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This is a 4 Part Unit on Music and Emotions


Art, Language Arts, Music  




Title – Music & Emotions Unit
By – B.A.
Primary Subject – Music
Secondary Subjects – Art, Language Arts
Grade Level – 4 (adaptable)
Lesson 1 (4th grade)

Topic: Emotions: Exploring feelings through music and art

Anticipatory Set:

Materials & Resources: My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss, poster w/colors

1. Read My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss. Use as a tool for discussion of different emotions. Question how they were portrayed in book. Present poster with colors and ask children to name an emotion for each color. Fill in poster with emotion children decide on.

Goals & Objectives:

          1. The students will demonstrate through art an understanding of emotions as heard in music.

          2. The students will discuss the differences found between major and minor keys in terms of emotions.

Input & Modeling:

Materials & Resources: art supplies per group: colored pencils, crayons, markers, colored chalk, and multi-colored paper, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17 in G, K453 III (7:48),Mahler’s Symphony No 11. III, Funereal March (10:56), Robert Schumann’s Perfect Happiness (:45), Chopin’s Prelude in E Minor Op. 28 (2:01)

2. Explain how emotions can also be found in music. Listen to short examples (Robert Schumann’s Perfect Happiness, & Chopin’s Prelude in E Minor Op. 28). Have students call out emotions and colors as felt. Discuss, relating emotions to colors.

3. Listen to Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17 in G (major key). Children draw pictures using any available supplies. Teacher also participates, while observing and monitoring the class.

Guided Practice:

4. At the end of the music, break students into small groups of 2-3. In these groups, they must explain how they felt, and why they used the colors they did. Teacher goes first as an example for all.

Independent Practice:

5. Repeat step 3 for Mahler’s Symphony No 11. III, Funereal March.

6. Whole group discussion of what was different in the two pieces of music.


          Student picks favorite of the two pictures done and explains it to the class in terms of emotions and colors.

Lesson 2 (4th grade)

Topic: Emotions: Instruments can show feeling

Anticipatory Set:

1. Lead students in a discussion on emotions and feelings. Provide students with examples of situations that involve these emotions. As the students say emotions, the teacher will list them on the board.

Goals & Objectives:

1. Students will list different emotions and understand how each relate to specific situations.

2. Students will choose musical instruments that describe a certain emotion.

3. Students will discuss their feelings and reason why they chose the specific instrument.

Input & Modeling:

Materials & Resources: Claves, piano, triangle, guiro, bells, omnichord, cowbell, drums of different sizes/types, construction paper faces with different emotional expressions

2. Instruct students that they are going to choose musical instruments that describe certain emotions. Demonstrate an example of this using the emotion of anger and beating on a drum.

3. Discuss with students what other instruments they might use to describe anger. Assign students to groups of four and give each group several emotions to describe with instruments. As the students discuss, monitor behavior and listen to different opinions.

Guided Practice:

4. Students will spend 5 minutes discussing before they choose instruments. After students choose instruments, hang a construction face on the blackboard and have each group play the instruments that they chose for that emotion. Discuss if they would have picked the same
instruments for the emotion listed.

Independent Practice:

5. Students will individually explain why they would have picked the same instrument or a different one to describe an emotion.


          Teacher will ask if students understand why each instrument was chosen and the reasoning that each group gave.

Lesson 3 (4th grade)

Topic: Emotions: Poetry and moods

Anticipatory Set:

Materials & Resources: Poems that have already been read in class

1. Review several poems that have been read during class. Ask what the children feel after each poem. Did you feel happy? Did you feel sad? Did you feel excited? Did you feel scared?

Goal & Objectives:

1. Students will read poems and understand how the situations in each poem makes them feel.

2. Students will create different musical sound effects for the poems depending on the mood of the poem.

3. Students will work together in groups to create sound effects.

4. Students will discuss similar situations to the poems that they have been in.

Input and Modeling:

Materials & Resources: Jack Prelutsky’s poem “I Should Have Stayed in Bed Today” (NOTE: other poems that the students enjoy can be substituted from year to year),drums, omni-chord, bells, claves, guiro, cowbell, triangle, piano

2. Explain that today is a day for reading poems and discussing the situations and emotions found in them. After reading the students will put sound effects to them.

3. Demonstrate by reading “I Should Have Stayed in Bed Today” by Jack Prelutsky and using drums, bells and the guiro as sound effects.

Guided practice:

Materials & Resources: Jack Prelutsky’s poems “Don’t Yell at Me”, Judith Viorst’s poems “First Day of School” and “Sad Underwear”

4. Group discussion of the emotions produced by the poem “Sad Underwear” and create sound effects to the poem as an entire class.

5. Students will then be assigned into groups to discuss poems and put sound effects to poems. Students will perform poems for group.

Individual Practice:

Materials & Resources: books of poetry that the children enjoy

6. Students will choose a short poem and perform it using one instrument for sound effects.


Students will explain why they chose their instrument and the poem they read and the feelings they tried to produce with the poem and sound effects.

Lesson 4 (4th grade)

Topic: Emotions: Creating stories

Anticipatory Set:

Materials & Resources: Tchaikovsky’s Overture from Romeo & Juliet

1. Ask students to list different emotions/feeling that have already been discussed in class. Play Overture ask students what emotions they feel and what images they see as they listen. Explain story behind music.

