Music Activities (for all classrooms)

Contemporary Soundtrack (adapted from Goering 2009)

This is an activity appropriate for any subject where you might have to prepare a presentation combining images and music from a specific time period (Jazz Age, Vietnam War, Renaissance, etc.) to help create a sense of the time period being studied.  After your presentation, you can have students reflect on the presentation as they suggest a musical addition.


  1. Engage your class in a presentation to create a sense of a specific time period.
  2. After reflecting on the presentation, offer students the opportunity to suggest a current music selection.  Their selection should illustrate their opinion as to what the period is being studied. 
  3. As a bit of extension, you can have students create a CD case with a set list of songs, images for a cover, and liner notes to help students internalize the information being studied. 

Name Why That Tune (adapted from Goering 2009)

 This is an easy activity for either tapping a student’s prior knowledge or introducing students to a concept for a lesson’s exploration as students use reasoning to make connections between content and song lyrics. 


  1. Play a song at the beginning of the class period and ask students to predict how the song relates to that day’s lesson (or how it relates to the previous day’s lesson). 
  2. Next, ask students at the end of the hour to explain how the song actually connected (or didn’t) as closure for the lesson. This method serves to focus students’ attention while establishing a culture of inquiry.