Karen Brown
Arts and Humanities
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Middle School
  • Musical Styles
  • musical-styles
  • License:
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Education: Music Overtones


    Musical Overtones is a four-week unit that connects music and history. Students research musical styles as it relates to the other arts and science. Students select a musician and analyze his or her work and its impact on history. A discussion of this impact is presented in an open forum during instructional time.

    My Music Sampler

    Music Overtones


    Students research, read and discuss musical styles. Students choose one musician to write a narrative answering the question: In what ways What did the musician you selected impact history?

    This four-week unit is designed for seventh graders as means to develop comprehension and collaboration skills.

    The focus standards are taken from the Common Core State Standards with an emphasis on speaking and listening.


    Note specific details about the selected musician (RL.7.1, SL.7.1, L.7.8)

    Identify jobs for group work (SL.7.1)

    Assign jobs for group members (SL.71)

    Perform assigned tasks

    Required Materials

    Access to technology/Internet

    11” x 17” paper for timeline

    Music Journals


    1. Lead-in

    Divide the class into small groups. Assign Musical Styles Notetaker Chart. Group selects a band in time to create a timeline.

    1. Group recalls details about their musical style. They also conduct further research concerning these details.
    2. Group rehearses their presentations of the musical style.
    3. Closure

              Groups identify final task to be completed prior to their presentations.



    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.



    Activity 1: Bringing History into Music

    Directions: Use a chart to take notes about music movements, and develop a timeline poster on 11 x 17 inches paper.

    With your group and choose a time segment and country. Integrate the music movements with the important historical events, art, literature, and science developments from the Baroque era to the modern era. Include England, France, America, Germany, Russia, and Spain.

    Using technology locate information about your country and movement for music history to create your timeline.

    • Identify scientific discoveries in relation to other events.
    • Find developments in music from Romanticism, Impressionism and the new directions taken in the early twentieth century.
    • Locate important writers and include titles of their works in your timeline.
    • Find important artists and list their works in another band of your chart.
    • Plan your chart horizontally using Timeline Notes Chart. List time segments across the top. Plan sections under each time period for the countries each group has researched. Allow for a wider space for America.

    Make your timeline interesting

    Music History Timeline Notes.


























































    Activity 2: Research - Tracing Music Movements

    Directions: Choose one musician from the time period chart. Study the life and style of the musician. Using the internet study your musician and become familiar with his or her works. Take notes using the following questions in your music journal:

    • To which movement did the musician belong?
    • What country was he or she from?
    • Describe the style for which the musician is most noted.
    • Listen to a composition by your musician. Write the title of the composition and the year created.
    • Find out what historical and social events contributed to the work or the style of the artist you are studying.
    • What personal goals or opinions about music did this person express, either in works of music or in quotations you may find?

    Activity 3: Music/Writing

    Listen to music from the Great Depression. Discuss how music can provide insight into historical events. What do you learn about these events by listening to music?  Write your response in your journal before discussing it in class.

    Activity 4: Seven Pieces

    Directions: Create a playlist of 7 Classical Pieces. Use musicians from the 1960s.







    Song Title (Composition)







































    ASSESSMENT: Musical Styles

    After completing all four activities, complete the writing assessment.