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Found Music Unit, Idea Challenge





Title – Found Music Unit, Idea Challenge
By – Melanie Marchand
Primary Subject – Music
Secondary Subjects – Music
Grade Level – 4
Found Music Unit Contents:

Lesson 1 – Idea Challenge

Purpose: The purpose of this lesson is to make students aware that just about any item can be used as a musical instrument.

Objective: When the students are finished with this lesson, they will have:

1. Brainstormed different instruments, both conventional and alternative.

2. Been exposed to minimalist and found music.

3. Thought creatively about using their environment to make instruments.

Resources: Music For Pieces of Wood, Jug Band Tune, Aboriginal Tune, visual representation of pieces, CD player, an outdoor wooded area, recyclables.


1. Ask the students what they think music is – brainstorm and write on the board.

2. Brainstorm different instruments. Suggest that they think beyond the orchestra. (Hopefully there will be a list of unconventional instruments. Keep this list separate.)

3. Play Steve Reich’s Music for Pieces of Wood.

4. Ask the students again to brainstorm instruments.

5. Play a Jug Band Tune and an Aboriginal tune, showing the pictures that detail this music being played. Ask again for brainstorming.

6. Refer to the list of unconventional instruments. Use as a bridge to explain “Found” instruments.

7. Using recycling as a reference, ask what kind of instruments they could make with items that are found or “garbage”.

8. Take the students outside to the woods or to the recycling areas of the school and have them each “find” materials for an instrument that they can make and play.

Assessment: Teacher will assess the level of participation of the students during the brainstorming, and will assess the effort of students during the search for materials. Brainstorming will allow the students to communicate verbally with each other. I will assess their knowledge of the aforementioned composers and genres by observing this discussion. This assessment will be considered in the rubric under participation. The rubric covers previous knowledge (participation in discussion) and a potential lack of previous knowledge (level of engagement). This ensures that students without previous knowledge are not penalised. Hopefully the spectrum of questions will encourage participation from all students. Once the homework assignment has been completed, I will judge their work based on the incorporation of creativity and materials.

Homework: Have the students take their materials home and each make their own instruments. They must only use materials are “previously used” or found.

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