpreted by culture?
  3. Do you think that music is interpreted in the same way now as it was when it was originally composed?

Lead in to the next discussion:

How specific modes of the scale and specific types of chords have been perceived throughout history, and why.

Suggested Excerpts:

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