Tips to Help Students Cultivate Music Appreciation

**The Edvocate is pleased to publish guest posts as way to fuel important conversations surrounding P-20 education in America. The opinions contained within guest posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of The Edvocate or Dr. Matthew Lynch.**

A guest post by Anita Ginsburg

Many young people have always felt a connection to music. From the Beatles to Woodstock, from heavy metal to rap, each genre speaks to its devotees. As a teacher, it may be seem difficult to cultivate an appreciation for music genres outside your students’ preference. However, it is possible to get young people to foster an appreciation for different types of music with a little creative thinking.

Lyrical Breakdown

One unique way to build an appreciation for music is to do an activity in which you “chunk” lyrics and analyze meaning. For many people (students included), songs have special meanings. By analyzing what certain words and phrases might mean, students can gain a better appreciation for what the songwriter may have been thinking and feeling.

Sense Meditation

Another idea for music appreciation is to encourage the engagement of all the senses. Turn down the lights and have students close their eyes. Play pieces of music and then give them a chance to describe what the piece made them think about. Encourage them to tell what they could feel, taste, smell, hear, and see in their mind.


Getting students to think critically is one goal in education. Making this relevant is sometimes a challenge. One interesting way to get student’s thinking about music is to have them compare and contrast songs. Let them choose a song of their own and find similarities and differences between it and a song that you would like them to learn more about. This is a great way to help them see that the divide may not be as wide as they thought.


One popular music trend is creative “mashups” that combine two or more songs. A fun activity that will help students identify and appreciate different types of music is to play a version of “Name that Tune”. There are several great already created mixes available. Play the songs once or twice while students try to identify elements of music or names of songs. This would be a fun way wrap up a unit.

Music in Film

There are many ways to use film scores to teach music appreciation. One way is to view example clips from different movies and discuss how filmmakers add drama and excitement to their favorite movies using music. They could even do choose music that they think helps to illustrate their own life story if they were to produce a film about it.

Music appreciation can be fun and engaging for students if their teacher is willing to get creative think outside the box a little. It is likely that students will develop their own appreciation for different genres if they are given the opportunity and exposure to excellent examples. Getting a Master’s of Music Education can help you to inspire students and become a better teacher. Using tips like these can make the educational experience fun for everyone.

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