Music Lesson Plans

I posted some ideas from my schoolroom on my blog and put the above picture with a brief mention of our music plans.  Since I received several emails asking for my plans, I thought I would post them here too.
Materials needed:
Carnival of Animals, Classical Music for Kids for grades K-3
The Story of the Orchestra by Robert Devine for grades 4-6
The Gift of Music by Jane Stewart Smith for grades 7-9
You may also want to get:

Musical Instruments for grades K-6
Alphabet Art for grades K-3
Orchestra Bingo for grades 4-9
A monthly subscription to Classical Archives

The Carnival of Animals (K-3)
You will also need:
  1. paper that is blank on the top and lined on the bottom, or blank paper
  2. colored pencils
  3. your imagination
  4. a CD player

This book and CD is so much fun to go through with younger children.  As you go through the book you are listening for animal sounds that are created by various instruments.  It makes the time memorable if you act like these animals that you are hearing.  Roar like a lion.  Hop like a kangaroo.

Science add on:
You could even have your children make paper plate masks of each animal as you go through them week by week, if you wanted to study these animals habitats and behaviors as part of your science.  You could get the book Alphabet Art, Animal Art and Finger Plays, for some fun crafts that would go along with your music lesson.

You will go through a two page spread once a week.  Doing the same thing for each track of the CD.

  1. Listen to the previous animal sounds on the CD.
  2. Read the new pages introducing the new animal sound.
  3. Listen to the new instrument animal sound several times.
After you listen to the new animal sound you should ask your child to draw what they heard on blank or blank on top/lined on the bottom paper.  Give them time to draw what they heard with colored pencils, encouraging them to remember details.After they have drawn their picture ask them to write two sentences about their picture.  If they are too young to write on their own you can have them dictate this to you and you write it.

* I have found that my children in the 4-6 grade ages like doing this too.  So, feel free to include them during this activity.  I require mine to write more then two sentences.

The Story of the Orchestra (4-6)

You may also need:

  1. Musical Instruments coloring book if you have younger children (K-3) that will be doing this music plan along with you.  For 3.95, you will have coloring pictures of children playing instruments to copy and have the little ones color while you read to the older children.
  2. You may also want to get a copy of Orchestra Bingo, or any other listening type game that you have to name the instruments of the orchestra.

As you move through the Carnival of Animals, you will notice that you are listening to different sections of an orchestra playing.  You can use the Carnival of Animals as your spine and go to the specific sections of The Story of the Orchestra as you come to them.  Or, you can just break this book up into weekly segments.

My younger children (K-3) like to look at the pictures of the instruments in this book.  And, I will say things like, “Remember the lion roaring?  That was this instrument.”

A fun game to play with this book is a game that encourages listening to the different sounds, such as Orchestra Bingo.  My children look forward to this once a week.

Instrument dominoes– If you cannot get a listening bingo type game, then you could print out these instrument dominoes and use them to go over the names of instruments.  As the weeks progress you could time your child lining up the dominoes and see if they can beat their own time.

An orchestra lapbook – If you are looking to add activities to this study, then try this lapbook that goes along with The Story of the Orchestra.

The Gift of Music (7-9)

This age range of children would benefit from going through The Story of the Orchestra together with you, and playing a game to help cement in the sounds of the different instruments.  Also, listening to classical music daily will be a great way to help them gain an appreciation for it.  As they progress through The Gift of Music, you can get CD’s from the library of the composer that they are reading about.  Or, you may want to consider using Classical Archives to listen to music right off of your computer.  You can get a 2 week trial or a monthly subscription for 9.95.

The Gift of Music should be added to their weekly reading.  Simply decide how many weeks you are going to give them to read this book and divide the number of pages by the number of weeks.  This book does not have to coincide with The Carnival of Animals or The Story of the Orchestra.

My suggestion:

I suggest that you have your child create notebooking pages of what they read about right after they read it.  If they are reading daily, they should be writing a small paragraph about what they read about.  If they are reading a bigger chunk of the book once a week, they should be writing a page per chapter outlining the composer.

More fun:

You could have your child go to Classics for Kids and look up a particular composer to print off activity sheets, listen to their music or learn more about them.

After a few weeks of reading, give this to your child to complete:  Famous Musicians worksheet.

Here is a one-sheet biography report you can have them do for fun.

So how does this all fit together? This is what our music time looks like:

We do a music lesson once a week.  So, every Wednesday I have 45 minutes scheduled for music.  I bring in my K-3 grade children and we listen to the Carnival of Animals tracks that we listened to previously.  Then we look at our new 2 page spread and listen to the new track several times.  This takes approx 10 minutes.I then call in my 4-6 grade children and play the entire CD for them.  They have paper and colored pencils in front of them and they are instructed to draw what they hear.  They don’t like to draw the same things as the week before so they draw something new.  After the CD is over, I let them finish (approx 10 minutes) and then I ask them to write what their picture is about.  I sit down with my two little ones and write whatever they say.

Then, I call in my oldest children and we pick up the Story of the Orchestra and read where we left off.  I like to read round-robin to keep them on their toes.  With the little ones on my lap we point to pictures of instruments.  When the little ones get bored they take their coloring sheet of an instrument and go sit down and color while we continue to read.  This takes approx 15 min.

Next, it’s game time.  We play Listening Lotto (a game that I bought years ago).  This is approx 10 min.

I then ask to see what my oldest has been reading and writing about from The Gift of Music.  I point him in the direction of some music that he can listen to online that goes with his upcoming composers.  He sets his own reading schedule for this book.

Written by Brenda, a classical eclectic mother of five.  She blogs about their lifestyle of learning at The Tie That Binds Us.  Come see her blog make-over and win some give-aways this week!

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday.

Angie Kauffman
Angie, a domestically challenged nerd and mom of three very fun kids, is the founder of Real Life at Home.  Angie also listens to music every chance she gets, writes eBookspodcastsloves Pinterestdocuments the little moments in life on Instagram, and occasionally sleeps.


  1. Shannon Wallace says

    Thanks for writing on this topic! I needed some ideas for incorporating music in a fun way that a 4 and 7 year old can enjoy!

  2. says

    Thanks so much for this article! I’m getting ready to write lesson plans for a co-op class on The Story of the Orchestra/Musical Instruments and this is exactly the info I was looking for.