Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan #14

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Music Theories: Exploring the Music World Through Reviews and Research

Grades 7 to 12

Language Arts, Journalism, Social Studies, Music

In this lesson, students explore the role of music in our lives as a springboard for writing music reviews and researching other genres of music. Use SchoolNet News Network's website: http://www.snn-rdr.ca/snn/ to assist students with learning more about journalism skills, provide interaction with other student/teachers throughout Canada and as a safe, structured environment for students to publish their writing.




1. WARM-UP/ DO-NOW: In their journals, students respond to the following:

  • List as many different types of music as you can.
  • What elements make one type of music different from another?
  • What different roles does music play in our society?

Students then share their answers, and the teacher should write responses on the board.

. Class discuss music, what it means to them and the different types of music they listen to.

3. Each student selects a favourite artist or musical group as the subject of a music review. The goal of the review is to persuade others to be interested in this artist or group, so language use is critical to the success of the review. Students should respond to the following in writing their reviews:

  • What type of music does this artist or group perform? (e.g., hip-hop, jazz, blues, pop)
  • What words would you use to describe the style of this artist or group?
  • What emotions does the music conjure up in its listeners?
  • What do you want to do when you listen to the music?
  • What special talents does the artist or group possess, and how are these talents demonstrated?
  • Describe a few songs performed by the artist or group and discuss how these songs relate back to the style of the artist or group.
  • How does this music reflect the society in which it was written?

Hand out to students copies of the Music Review by SNN Reporter ‘Aqua: Aquarius' so they can see how a review is done. Students should then read over their review and make the language more interesting, descriptive, and persuasive. Review SNN Writing Guide with students. Their article should answer the 5 W's: Who, What, When, Where, Why (and sometimes How). Tell them about the inverted pyramid. This means that articles should be written with the most important information first and the least important last.

4. Students brainstorm what they think is the basic information one needs to know about a genre of music to accurately report about it, such as where and when it began, musical instruments used, famous musicians associated with the genre, popular songs, and how the genre has evolved from its inception to today.

5. WRAP-UP/ HOMEWORK: Students refer to the board for suggestions from the journal writing exercise, and each student selects a different type of music as the subject of independent research. Students to do Music Reviews about the music group they have chosen.

These reviews are to be presented in class, along with any visual and audio aides. These reviews can also be published in their school newspaper or in an online youth ezine.


Students will be evaluated based on written journal entry, participation in class discussions, thoughtful and cohesive review of a musical artist or group, and research paper discussing a specific musical genre.




  • What roles does music play in society?
  • What roles does music play in other cultures?
  • How does one define "music"?
  • How do various musical genres differ from one another?
  • What does it mean when one says that a form of music "evolved"?
  • How does music reflect the lives of those who write and listen to it, as well as mirror society as a whole?



  1. Write a persuasive essay/opinion article supporting or refuting the censorship of music lyrics. Send your opinion article to SNN.




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