Music Learning Activities Plan (MLAP)


The Purpose of this assignment is to develop your understanding of music through a variety of musical behaviors and to develop music learning activities for your students. A secondary purpose is to find and help your students find connections between musical knowledge and other forms of understanding.


Warning: Do not complete your plan until you have completed the Facets Model for the music you have selected. What you learn by completing the Facets Model will directly affect how you share the music with your students.


There are many acceptable ways to plan lessons and to write those plans down. For the purposes of this class, your lesson plans should be thorough enough that another person with your level of experience could read and teach your plan. You must also include all materials necessary to teach the lesson.

Materials. Make a list of all of the materials you need to carry out your plan. Keep updating your list as you refine your plan. Consider: (a) the recording(s) you are going to use (If using a cassette tape, I recommend you transfer your selection to a separate tape, so you don't have to hunt for it during your lesson); (b) a device for playing your recording; (c) extension cord; (d) camcorder; (e) props (puppets, scarves, flashlights) for moving and describing the music; (f) listening maps; (g) materials for students to make their own maps. 

Materials. You have developed materials to engage kinesthetic as well as visual learners

Learning Prerequisites. Explain what you already know about the students' musical knowledge.

SWBAT (Students will be able to:) Make a list of your lesson objectives. Describe what behaviors you hope to observe in the students during your lesson. (Examples will be given in class). Make sure your SWBATs specify observable behaviors. Notice that "The students will describe the lyrics of the song through movement" is more readily observable than "The students will listen to the song." At each stage of the lesson you are looking for evidence of the students' understanding or learning. It is, however, acceptable to have a few nonobservable objectives. Be careful when the following words show up in your SWBATs: "learn," "visualize," "identify," "recognize," and "describe." If you limit your objectives to these rather open-ended terms, I will be asking you how your students will be achieving these vague objectives. We want to know what you expect to see or hear your students do that provides valid evidence of learning.

Procedures. Make up a sequence of activities. Start with an anticipatory set (Find some way to catch the students' attention). Write out exactly what you plan to say to the children. If you think this is a lot, you are probably talking too much. In the enactive mode, I recommend you use phrases like: "Move with me while we listen......,"Show me how you can move to......" "Move with me as I show you...."

Behaviors.  In your procedures develop a variety of musical behaviors during your lesson: (a) Students may describe music with visuals (icons, listening maps, props, puppets, flashlights, musical notation, ...). (b) Students may describe music with movement. (c) Students may perform music by singing or playing instruments. (d) Students may create music through improvisation and composition.

Challenges.  Will your activities provide appropriate challenges for your students? Consider the 80% rule of thumb. Are 80% of the students reaching your stated objectives?

Concepts. Although musicians spend their lifetimes developing their conceptual understanding of music, it is possible for anyone to continue to grow in their awareness of musical elements. For example, if you develop movements that describe the form of a piece of music, begin to become aware of why you change movements at certain places. Most likely you are responding to changes in timbre, rhythm, and texture. While focusing on the musical whole, a person may continually shift their focus to various structural components of the music. In this way, individuals are better prepared to function and hopefully flow as listeners, performers, and creators.

Closure. Find a way to end the lesson. Review what the students did during the lesson, and/or repeat one enjoyable activity one last time

Note:  For additional help in developing lesson plans, see "Lesson Planning," Excellence in Teaching, Teacher's Video Company, [Video]. This 34 minute tape is an excellent resource for designing a lesson plan. (On reserve in the library).

Evaluation Criteria

Examples of the MLAP Assignment