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Investigate Genres of Music

Students will conduct research to learn about different types of music and listen to songs from each genre they study. They will write about what surprised them the most. Then the class will create a playlist of students' favorite songs from each genre.

PROCESS:

  1. As a class, identify as many genres of music as possible. Tell students to go beyond what's popular. Encourage them to include genres from different cultures and periods of time.
  2. As a class, in small groups or with a partner, have students conduct research to learn about the history of one genre of music. Instruct them to define the genre, identify important moments in its history and recognize at least one noteworthy musician who performed that type of music. Challenge them to find one or more examples of songs from that genre.
  3. Once students are finished with their research, instruct them to write a brief essay highlighting what surprised them about the genre of music they studied. 

ASSESSMENT: 

Have students play recordings of songs from their genre as they share their essays with the class. After the presentations are finished, challenge the class to create a playlist featuring at least one song from each genre they heard.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:     

Grades 3-4:
Complete the activity as a class. After identifying a multitude of genres, have students vote to decide which genre of music to study. Divide the class into four groups, and assign each group one topic: define the genre; list important moments in its history; identify noteworthy musicians; or find recordings of songs from that genre. Have groups share what they learned. Then have students each write an essay about what surprised them the most. Work as a class to create a playlist of students' favorite songs from the genre.

Grades 5-6:
As a class, identify as many genres of music as possible. Then divide the class into small groups. Assign each group one genre of music to study. Have group members each write an essay telling what surprised them the most. Then have all groups share their essays with the class. As a class, create a playlist featuring one song from each genre of music that students studied.

Grades 7-8: 
As a class, identify as many genres of music as possible. Then divide the class into pairs. Assign each pair one genre of music to study. Have each partner write an essay telling what surprised him or her the most. Then have pairs share their essays with the class. As a class, have students create a playlist of their favorite songs from each genre. Challenge them to include one older song and one new song from each genre.

Grades 9-10:
As a class, identify as many genres of music as possible. Then divide the class into pairs. Assign each pair one genre of music to study. As they investigate, challenge partners to learn how the type of music they're studying has crossed over into one or more other genres of music. Have each partner write an essay telling what surprised him or her the most. Then have pairs share their essays with the class. As a class, have students create a playlist of their favorite songs from each genre. Challenge them to include at least one older song and one new song from each genre.