Exploring Music Through Inquiry-Based Learning

Music inquiry based learning unit for elementary classes

Exploring Music Through Inquiry-Based Learning 

Hey, y'all! We've been loving exploring the world through inquiry-based learning, lately. We've explored life cycles, the forests, the Lake, holidays around the world, and even kindness. But not all of our kids find their strengths in reading and math. Many of them find their strengths in art or music. That's why one of our end of the year inquiry units this year is about music

Music inquiry-based learning unit

We start every unit by activating schema and setting our intentions for the unit (aka defining our guiding questions). A lot of times, we start with a visual QFT, but this unit may call for listening to different types of music in order to get our questions flowing. 

Essential questions of music inquiry-based learning unit

Once we've got our guiding questions, we can determine which direction our unit is going to go. Are we going to focus on different kinds of instruments? Or are we more interested in biographies of famous musicians and songwriters?  Maybe we want to compare and contrast music from different parts of the world. Or we want to look at how lyrics send a message and affect the listeners' mood. 

With older students, I may let them all go in the direction of their choosing. But for younger students, I may focus on a few of the things that excite them and keep the class kind of on the same page. It's up to you and the skill set of your students. 

Exploring musicians through inquiry-based learning

Exploring periods of music through inquiry-based learning

This uni includes graphic organizers for exploring musical periods, mood of different songs, comparing and contrasting music from different parts of the world, exploring different instruments, exploring different musical styles, researching musicians/songwriters, and so much more. 

You could make each of the pages accessible to your students so that they can grab what they need and focus on the research they're interested in. Or you could take your students through one page at a time and guide their explorations a little bit more. For 3rd grade and up, I, personally, would let them choose. For 1st and maybe 2nd, I would guide a little bit more. For more information on how I set up these units, check out this blog post

Exploring instruments in inquiry-based learning

There are always a few super enthusiastic students in units like this, especially when we're talking about creative things. One thing I want to focus on in this unit is the qualities that make a good musician or songwriter. I have several Swifties in my class this year but they had NO IDEA that to write a song, you ACTUALLY have to write words on the paper. And, like, think about things. And, like, rhyme and stuff. Minds were blown. 

So as we finish our poetry unit and begin to look at music and songs and writing them, our emphasis is going to be on the fact that musicians have to read...and write...and think. Beautiful things don't just happen. They take discipline and work. Who knows, maybe I'll get a full song out them and not just an "I like" story this year. 

Qualities of musicians and songwriters in inquiry-based learning

And even with all the holidays around the world things we did during December, for Thanksgiving, and for New Years, the kids had no idea that music was different around the world, too. I try to play different music in the morning as the kids are coming in so that they can hear the differences. During this unit, we'll be adding to our map the kinds of music we might hear in different parts of the world. 

I teach in a small, rural area and oftentimes the kids have a limited view of the world around them and what they could discover. I try to incorporate as many "around the world" activities as I can so we can both learn tolerance and acceptance and develop a sense of global community. 

Exploring music around the world through inquiry-based learning

You can find this music inquiry unit in my TPT store here. While you're there, be sure to follow me so you don't miss anything new. And there are a TON of new things on the horizon. 

I hope you found some new ideas you can implement in your classroom. There are so many ways to tie music to your science, social studies, reading, writing, and math standards while also letting students lead their own learning. 

Have a wonderful week and I'll talk to you soon. 

Stay cozy,

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