Lesson 3: Project-Based Learning in the Music Classroom

||Etap 623|| Ali_Marshall_Portfolio||Project-Based Learning in the Music Classroom || Lesson 1||Lesson 2||Lesson 4||


  • The participant will discuss positive examples of project-based learning in the music classroom.
  • The participant will compile a list of units they would like to create projects for.


  • What comes to mind when you think of PBL in the music classroom?
  • What was the project?
  • What were the students doing? What was the teacher doing?
  • Record your thoughts here

Explore PBL in the Music Classroom

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PBL in the Music Classroom

This website helps to clarify the benefits of PBL in the music classroom

Real-Life Examples of Music Project-Based Learning

In a middle school classroom the teacher posts a question on the board "What needs to be accomplished in order to put on a successful stage event?"(Driving question/problem) Students are then given time to free-write or discuss with peers what they think is needed and then are invited to share out their opinions. Real students compiled the list below:

ticket sales
stage managers
sound managers
light managers
talent scouts
money managers(accountants)
backup singers and dancers

  • During the time of the share out the teacher is writing student ideas onto posters along with a standard KWL chart.

  • The students are then invited to fill in the K and the W for each aspect of a successful stage event. The W(want to know) will be the driving force behind the research (student inquiry)

  • Eventually after much research students split into groups based on student interest to collaborate and actually put on a stage performance. Students get to choose whether they put on a talent show, a debate, a concert, or a fundraiser. (Student voice and choice and authenticity)

  • Students will be faced with problems and have to overcome them, some will be tasked with finding talent, some with fundraising, some with advertising, some with graphic design, some with costuming, and some with something completely different. Along the way the students are constantly collaborating and reflecting on their work.

  • They will take turns reviewing each other's work as well as their own so they are constantly improving and reflecting. The teacher will be there to ensure student success and make sure all the bases are covered, but for the most part it is the student force that is driving the event planning and implementation.

  • The final product is the success of the stage event. The success of planning an event like that will stay with the students and set them up for success in a world that is largely focused on the product.

To see some other examples check out:

This site --Driving questions to guide performances
This site -- Excellent project ideas
This site --How can we get music in our schools?


Fill out this questionnaire to reflect upon the prior music as PBL example

Before moving on...

  • It is important to have an idea of what you want to use PBL for in your music classroom.

  • Think of units that have the capacity to be more hands on, engaging, creative, and student-driven

  • If you have some ideas already, think of whether or not those projects are PBL or dessert projects

  • Brainstorm a list of lessons you would want to create authentic projects for
Add a post-it note(or two or three) here



Put your new knowledge to use and create PBL for your music classroom!

Go on to Lesson 4

Extended Resources