Goals and Objectives:

          1. Students will create stories that tell how they feel and the images a particular piece of music produces.

2. The students will recognize their feelings.

3.The students will learn how to express these feelings in positive ways.

Input and Modeling:

Materials & Resources: Recordings of John Phillip Sousas’ Stars and Stripes Forever, American Scenes Sunrise and Beauty and the Beast from Bowman’s Library

2. Introduce the three different musical selections and tell the students that they are going to discuss the different feelings that each piece of music produces and then write a story about their feelings and the images they saw while listening.

Guided Practice:

Materials & Resources: Cassette player for each group, headphones for each child

3. Place students in groups of three and give them one of the pieces of music to listen to. Students then discuss what they were feeling when the music was played. Teacher speaks to each group giving feedback or probing questions to get ideas started.

4. After small group discussions, the class as a whole discusses each piece of music and the feelings that were produced.

Independent Practice:

5. Ask students to write a story about what the music meant to them. Each story should deal with the emotions that they felt during the music.


          Students will read their stories to the background music and discuss why they wrote what they did. They will describe what they felt and give examples of situations that make them feel the same way.

Lesson 5 (4th grade)

Topic: Emotions: Puppets and Role-Playing

Anticipatory Set:

Materials & Resources: Guest speaker from Mental Health Department

1. Introduce the guest speaker. Allow for 15-20 minutes for discussion about emotions and who to contact when they are having problems.


          1. The students will explore emotions through role playing.

          2. The students will build on prior lessons, by performing for others the stories they created.

          3. The students will understand that help is available when they are dealing with difficult emotions.

Input & Modeling:

Materials & Resources: lunch size paper bags, markers, scissors, glue, construction paper

2. Explain to students that they will be making puppets to tell the story they wrote the lesson before. Have students decide what type of emotion they would like to display on their puppet

3. Have materials manager pass out paper bags etc.

4. Take paper bag and use flip side as the face.

5. To make the puppets mouth, use upper half of the fold for the upper lip, and the bottom of the lip is underneath the fold.

6. Dress the puppet with markers and construction paper (need eyes, nose, etc.)

7. Monitor and observe students. Discuss what emotion they are trying to portray and how best to do that.

Guided Practice:

Materials & Resources: Stories from lesson 4

8. Place students in same groups from lesson 4

9. In groups, students discuss how best to present their stories, then present stories to each other.

10. Explain that each group needs to pick a story that they want to present to the 1st graders. In discussion, have students pick criteria for a “good” story. Write on board as reminder.

Independent Practice:

Materials & Resources: Cassette recorders for each group, recordings of John Phillip Sousas’ Stars and Stripes Forever, American Scenes Sunrise and Beauty and the Beast from Bowman’s


11. Students present story to music for the 1st graders.


          Students accurately describe what emotions their story and puppets represent to the 1st graders. They are also able to answer questions posed to them by those students.

Don’t Yell at Me
by Jack Prelutsky

Don’t yell at me!
Don’t yell at me!
I hate it when you do,
it makes me feel so miserable,
I want to run from you.
I simply cannot stand it
when you scream into my ear,
if I knew how to do it, I’d completely disappear.

Don’t yell at me!
Don’t yell at me!
I’ll crawl away and hide,
I’ll detonate to smithereens
or shrivel up inside.
Feel free to thumb your nose at me,
or wiggle all your toes at me,
or even ring a bell at me, but
please, please, please, pleeeease

Sad Underwear
by Judith Viorst

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Someone with sad underwear.
Sad Underwear? How can that be?
When my best friend’s mad at me,
Everything is sad.
Even my underwear.

I Should Have Stayed in Bed Today
by Jack Prelutsky

I should have stayed in bed today,
in bed’s where I belong,
as soon as I got up today,
things started going wrong,
I got a splinter in my foot,
my puppy made me fall,
I squirted toothpaste in my ear,I crashed into the wall.

I knocked my homework off my desk,
it landed on my toes,
I spilled a glass of chocolate milk,
it’s soaking through my clothes,
I accidently bit my tongue,
that really made me moan,
and it was far from funny
when I banged my funny bone.

I scraped my knees, I bumped my nose,
I sat upon a pin,
I leapt up with alacrity,
and sharply barked my shin,
I stuck a finger in my eye,
the pain is quite severe,
I’d better get right back to bed and stay there for a year.

First Day of School
by Judith Viorst

Will they let me go when I need to go to the bathroom?
And what if I get lost on my way back to class?
And what if all the other kids are a hundred, a thousand,
a million times smarter than I am?
And what if we have spelling test, or a reading test, or an….anything
test, and I’m the only
person who doesn’t pass?

And what if my teacher decides that she doesn’t like me?
And what if all of a sudden a tooth gets loose?
And what if I can’t find my lunch, or I step on my lunch, or
I (oops) drop my lunch down someplace like the toilet?
Will they let me starve or will somebody lend me a
sandwich? A cookie? A cracker? An apple? Some juice?

And what if they say, “Do this,” and I don’t understand them?
And what if there’s teams, and nobody picks me to play?
And what if I took off my sneakers and also my socks, and
also my jeans and my sweatshirt and T-shirt,
And started the first day of school on the second day?

E-Mail B.A. !

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