Teaching form in music can be a dry and boring topic for students. But it doesn’t have to be! Here are 5 fun and interactive form in music lesson ideas that will engage your students and get them thinking about what is form in music in a new way.
Looking for some ways to bring new life to your music program? Why not grab yourself a copy of this helpful resource 5 Ways to Makeover Your Music Curriculum download. Click here to find out more.
Listen for Form in Music
One of the best ways to help students start to identify musical form is to get them to start listening for repetition and repeating musical ideas. For this lesson idea, start by playing a piece of music for your students. As you listen, point out any repeated sections. This could be something as simple as a repeated melody or a section that is repeated in a different key. Ask your students to listen for the repetitions next time you play the piece.
One way to make this interactive is to have students come up with some simple dance moves that will represent each musical idea that is repeated. Once you have the “dance moves” have the students get up and get moving with the dance moves for each repeating section of the music.
To extend your students, and their understanding of form in music, choose a song, then let them show their creativity by creating their own dance moves, choreography or even a body percussion piece. After students have had enough time to plan and rehearse, have them perform for the rest of the class.
Find the Melody – Find the Form
When your students have a good grasp on hearing and identifying the repeating sections on a piece of music, progress them onto recognizing the melody and how it is performed. The melody is often the most memorable part of the song, and it can be helpful for students to pick it out so they can refer back to it later. For more ideas on songs to use to teach form in music, check out this blog post explaining What is Structure in Music (structure is another name for form!).
Listen and Map the Musical Structure
Now that your students have identified the melody and any repetition, challenge them to map out the form of the piece on paper. To help them get started, make sure that they know the names of the each part of the music you are listening to. For example, if the music is in song form, then give them the terms in the song – introduction, verse, chorus, bridge, solo and coda. It is also helpful to give each section a different shape, see the image below for an example of a song form map. If they’re struggling, you can provide them with a few blank spaces to fill in or give them specific sections to label (verse, chorus, bridge, etc.).
Listen for Similarities and Differences in the Form of Different Pieces
A great way to reinforce what your students have learned is to listen for the similarities and differences of two versions of the same piece of music. You can do this by playing two pieces side-by-side and having your students identify the similarities and differences between them. Try having students work in small groups to map out the form of the music for each piece of music, then discuss as a class their analysis of the form in the music.
As an extension of this activity, play a piece of music and have students map out the structure. Then ask students to research and find another piece of music with the same musical form.
If you want to make this easy for yourself, be sure to check out the Structure in Music Listening Worksheets. This set of worksheets has everything you need to compare the similarities and differences of the form used in a piece of music and even includes suggested songs to compare! Click here to grab your set today.
Compose using a Given Musical Form
After all this listening and analyzing, it’s time for your students to create their own original piece of music with a specific form in mind. They can work alone or in small groups, and they can use any instrument they want – traditional or non-traditional! Encourage them to be creative and have fun with it.
One way to do this is to give students some simple and familiar melodies to work with. For example, give them 3 songs, in the same key and time signature such as Hot Cross Buns, Mary had a Little Lamb and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Then break students into different groups and assign a different musical form to each group – binary, ternary, rondo and monothematic are all good structure to use. Then let your music students choose how to arrange their chosen melodies into the given structure. This could either be done with students performing their arrangements or even use music composition software of your choosing!
Want some more ideas on how to make your music classes more interesting and fun for students? Try these ideas in the 5 Ways to Makeover Your Music Curriculum download. Click here to find out more.
Teaching what is structure and form in music doesn’t have to be dull! By using these 5 engaging form in music lesson ideas, your students will be having so much fun they won’t even realize they’re learning. So put on some tunes and get started today!