Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Composer of the Month

Anissa Sanz


In order to keep music alive in the schools, we need to validate our class. What better way to do that than to intergrate social studies and writing into the Music Class?


The student writes notes, comments, and observations that reflect comprehension of content and experiences from a variety of media.

The student knows representative composers and well-known musicians (e.g., Sousa, Foster, Copland, and Louis Armstrong) who influenced various types of American music.


-Information on each of the composers you have chosen
-Four songs to be played from each composer
-Whiteboard or chalkboard
-Dry erase markers or chalk
-CD/tape/or record player
-Multiple-choice quiz for each student


1. Before beginning this project, students should be told to bring a music notebook and a pencil to class.
2. Select a group of American composers (at least four).
3. Record eight facts for each composer.
4. Obtain recordings of four songs for each composer and the appropriate equipment for playing the recordings.
5. Obtain whiteboard or chalkboard and appropriate medium for writing facts (chalk, markers).


1. Choose American composers to study. (Examples: instrumental, jazz, gospel, Black Americans, Women Composers, etc.)

2. There should be enough information on the composer chosen to have at least eight facts and four songs to play while the students write.

3. Write the composer's name on the board with his/her birthdate underneath, where he/she was born, and a "Now Playing." "Now Playing" is a song written by the composer that will be played while the students take notes on this composer.

4. Underneath the vital statistics on the composer, pick two easy facts on the composer. Number them 1 and 2.

5. When the students enter the classroom, the "Now Playing" song should be playing, and the students should have a notebook and pencil to write down this information on the board.

6. The first time they write about the composer, they will write his/her name and birthdate, where they were from, and the "Now Playing" song. This will be the only time they write this information.

7. If the class is seen twice a week, then they should only write the first time they come to class that week. If they are on a six or seven day rotation, the first five to ten minutes of each class should be used to do Composer of the Month.

8. The second time the students write, replace facts 1 and 2 with facts 3 and 4 and a new "Now Playing."

9. The students will now only write facts 3 and 4 and the new "Now Playing."

10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 until they students have written eight facts and four "Now Playings" about the composer.

11. The week that the students write facts 7 and 8, review all the facts that have been written and all the "Now Playings." This should take about ten to twenty minutes.

12. After facts 7 and 8, the assesment of what the students have learned about the composer will be given. Make a multiple-choice question test with each of the eight facts. As an extra credit, use a "Now Playing" to be identified.

13. Each extra credit that is correct should take the place of a wrong answer. If the students get the extra credit wrong, nothing should happen. Extra Credit is just Extra Credit.

14. Record the scores, give back the quizzes, and review them with the students.


In this formative assessment, students use the knowledge they've learned from writing notes and listening to music from a variety of musicians of a given era or style to satisfactorily complete a multiple-choice, teacher-made quiz.
Students who do not complete the quiz with at least 70 percent correct will be given additional instruction and the opportunity to retake the quiz.
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