Brainstorming Sounds and Composition of Music from Other Cultures

Artie Denman

Students will compose music and soundscapes for a work of literature from another culture.
1. How can music be used to tell a story?
2. What are some common ways in which various cultures use music to tell stories?


Selected musical instruments
Sound system
White board


Phase 1 (two to three weeks)
1. Assess the students on what they know about using music to tell stories:
2. Ask the students if they can think of examples in which music has been used to tell a story. Create a K/W/L chart to show what students already understand.
3. Review instrument families. Discuss non-traditional sound sources.
4. Listen to “Peter and the Wolf” by Sergei Prokofiev.
5. Students will discuss and write about which instruments go with which characters.

Phase 2 (1 week)
1. Students will listen to music which is characteristic of the culture being studied.
2. Next students will select instruments and/ or sounds for various characters and parts of the story.

Phase 3 (2 weeks)
Students rehearse performing music with the story.

Differentiation Approaches

1. Students who are skilled in playing band instruments may use them.
2. Xylophones and simple percussion instruments may be used for students who do not have experience with wind instruments.
3. A student who is a gifted reader may be the narrator.


A rubric will be created to help assess what students have learned. Students will form an ensemble and the music created will be either video or audio recorded. Students will then listen back to their recording and assess themselves. Students will check to make sure that they are playing their music in a style which is characteristic of the culture being studied.

Follow Up and Extension Ideas

Students who need more to do can notate the parts they have created.

Additional Details

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