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April 9th, 2009
Lesson Plan 1: Experimental Music

National Standards for Arts Education: Music
Web site:

Content Standard 6: Listening to, analyzing, and describing music
Grades 5-8 Achievement Standard

  • Students analyze the uses of elements of music in aural examples representing diverse genres and cultures
  • Students demonstrate knowledge of the basic principles of meter, rhythm, tonality, intervals, chords, and harmonic progressions in their analyses of music

Content Standard 9: Understanding music in relation to history and culture
Grades 5-8 Achievement Standard

  • Students describe distinguishing characteristics of representative music genres and styles from a variety of cultures

National Science Standards
Web Site:

Content Standard A: Science as Inquiry
As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop:

  • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
  • Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigations
  • Design and conduct a scientific investigation
  • Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data
  • Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence
  • Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations
  • Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions

For each student:

  • 2 copies of the “Music Experiment Writeup” organizer (RTF) (PDF)
  • 2 copies of the “Music Response Survey” organizer (RTF) (PDF)

For the class:

  • Computer with internet access and audiovisual projection system, for playing video segments and chord structure interactive
  • Simple drawings (smileys) of a happy face, sad face, and scared face, to be posted in the classroom (can be printed from images on the web or drawn yourself – see Prep for Teachers)

Students will be able to:

  • Name and give examples demonstrating comprehension of the basic elements of music: pitch, rhythm, tempo, timbre, melody, and harmony.
  • Understand that intervals and chords refer to combinations of notes, and that different combinations can be associated with different feelings or responses.
  • Understand that some of our responses to music are learned through experience and may not be shared in all populations or cultures.
  • Determine a research question that can form the basis of an experiment on the topic of people’s responses to music.
  • Conduct an experiment according to the scientific method that tests a question pertaining to people’s responses to music.

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