Music for Kids 

Music for School - Free Lesson Plans


Teach a little at a time.

Teach one or two sections, then go on to other activities. Teach the rest another time. As a general rule, I don't play the recording until the second or third day we've worked on a piece. The lessons are most successful when preparation time is adequate.

Teach to an objective - within your music curriculum.

These lessons are most practical when used to reinforce the concepts you are teaching. Melody, Rhythm, Timbre, Form, Harmony, Expressive Qualities . . . whatever your scope and sequence calls for is teachable through pre-listening activities and reinforced by listening to the works of the masters.  Adding classical music to your teaching repertoire does not take away from the teaching of the rest of your curriculum; it adds to it.

Listen without the distraction of an activity.

Once the students are very familiar with an activity, have them listen without any activity. One “trick” I like to use is to have them listen to the parts they do NOT know.  Even after spending hours with a piece, I find that I hear new things when I decide to hear all the parts that are “new” to me. Try it!  Suddenly the accompaniment opens up a new world . . .  or you’ll find new understanding of the melody.

Choose which parts to teach.

You don't have to do all of every piece. It's sometimes enough to teach the recurring theme, let the students find it in the piece, and have them discover the differences in it as it occurs.  You can also teach only a portion -- teach the accompaniment or the ostinato, or teach the melody or the rhythm.  Depending upon your student’s age and inclination, lessons can easily be adapted by adding more complexity or simplifying.  There’s something especially gratifying aboute sharing the same composer across the grade levels.  Siblings know the same work . . . the entire school shares the same vocabulary of composers.

Choose your facts and photos carefully.

Choose facts that place the composer into historical and cultural perspective appropriate to the

grade level of your students, as well as tidbits that will be of interest to your students.  I like to share images of composers both young and old to help the students realize these were real people who were, in many ways, just like people today.

Fit the classics into your current program and curriculum.

Having a Composer of the Month and playing the same songs for each of my grade levels has been very successful for me.  That way the entire school has the same listening experience.  At one school, the principal was very behind me on this, and he played the piece at the beginning of the school day over the P.A. -- before the announcements.  In a small town where I lived, the local radio station made Wednesday night their “Composer of the Month” night, and played whatever piece we were working on - as well as other pieces by that composer - every Wednesday starting at 7:00 PM.  Ask - you never know what you’ll receive!

Write your own lessons – or get more of mine.

Using Singing, Speech, Body Percussion, Instruments, Mime, and Dance provides unlimited opportunities for active listening lessons. If you want more lessons like these, check out my links to free lessons -- then join the Composer of the Month Club! At $2.95/month it’s a steal.



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           Darva Campbell 

Darva has been a music educator for thirty years. She’s worked with every age student from preschool through post graduate. 

Darva’s Master’s Thesis was on introducing classical music to children. 

Since then, she has created over 300 active listening lessons on composers from every era and every genre.

Darva has presented sessions on “Active Listening Lessons; Classical Music for Children,” throughout the United States and Canada.

It’s time to share!

Gustav Mahler

Gustav Mahler