Learning about what is structure in music does not need to be difficult. In fact, if you use these few simple lesson ideas and strategies, then your students will learn what is structure in music easily, and what is even better they will remember it!
The simplest way to learn about what is structure in music, or what is musical form, is to apply the structure music terms to the music they like to personally listen to. Using the music they enjoy will help to engage them in the lesson, and if you use a few simple strategies that you explicitly teach, then your students will be able to use the structure in music terms and musical vocabulary in a confident manner.
If you would like to learn about all the terms used to describe what is structure in music, then click here to read all about them in this blog post OR you can find lots of classroom ready Structure Music resources over in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store, click here to see what is available.
If you are confident about what is structure in music, then read on to find out how to apply these in a music lesson.
Structure in Music Mind Map
One of the best and simplest ways to apply the terms for what is structure in music is to use an Elements of Music mind map.
These mind maps are a really versatile music appreciation class resource. Below are just some of the ways you can use them with your music classes
- To learn what is structure in music- the structure music terms, structure music definitions or structure music vocabulary
- As a listening map for the structure of the music you are studying in class
- To outline the structure of a composition
- To outline the structure of a performance
- As part of an assessment for performance, composition or music appreciation
Step by Step Tutorial for How to Write About Structure in Music
One of the best ways to use these free Elements of Music mind maps while learning what is structure in music is to use it as part of a listening or music appreciation lesson. These mind maps are great for helping students to not only understand what is structure in music, but also to be able to write about what is structure in music for any song they choose to analyse.
In this tutorial, the demonstration is focussed on the use of the overall song structure and the ostinatos heard in the music. The song used in this step-by-step tutorial is Horror Movie performed by the Australian band – the Skyhooks.
Before we begin, there are two structure in music terms that are used in this lesson, that need to be defined.
- Structure – the arrangement and order of the different parts of a piece of music
- Ostinato – a repeated musical pattern. This could be a rhythmic ostinato, a melodic ostinato or even a chordal ostinato.
In this song by the Skyhooks, the use of structure and ostinatos is as follows:
- Structure – the overall structure is song form because the song features two main sections of a verse and a chorus
- Ostinato – there are several heard in the music. Electric guitar – is a chordal ostinato that performs a “syncopated up strum”, the bass guitar performs a melodic ostinato, and the drums perform two different rhythmic ostinatos, one for the verse and one for the chorus.
The Structure in Music Mind Map can be used as the basis for writing analytically about the structure of a piece of music, and more specifically about how this Element of Music is used in this particular song. This step-by-step writing about music tutorial uses a unique and simple method that can be applied to any piece of music that you are studying using the M.U.S.I.C. writing scaffold.
M.U.S.I.C. is a simple to use writing about music scaffold that stands for
M- Main Music Idea
U- Understanding of the main music idea
S- Specific Sample that supports the main musical idea
I – In depth Information about that specific sample
C- Connect to the question or Element/Concept of Music
For the song – Horror Movie, performed by the Skyhooks, an example of how M.U.S.I.C. is used to explain the use of structure and ostinatos in the music is explained and shown in the paragraph and images below.
- Main Idea – Structure, In this song, there are several ostinatos
- Understanding – in music refers to the order and arrangement of the different parts of the music. An ostinato is a repeated musical pattern
- Samples and In-Depth Information – In the verse, the bass guitar and lead guitar perform a melodic ostinato. A second electric guitar performs a chordal ostinato, that is a syncopated up strum pattern, off the beat. There is also a rhythmic ostinato performed by the drum kit in the verse and chorus. In the verse and chorus, each instrument performs a different ostinato.
- Connect to Element of Music – In rock and pop music, the different riffs performed make the piece cohesive and memorable.
How this paragraph comes together would look like the sample below
A colour coded version of the paragraph would look like the image below
You can watch a live demonstration of this step-by-step tutorial, you can watch it here.
If you have found this helpful and would like to know more on how to write about music using the M.U.S.I.C. scaffold, check out the Writing About Music Course here.
This course will not only explain all the music terms and vocabulary you will need to know when studying music with listening examples, but will take you step by step through the process with lots of videos and examples of how to use this method. The course includes pdf printables, videos and plenty of examples of the M.U.S.I.C. scaffold used by former and current students.
Until next time
Happy listening and writing
Julia from Jooya