Resources for Music Education

This music unit from Core Knowledge is meant to address musical themes throughout the school year. Singing, speech, movement, and instruments are all used to teach beat, tempo, rhythm, pitch, coordination, sequencing, and more.

Music teachers will surely appreciate the various creative ideas for bulletin boards at this site.

Seven musical activities are addressed to students aged 5 to 11. Writing music, rhythm, and singing are all covered.

This unit for primary grades explores musical components, instruments, and composers. Note the first two linked resources have new URLs:

Teaching ideas!

Help your students especially string students explore the power of music in their lives. If they are able to see The Music of My Heart, ask them to pay attention to the music played by students in the movie--it ranges from "Twinkle" to the Offenbach "Can-Can" and the Bach Double Concerto. Ask the students which pieces in their current repertoire are their favorites, and see if they can identify the musical and technical challenges of those pieces. And engage in a classroom discussion and homework assignment. The lesson idea here is mostly for upper-elementary (4th or 5th grade) students, but could easily be adapted for middle-level students:

Students will:

  • identify various uses of music in their daily experiences and describe characteristics that make certain music suitable for each use
  • identify and describe roles of musicians in various music settings and cultures
  • identify some of the ways that music study contributes to their lives (Note that these objectives are related to National Standard 9: Understanding music in relation to history and culture.)


  • Paper and pencil
  • About 15 minutes of class time on one day; about 10 minutes on a second day

1. Lead a class discussion on the ways that music contributes to the school. Accept any reasonable answers and note them on the board, encouraging the students with suggestions as necessary. You will probably come up with something like:

  • making the school day more interesting for students
  • making events (games, awards ceremonies) more powerful
  • providing a way for parents to see and hear the results of education

2. Lead a second discussion on the ways that students make individual, musical contributions to the school. You may end up with a list including:

  • playing in assemblies and other school events
  • using practice skills that they learn in music to be better students in other subjects
  • using the ensemble skills that they learn in music to be better classroom participants
  • talking to other kids about the ways that music study is fun

3. Finish with a discussion on the ways that music study contributes to each student. You may find students volunteering that:

  • music study gives them something that they can demonstrate to their peers
  • music gives them an emotional and creative outlet
  • the discipline of practicing gives them more discipline in their other studies
  • music performances give them a way to make their parents proud

4. Using any of the facts listed on this poster, tell the students some of the other ways that music study helps them grow. Tell them that in the movie, The Music of My Heart, a group of kids in New York experience many of the same benefits from music education that your students have just listed. Ask a student volunteer to record all of the class suggestions from the board, adding the important facts that you bring into the discussion.

5. Ask students to spend a week researching ways that music is played and contributes to their family and community. Specifically, assign each student the task of interviewing at least three individuals (parents, relatives, neighbors) for whom music is important asking:

  • How and where do they get involved in music (playing in high school rock band, playing folk music at home, performing in a community ensemble, singing in a choir)
  • What they think their music contributes to the home or community
  • What they think the music contributes to them

6. In a later class session, ask students to present their reports orally. Once again, note them on the board. Combine the results of these reports with the notes from the earlier class dicussion in a class publication that can be presented to parents, administrators, and other decision-makers in the community.

Every Student...

Online Resources


250,000 Titles of Sheet Music

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Rhythm Band Instruments

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