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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Shaeffer

Online Music Lessons for Upper Elementary

As we are wading through this new frontier of online learning it can be difficult to come up with new ideas for our lessons. Additionally, being able to convey directions online and having students follow them can be difficult as well. Below you will find lessons Blake Richter and I collaborated on to help engage students within our district. Feel free to use these lessons with your students and adapt them as you see fit.

Lesson 1: Social Distancing song/rap/parody

  • For your first lesson we will be writing our own song/rap/parody about social distancing. Be as creative/funny as you want! You may submit the song/rap by writing it out or by recording the song via video. I can’t wait to hear them!


  • Rap -Write at least one verse. You may use this background track provided or make your own on soundation.

  • Parody - A song parody takes a song that already exists, changes the words, but keeps the same notes and rhythms. Write at least one verse and chorus for the song you are parodying. Also, please tell us what song you are using as your parody.

  • Writing your own song- If you want to write a song that you sing (instead of a rap) write one verse and chorus.

Example of a Social Distancing Rap:

I’m sitting in my house everyday

All I want to do is go outside and play

Can’t go to school and hang with my friends

It seems like this will never end.

Six feet, Six feet, Six feet away,

Wanna high five? I say, NO WAY

I never imagined I would ever think

I miss going to school each and every week

Lesson 2: Anything Can Be Music.

  • Watch this performance of John Cage’s piece, 4’33. What are your initial thoughts? Can you believe this is an actual published piece of music? We are going to listen to music in the silence today.

  • Go outside for 10 minutes. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds that you hear. Write down any sounds you observe during those 10 minutes

  • Ex. birds chirping, cars going by, wind…

  • Submit: Write or make a video response of what you heard. Did you hear anything that sounded like music? Were the birds singing a tune? If so, sing it for me! Does it sound like the birds are saying actual words? What words do you hear?

  • Use this time to be calm and clear your mind. This time can be full of anxiety and it is important to sit outside and listen to what is around you.

Lesson 3: Music from the Past

Instructions: This week, you will be learning about some music from the past. In addition, you will have the opportunity to call a family member that you may not be able to see right now due to the “Stay Home Order.” Music is one of the things that defines a generation or a decade in history. Think of some of your favorite songs. Out of these songs, which ones do you think will be sung 20 years from now?

  • Pick a family member/family friend that is older than 30 years old. This could be a grandparent, aunt, uncle, a coworker of your parent/guardian, etc. Call them and ask them these questions:

    • “What songs/musicians did you listen to as a kid?”

    • “What song brings back memories of your childhood?”

    • “What songs/artist/band defined your generation?”

    • “What songs from your childhood are people still singing/listening to today?”

  • Now listen to that song/artist/band, and write down what you think about the song.

    • How does it make you feel?

    • What instruments do you hear?

  • Submit your response on your music Seesaw page. You can record a video response or type out a note. Make sure you answer all of the questions above in your response. Tell us about your conversation with your family member/family friend and also respond with your thoughts on the song/artist/band.

Lesson 4: Learn How To Beatbox

Instructions: In this lesson, you will learn an awesome skill called beatboxing. Beatboxing incorporates lots of different rhythms and sounds. The point of this lesson is to simply expose you to the art of beatboxing. You will watch the video below, then you will submit a video of you recreating some of the sounds you heard in the video.

  • Click here for a simple beatboxing tutorial video.

  • Submit your video recording on your music Seesaw page. For brownie points, try creating your own rhythm and showcase it in your video. HAVE FUN!

Lesson 5: Lip Sync Challenge

Instructions: In this lesson, you get to express your wild side! You have been required to stay in your house for quite some time now, and I know you have a lot of energy stored up inside of you that needs to get out. Well, here is the perfect lesson for you! You have the opportunity to pick a school appropriate song of your choice and do a lip sync performance of it. You can choose to do this along with other family members, or you can do this by yourself. Here is what is required of you:


  • Pick a song YOU enjoy.

  • Funny and amazing facial expressions are encouraged.

  • Choreography (dancing) is encouraged. It can be subtle, so no need to go overboard (unless you want to).

  • Costumes and props can be used if you want to use them!

  • Select at least 30 seconds of the song (or more) to film.

  • Film your video on your music Seesaw page.

Lesson 6: Music Genres

  • In this lesson, you will be listening to different music genres. Some different genres of music are Rap, Rock, Country, Classical, Gospel, Heavy Metal, Bluegrass, Folk, Pop, Latin, and much more!

  • Click on the links listed below. These links will have a small sample of a song from that specific genre. After listening to all of the examples, please record a video reflection, an audio reflection, or write a reflection on Seesaw regarding which genre is your favorite and why.

  • Submit your reflection to your music Seesaw Page. This can be a written note, a picture of you with a caption, an audio recording of you telling me what your favorite genre is, or a video reflection.

Lesson 7: Creating a Water Xylophone

  • Your job this week is to make your own xylophone via water. Watch the video for instructions HERE.

  • Items you will need: drinking glasses, water, something metal (spoon), food coloring (optional)

  • If you use food coloring make sure your parents help because it can easily stain! Also, don’t hit the glasses hard! Some glasses will have a good sound while others may not so you will have to experiment.

  • Goal: Try to make a Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, scale with your glasses. Notice the higher the water, the lower the sound. Good luck!

  • Tip: Start from Do and fill up your glasses from there.

  • Share your video of you playing your new water xylophone via Seesaw.

Lesson 8: Create An Instrument At Home

Instructions: using household items, make an instrument at home that you can play. Here are some examples:

Need more ideas for your online lesson plans? Here are some Fun Videos for Online Learning and Elementary Music Online Lesson Ideas!

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