Planning lessons for your middle school music students can be daunting. This age group can be very challenging to deal with, especially in a class they don’t always want to be in. But, with great lesson plans and resources, it does not have to be that way. Below are 3 middle school music lesson ideas to engage your middle schoolers with interesting music lesson ideas, music activities and music worksheets all about the evolution of Rock Music.

Through many years of teaching general music to middle school classes, I have learned that music lesson content is key to engaging them in the lesson. If you present music lessons about the things that they enjoy, then they will be more involved in your lessons. Some great back to school lessons that I have found successful are through teaching them all about where Rock Music all started.


Rhythm Activities

You will find that your middle music students will be active in the lessons if you combine music history and music appreciation with hands on activities. Try introducing your students to African music through rhythm activities and playing different beats on the djembe or other types of hand drums. Even bucket drumming can be a great way to incorporate how African rhythms influenced so many American music styles and genres.

A simple way to introduce and reinforce performing rhythms is through using these Printable Rhythm Cards. Try either displaying the rhythm on your board or print out the cards so that your students can see them. Start by doing some echo clapping or drumming, then build to students performing them independently.

Link to the Printable Rhythm Cards Bundle here

To make this even more fun for your music students, give them a chance to compose and perform some rhythms that they create themselves. Your students will love working with their friends and making their own music together. Try giving each group a few different rhythm cards, and then ask them to create a rhythm using those cards. They can order the rhythms any way they wish, and you can ask them to perform a set number of bars in length, for example – 8, 16 or even 32!

You could make this activity even more interesting by giving your students the use of different percussion instruments and encouraging them to make different and interesting sounds with their instruments. Even using body percussion with this type of music composition lesson can be fun for your students.


Beginnings of Rock Music

Take your students back to where the music they like to listen to originated from. The music from Africa has been such an influence on the music of America. Through African music and rhythms, Jazz and Rock music evolved. Music and history are entwined through so many different events – some good, and a lot not so good.

Link to the African and Jazz Music worksheets here

As an educator you have the opportunity to make sure that music history is taught in a culturally sensitive way. Music has such power, and it has been through music that many people have found peace, a way to tell their story and a creative outlet for what drives them.

This unit of work, the Beginnings of Rock, tells the story of how Rock Music began. It is a brief introduction to African and Jazz music. You can use this resource to teach your students about the many issues that surround this time in history. Your students can learn about how music has changed the face of society through its deplorable beginnings.

Included in this resource are music history lessons, songs to learn and play, links to more songs to learn and play, elements of music appreciation listening activities and more. Everything you need is there for you, you just need to choose what you want to teach, and away you go!


Pioneers of Rock Music

After taking your students on a journey on how Rock Music began, extend their music appreciation through early Rock Music. In these music history lessons and worksheets, your students will learn where rock music started with a lesson on the Blues with musicians such as Robert Johnson.

Link to the Pioneers of Rock Music Worksheets here

After this, your students will learn about other musicians that were important to the development of early rock music such as Fats Domino, Bill Haley, Buddy Holly and Elvis.

If you want your students to learn more about other influential musicians of the time, try these Pioneers of Rock Music Study worksheets. These are great for the days you are away, as an in-class research activity or even as an assignment.

Link to the Rock Musician Worksheets here

Included in these rock music worksheets are links to songs to play, elements of music appreciation listening activities, extension activities and more. Try teaching this unit while your students learn to play the guitar, keyboard or drums. The links to the songs to play are easy and fun to learn and are even better if you have the whole class singing and playing together as an ensemble!


When you start your middle school music lessons with these music appreciation worksheets, both you and your students will enjoy coming to class and learning about what the history behind the music they like to listen to. Click the link below to check out these resources and more in my store.

3-middle-school-music-lesson-ideas-2020-store link 2

Until next time

Happy Teaching

Julia from Jooya

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