Teaching what is texture in music with your music classes can be a challenge, but it’s an important element of music for students to understand. Texture is the overall thickness or thinness of a piece of music, and it can be affected by factors like instrumentation, harmony, and melody. These five music lesson activities for texture in music will help your students understand what musical texture is in a fun and engaging way.
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Experiment with Texture in Music
For this first texture in music activity, you’ll need some classroom instruments – whatever you have will work. First, divide your students into small groups and give each group a set of the instruments. Then, have them experiment with creating different textures in the music by playing alone, playing together with other members of their group, or by layering their sound on top of another group’s instrumentation. This is a great way for them to experience firsthand how different textures are created.
After each group has had some time to experiment with the different textures, bring the class back together and have each group perform their favorite texture that they created. After each performance, discuss the density created by the group.
Perform a Simple Round
One of the best ways to help your students understand texture in music, is to have them perform a simple tune using several different types of textures. The first thing you will need to do is teach the definition for each type of textures – monophonic, homophonic, and polyphonic. You can learn more about each of these types of textures by reading this blog post.
It also helps if your students understand what are the musical roles in a piece of music – melody, melodic accompaniment, bass line, chordal accompaniment, beat and rhythmic accompaniment. To find out more about the roles of an instrument, click here.
Next you will need to choose a simple round or cannon to perform. One of my favorite pieces for this lesson is to use – Hey Ho, Anybody Home, but any round will do.
Teach the melody, by either singing or playing on an instrument you have available in the classroom.
Once they can play the melody, start explaining the type of texture being performed.
Unison – everybody playing together the melody alone
Homophonic – some students playing the melody, and others performing a melody accompaniment. You could have students play a simple melodic ostinato or even play the chords on the ukulele or guitar.
Polyphonic and Round – perform the melody in groups, each starting at a different point, creating the round or canon.
You can even extend this further by adding other musical lines or layers with a bassline, melodic accompaniment, and rhythmic accompaniment. Each time you add another layer to the texture, discuss the effect that the layer has on the music.
Composing with Texture
This texture composition music lesson idea is best done after the previous music lesson activity. Put students in small groups and give each group a set of instruments from what you have in the classroom. Ask your students to compose a short piece of music using only those instruments and using a certain type of texture. To make this interesting you could choose to give your students a simple melody to base their compositions, or even have them pick randomly what type of texture they are to create their compositions in – monophonic, homophonic, polyphonic, or a round.
After your students have had time to compose and rehearse, have each group perform for the class and the rest of the class is to identify the type of texture was used in the music.
Identify the Texture in the Music
For this music lesson activity, make sure that your students understand the different types of texture in music. The choose a variety of songs for them to respond and write down the type of texture being used.
If you have mini white boards available to you and your students, they could write their answers on the boards and hold up their answers for you to check. This could even be done in small groups, and why not try doing this as a game to see which group can get the most types of texture correct!
Another way to do this with little preparation is to have students write down their answers on a sheet of paper. After playing the music you have selected correct the work and see who are your texture in music masters!
This activity is also great as a lesson starter or as an exit ticket.
Compare the Texture
This comparison texture listening lesson makes a great assessment for your music appreciation students. Have students listen to two versions of a piece of music with different textures and ask them to discuss both the similarities and differences.
To make this activity easy for you, try the Texture in Music Listening Worksheets. In this resource is everything you need to teach what is texture in music with your music classes. It has texture in music definitions, texture in music listening questions and even suggested music to study and analyze! Use the link here to grab yourself a set of this Texture in Music printable resource.
Texture is an important element in music that can be challenging for students to understand. However, with these five fun and engaging activities, your students will be grasping this important element of music in no time! By having them listen for the different types of texture in their favorite songs, experimenting with classroom instruments, writing their own music using various textures throughout, and more, your students will develop a strong understanding of how texture in music contributes to the overall feel of a piece of music.