“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” ― Victor Hugo
I like to have my 6-12 general music, band, and choir students do an online listening journal activity about every other week. We use a standard format to keep it straight forward and use a wide variety of music to have the students listen to. We complete these via Google Forms which is an amazing resource for just about any classroom. The 2nd best part of these listening journals? They are SELF-GRADING! (keep reading for the #1 best part of these listening journals – hint: THEY ARE FREE!) I insert a YouTube video into the beginning of the form – HOW TO video! Then, each activity has 11 questions.
- What instruments do you hear?
- Are there voices in the music?
- What other sounds are in the music (if any)?
- What type of group is performing?
- What dynamics are used in this song?
- Are the dynamics consistent from the beginning to the end of the song or do they change throughout the song?
- What tempos are used in this song?
- Is the tempo consistent from the beginning to the end of the song or does it change throughout the song?
- When do you think this music was composed?
- In your opinion, what emotion does this piece of music evoke?
- Write one paragraph about this piece of music. Examples of what to write about: Did you like it? Why or why not? What did it remind you of? If it was telling a story, what would it be? Would you listen to it again? ETC.
Now, obviously some of these questions are opinion and/or subjective – therefore they are not “self-grading”. But, I just made the questions that have clear right and wrong answers worth points. The other questions were required, but were there more to get the students thinking about the music rather than worrying about the right answer. I would go back through and briefly read their responses to the other questions, just to ensure they weren’t simply going through the motions – overall I saw a lot of engagement from students while doing these! These even led to some really interesting class discussions!
The #1 best part? We’re giving ours away for FREE!
The best part of this blog post? I’m sharing 16 of my listening journals I created FOR FREE! All you have to do is sign-up for my newsletter and you’ll automatically receive a document that will allow you to make a copy of all of these into your Google Drive and you can immediately assign them to your students (via Google Classroom, emailing, or sending them the link). PLUS I’m including a blank one for you to create your own! These questions work with ANY piece of music so you can really use whatever you want the students to listen to! You’ll have to add the correct answers and adjust the answer key to make sure it grades it for you – HOW TO video, but it’s actually very simple! For a more in depth description and general overview of how to use Google Forms (and integrate with Google Classroom) check out this YouTube video.
When I said variety, I MEANT it! Jazz, hip-hop, concert band, choral, pop, acoustic, orchestral, video game soundtracks, country, and more… The list really just spawned from things I heard that I liked, things we were maybe looking into for band or choir. There is zero rhyme or reason to this list!
- You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To – Art Pepper
- The Awakening, Joseph M Martin
- Take Me Home, Pentatonix
- Say (All I Need), One Republic
- New York City, Punch Brothers
- Moanin’, Art Blakey
- In Tantum Lux, Todd Stalter
- Graffiti, CHVRCHES
- Duel of the Fates, John Williams
- Dream Big, Ryan Shupe
- Disney Medley, 40 Fingers
- Bye Bye Blackbird, Etta Jones
- Baba Yetu, Christopher Tin
- First Arabesque, Claude Debussy
- 4’33”, John Cage
- Where is the Love, Black Eyed Peas
How do I get all this great free stuff again?
Sign-Up for our newsletter below and you’ll automatically receive an email containing a PDF that will link you to make a copy of all of the listening journals for the songs listed above. This is a great FREE product that we do not make available in any other way! We will also send updates on new products, future freebies, and info about upcoming sales. You won’t get a crazy amount of emails from us (maybe 2 a month) and we won’t give your email to anyone. PROMISE!