Beacon Lesson Plan Library

A Place for Me in the Field of Music

Tisa Craig
Polk County Schools


Students listen to interviews with career musicians. Students work in groups to present to classmates the life, music, inspiration, and goals of a favorite composer, performer, or group.


The student understands that music preferences reflect one's own personal experiences and respects differing values and tastes in music.

The student understands the roles of musicians and their importance in various musical settings and cultures (e.g., a singing story teller and a concert master).


-30 [Music Connection]-5 Student Books and Accompanying CDs#7 and #9
-One CD player
-Planning Sheets (0ne for every group)
-One Television
-One VCR
-One Computer with Online Access
-Pencils (Two for every group)
-Whiteboard and markers or Chalkboard and chalk


1. Set up CDs
2. Xerox Project Planning Sheets
3. Sharpen pencils
4. Make sure television, V.C.R., cassette players, cd players, and computer are up and running.


This lesson is for the end of the fifth grade year.
1. Discuss with students scheduling in junior high/middle schools, i.e. the wheel, band, orchestra, and chorus.

2. Ask for a show of hands from those students who will pursue music either in band, orchestra, or chorus.

3. Encourage students who choose the wheel to look for what interests them most on the wheel so that when they reach seventh grade, they will know how to spend their elective time.

4. State that in thinking about these options, I would be remiss as a musician and teacher not to share with them various career paths for those who love music.

5. Introduce the lesson by telling students they will hear three interviews of career musicians.

6. Distribute Grade 5 [Music Connection] books and ask them to turn to page 168. Listen to the interview of Daisy Eagan CD 7, track 9 (Tony award winning actress (age 11 at the time) in the Broadway production of The Secret Garden. Then play track 10 so students can hear her sing The Girl I Mean To Be.

7. Ask students to turn to page 174. Play the interview of Diane Schuur, Grammy Awards winner in 1986 and 1987 as best female jazz singer CD 7, tracks 15 and 16.

8. Direct students to turn to page 210. Play the interview of Mike Reid, composer and pianist CD 9 tracks 10 and 11.

9. Ask students to identify at least six questions they would ask if they were interviewing NSYNC, Brittney Spears, Andrew Lloyd Webber, or some other musician or group.

10. List these on the board.

11. Tell students they will be working in groups to present the lives and music of their favorite musician or group. One student will be the researcher and will prepare a brief -interview- that answers the questions we decided as a class. Another member of the group will prepare a visual. The visual may be a video clip, CD ROM, or poster board collage from magazine pictures. The third task assigned to someone in the group will be to bring in a CD or cassette tape labeled with the student's name, class, and two selections they want the teacher to approve for presentation. The fourth person will be the presenter and must read the interview to him/herself, making sure that he/she irons out any questionable things with the author of the interview prior to presentation. (If there are not enough students in the group to cover all the jobs, the visuals manager or music collector may double as presenter.)

12. Ask students to get in groups of four while the teacher counts to 10. Distribute planning sheets (see file) and pencils; one per group. Groups should choose the person in their group who can write quickly and neatly to complete the sheet.

13. Tell students no more than two groups may report on the same person or group. Walk around and check the papers to ensure this is not going to be a problem. In the event this problem occurs, draw straws.

14. Make suggestions for other performers or groups if needed.

15. Collect the papers and discuss different ways to research their projects, i.e. their classroom teacher may allow them to use computer lab time for research; during class, the music room computer may be used for research while the teachers assists each group for a minimum of five minutes; encyclopedias, and books about musicians present will be available in the music room for in-class use and possible checkout; students may use the school library, or community library. Parents or older siblings may help the researcher collect data from magazines or the internet, but they may not write the report. Group members may bring in articles, etc.

16. Direct students to bring their materials to class next week so they may work on their projects. These materials may include, but not be limited to, posterboard, markers, glue, glitter, newspaper/magazine clippings, videos, CD ROM programs, etc.

17. Replace books on the shelf and answer any concerns students might have.

18. The second class period will be used for research and collected labeled tapes and CDs for the teacher to listen to before the next class session.

19. Prior to the third and fourth class periods, the teacher should read project sheets and set up any required equipment noted on the group sheet.

20. Tell students they will hear many different styles of music. Suggest that students may, after hearing the lives and music of various musicians, find they have a new appreciation for a style of music they would not have previously chosen.

21. Students will present their projects during the third and fourth class meetings.

22. At the end of each presentation, ask the group what rating they feel they deserve and why. Tell them the choices are EXCELLENT, GOOD, POOR. Ask the group if they felt that each member of the group did his/her part. Why/Why not? If they indicate a student did not work cooperatively with the group, ask the student why/why not? The score for the student may be lowered, but the rest of the students who performed their assigned task should be given a higher rating.


This formative assessment is made through observation of each group's presentation and by the short, verbal evaluation.
A rating of EXCELLENT should be awarded to students who:
-work well with their group to complete the project
-meet all the criteria of the project outline
-listen to other groups' presentations in a respectful manner
A score of GOOD should be given to those students who
-do their assigned job and complete the project as outlined, but do not attend in a respectful manner to presentations by other groups.
-A rating of POOR should be given to any student who does not work with the group to complete the project.


Outstanding projects may be presented in other music classes and for other grade levels.
Projects could be videotaped to use as an introduction for this project next year.
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