Music Appreciation


This unit is ©Copyright 2004 by Cindy Downes. All rights reserved. Permission is given to homeschooling parents and teachers to use these units free of charge in their own homeschool or classroom only. These units may not be reprinted or distributed in any form, for any other purpose (commercial or otherwise) without permission from Cindy Downes. Contact Cindy at

Are you looking for a way for your teen to fulfill a high school unit of Music? This Music Appreciation unit study is can be used to fulfill this requirement. If completed, award your student with 1 unit of Music Appreciation.

1. Create a Music Notebook by following the instructions below. Recommended study time: Tuesday & Thursdays , 45 minutes.

2. Read 3 or more biographies of famous musicians. (Library books and/or Internet-Classical Music Archives)

3. Pick one composer. Research his life and write a biographical sketch for your notebook (minimum of 750 words).

4. Attend at least one concert or musical.

5. Explore the relationship between math and music with Pythagoras:

6. Visit the following websites to learn about the orchestra, the instruments, the composers, the musical periods, and more.

Baroque Music Page:

The Music Room:

San Francisco Symphony Kids’ Site. Compose a song of your own!

Essentials of Music: Click on glossary to learn about music terms.

I Hear America Singing, history of american songwriters.

Learn about the instruments. Select a country, see a photo & hear the sound.

Learn About the Instruments:

Medieval and Renaissance Instruments.

Early music from England, France, Spain, etc:

Take a music quiz:

Classical Composer Archive.

The Symphony, An Interactive Guide.

Classical Music Archives. Listen to the music!

Playmusic. Meet musicians. Listen to the orchestra. Play music.

7. Research the History of Music and Musical Periods. Make a timeline identifying the various periods and illustrate for notebook.

David and Saul (Bible History)

Psalms (Bible History)

Polyphonic Period

Baroque Period

Classical Period

Romantic Period

Modern Period (1900 - present)

8. Musical terms. Create a dictionary for notebook by identifying the following terms:

Acappela, Accent, Arpeggio, Bar, Chord , Coda, Downbeat, Dynamics, Expression, Fifth, Glissando, Harmony, Improvise, Key, Measure, Melody, Pitch, Rhythm, Scale, Staff, Syncopation, Tempo, Third, Timbre, Time, Tone, Troubadours

Add addition terms as you read about them.

9. Listen to six (or more) of the following musical forms. Use this website and recordings from the library. List title and the form to which it belonged. Write an opinion piece about your favorite form and add to your notebook.

Ballet, Canon, Cantata, Celtic, Chamber Music, Chorale, Concerto, Etude, Folk Music, Fugue, Gregorian Chant, Madrigal, March, Opera, Orchestra, Overture, Rhapsody, Scherzo, Serenade, Sonata, Suite, Symphony

10. Research at least three instruments for each category below. For each instrument, make a page for your notebook. Explain it’s history, how it makes music, what type of music is performed on the instrument, and illustrate with a drawing or photo.

Strings, Woodwind, Percussion, Brass, Piano, Accordion, Organ

11. Read the following books (* denotes out of print. Check interlibrary loan or used book stores):

Lives of the Musicians: Good Times, Bad Times, and What the Neighbors Thought by Kathleen Krull. Doesn't always paint a rosy picture but VERY interesting. 5th+

Spiritual Lives of Composers by Patrick Kavanaugh. Excellent for students in grades 6-12. Twelve composers are discussed: Handel, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Wagner, Dvorak, Ives, and Stravinsky. The easy-to-read text provides a brief biography of the composer along with information about how his personal faith affected his music. Excellent. A highly recommended addition for your personal library. ISBN 0310208068.

Story of the Orchestra by Robert Levine. This is a wonderful resource for teaching about the instruments, the composers, and the music of an orchestra. Includes a CD so you can listen too!

Devil on the Deck* by Lois Dick (Out of print but well worth locating to add to your library.)


1. Take Music Lessons

2. Make your own musical instruments:

3. Activities for all ages:

Penny Whistle Party Planner: Plan a party with an orchestra theme. (Home Economics)

4. Additional Resources:

Music Lesson Plans and Webquests.



Copyright © 2004 - Oklahoma Homeschool