What our Famous Musicians lesson plan includes
Lesson Objectives and Overview: Famous Musicians teaches students about a variety of musicians. At the end of the lesson, students will be able to identify several famous musicians from different eras and genres. This lesson is for students in 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade.
Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the orange box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. To prepare for this lesson ahead of time, you can obtain the music that’s referenced in the content pages, pair students for the activity, and copy the handouts.
Options for Lesson
Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. For an additional activity, you can have your students create a booklet of past and present musicians with short bios, lists of their music, and more. You could also invite a musician, composer, or conductor to speak to your class about famous musicians and their music. Finally, you could use YouTube or other video sources to demonstrate how classical music is used in movies, commercials, and elsewhere.
The teacher notes page includes a paragraph with additional guidelines and things to think about as you begin to plan your lesson. This page also includes lines that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.
FAMOUS MUSICIANS LESSON PLAN CONTENT PAGES
Music and Musicians
The Famous Musicians lesson plan includes five content pages. You can hear music all over the place. You can use a streaming service, watching TV or YouTube videos, or find it in many other places. Commercials, movies and TV shows, churches, elevators and stores, and car radios all play music.
Many people consider music an important part of their lives. Music can entertain, relax, and inspire us. It can cause us to remember memories, bring people together, cause people to think, and bring out many different emotions in people.
One person can find a piece of music positive while another person could find it negative. One person might love a specific sound while someone else doesn’t like it. We’ve had music for forever. Today, we have many different musical genres and types, like jazz, rock and roll, classic rock, classical, folk, rhythm and blues, pop, hip hop, country, heavy metal, punk rock, reggae, funk, soul, techno, disco, alternative rock, gospel, new wave, and more.
All music has one thing in common: a musician composed or created it. Older music inspires new music. Some music is written by one person and performed by another person. Some musicians compose and sign their own songs, compose the music, and perform it in front of an audience.
Anyone can be a musician. Some musicians become famous for having a hit song, while others have remained famous for a long time. We consider some of these famous musicians great composers, while others have made a big impact on people’s lives for a long time.
Over time, we have had many famous musicians. There are so many that you can’t learn about all of them at once. Some people think that different musicians deserve to be famous. However, many experts and listeners think that the people in this lesson are some of the most influential composers and musicians ever. You have likely heard some of the music that these people created.
Johann Sebastian Bach (Germany, 1865-1750) came from a family of musicians. He worked as an organist in the 18th century and composed many famous pieces. He created over 1,000 compositions, including Art of Fugue. We often consider him the greatest composer of all time.
Ludwig Von Beethoven (Germany, 1770-1827) was also one of the greatest composers of all time, despite becoming deaf at 26 years old. He had a hard childhood and thought of music as an escape, and helped music transition from one style to the next. He wrote nine very famous symphonies, including his Fifth Symphony and Ninth Symphony.
Franz Schubert (Austria, 1797-1828) had an early gift for playing instruments like the piano, violin, and organ. His father and brother helped teach him. We know him mostly as a songwriter, but some of his biggest works include Symphony No. 9 in C Major, Ave Maria, and Winterreise.
Aaron Copland (United States, 1900-1990) is best known for Appalachian Spring and Fanfare for the Common Man. He became famous for his music for three ballets based on American folk material: Billy the Kid, Rodeo, and Appalachian Spring. He also wrote film scores for Of Mice and Men, Our Town, and more.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Austria, 1756-1791) only lived for 35 years but created 600 works including operas, symphonies, and more. He wrote his first symphony at age eight and was a child prodigy. Some of his most famous works are The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, and The Marriage of Figaro. Some people think he redefined the symphony with his work.
More Famous Musicians
The Beatles (England, formed 1960, disbanded 1970) were an English rock band that included John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. They’re the most influential act of the rock era and some of their famous songs include Yesterday, Hey Jude, Penny Lane, With a Little Help from My Friends, Come Together, Let it Be, and more than 100 other hits.
The Supremes (United States, formed 1959, disbanded 1970) were an American female group who were the most commercially successful Motown Records act. To this day, they are the most successful American vocal group. They had 12 number one singles. Their success paved the way for other African-American musicians to have success. The original group consisted of Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, Diana Ross, and Betty McGlown. Some of their hits include Baby Love, Stop! In the Name of Love, Come See About Me, and more.
Bob Dylan (United States, 1941-present) is a musician, author, poet, and visual artist. He’s been a part of American pop culture for more than 60 years and is most famous for being a folk rock singer songwriter. His songs deal with social and political issues, and some of his biggest hits include Blowin’ in the Wind, Mr. Tambourine Man, Just Like a Woman, The Times They Are a-Changin’, and more.
There are many, many other famous and influential musicians. Some of these include: Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, George Fredric Handel, Joseph Haydn, Chicago, Peter Tchaikovsky, Frederic Chopin, Ice Cube, Jay-Z, Ray Charles, Little Richard, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Pressley, Aretha Franklin, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Madonna, Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, Taylor Swift, Eminem, Drake, and The Pointer Sisters.
Great music and musicians are in the ear of the beholder. You can learn to better appreciate and understand music by listening to famous and inspirational musicians like the ones discusses in this lesson.
FAMOUS MUSICIANS LESSON PLAN WORKSHEETS
The Famous Musicians lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.
RESEARCH ACTIVITY WORKSHEET
Students will work with a partner to complete the activity worksheet. Each pair will fill out the worksheet with information about each musician. Students can choose their own musicians to research, or can ask their parents or teacher for recommendations. They will research where the musician or group originated, the members of the group, the type of music they make, a brief summary of their life, the songs they’re most famous for, a few interesting facts about them, and more.
Students can also work alone or in larger groups if you’d prefer.
MATCHING PRACTICE WORKSHEET
For the practice worksheet, students will first match the fact to the correct musician. Next, they will place a check mark next to the real names of the musicians and groups.
FAMOUS MUSICIANS HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT
The homework assignment asks students to first use the provided names and titles to rewrite 17 other famous musicians’ or groups’ names. Next, they will ask five family members, friends, neighbors, or others to name three favorite musicians. Finally, they will choose their most and least favorite types of music from the given list and tell why you like or dislike it.
Worksheet Answer Keys
This lesson plan includes answer keys for the practice worksheet and the homework assignment. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.