We all know that teaching song analysis to your middle school and general music students can be a bit of a rollercoaster. But it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences, especially when you can see when they “get it”!
Music students in grades 6-9, are at a crucial age for musical and literacy development, and they benefit immensely from understanding the intricacies of music song analysis, especially through the lens of the Elements of Music.
The challenge, of course, is to keep them engaged throughout the process. The good news is that there is a solution for you. In this blog post, you will be guided through the steps to make song analysis not just accessible but also enjoyable for your students, all thanks to these fantastic music song analysis teaching resources.
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Preparing your students for the exciting task of conducting their own song analysis requires laying a solid foundation in music terms and vocabulary. To kickstart this process, make certain that you’ve taught your music students the necessary terminology that is crucial for their achievement in music classroom song analysis. For an in-depth guide on teaching music terms to your students, feel free to delve into the details offered in this blog post.
Step 1 – Starting with Song Analysis Worksheets
Before you even think about starting any sort of song analysis with your students, you first need to decide a few things.
- What Elements of Music will you focus on?
- What is the Music Topic that you are studying?
- What do my students already know?
- What sort of music do my students enjoy listening to?
- What are the literacy skills of my students?
Once you have your answers to these questions, it will make the rest of the song analysis process much easier!
The answers to these questions are like the foundation stones for your analysis journey. They bring structure to the learning process, helping your students get a grip on those fundamental music concepts.
Once you have decided on where to start and what music to focus on for your song analysis, you might need some resources to help and guide you and your students through the process.
No need to reinvent the wheel! Check out our Music Song Analysis Project Bundle. In this Bundle of Elements of Music Song Analysis resources, you’ll find task descriptions, marking rubrics, biography graphic organizers for research, and guided song analysis worksheets covering each of the Elements of Music – Melody, Rhythm, Timbre, Harmony, Texture, Structure/Form, Dynamics, and Tonality. It’s like having a complete toolkit for song analysis right at your fingertips.
Step 2 – Picking the Right Song for Analysis
Choosing the right song for analysis can make a world of difference for both you and your music students. The song you select can either ignite that spark in your students or leave them scratching their heads. It’s crucial to find songs that align with your curriculum and engage your students.
To find the right music for analysis, first research a few options for your students, play them in class and then ask them to vote on which one they would like to study during the song analysis process. HINT when you start this with your students, choose songs that are more simple in nature, it will be much easier for your students to “hear” the answers to the song analysis questions.
Step 3- Classroom Modeling of Song Analysis
Incorporating a classroom modeling of the song analysis process means giving your students a live demo of how it’s done. It’s a hands-on approach that makes the song analysis process tangible and easier for them to know what to do when they start to work independently. Whether you’re diving into melody, rhythm, or tonality, our teaching resources provide support for classroom modeling. It’s all about making it more accessible for both you and your students.
To model the song analysis process follow these steps
- Choose an Element of Music and set of questions to use for the song analysis.
- Choose a song to study.
- Show your students the song analysis questions and discuss what each question means. Check for understanding of any terms that they might be struggling with.
- Discuss possible music terms that could be used for each question. You might want to record these music terms somewhere for your students to refer to and use.
- Play the music and let your students listen for the answers. You might need to play the music a couple of times, even if it is only a small section of the music.
- Discuss the answers to the questions and model a correct response with your students by recording it for all students to see.
- If needed, listen to the music again and check the answers to each song analysis question.
- Discuss the answers and check for student understanding.
Step 4 – Setting Students Up for Success with Song Analysis Samples
Once you have modeled the song analysis process with your class, you will need to think of other ways to set your students up for success. One way is by providing them with song analysis samples. It is important to give your students a wide variety of samples, both good and bad! Through the study of song analysis samples, your student will hopefully find their own ‘aha’ moment that can boost their confidence. The Song Analysis Bundle comes with sample analyses, but, with AI and tools like CHAT GPT, you can easily create other samples for your students to use.
Step 5 – Independent Song Analysis Listening Assignment
Now that you have walked your students through the song analysis process, it is time for them to complete their own independent song analysis assignments. This is where your students will put their newfound song analysis skills to the test. They get to express their understanding of the Elements of Music through analysis. The Song Analysis Bundle resource even offers ideas for assessing and evaluating their work, making your job a little easier!
Teaching song analysis does not need to be an uphill battle in your music classroom. With the right resources and teaching approach, it can be the highlight of your middle school music appreciation curriculum. Our teaching resources, including the Music Song Analysis Project Bundle, are classroom tested and have been tailor-made to simplify the process for both you and your music students. Whether you’re starting with the listening and song analysis worksheets, picking engaging songs, using the song analysis writing samples, modeling in the classroom, or setting independent assignments, you’ll find everything you need included on the bundle.
Until next time
Julia from Jooya