Hope Hudson

Lesson Plan ­ High School/College


Learning From Lyrics


Students will:


To facilitate more complete performances by helping to deepen the studentıs understanding of song lyrics.  Often in recital or other performance settings the performance is hindered by not completing an in depth study of the texts.


DVD Player, DVD of South Pacific, TV, CD player, Midi Keyboard with Sibelius or Finale, Internet Access, PowerPoint, Laptop.


As students enter the room the DVD of the musical ³South Pacific² will be playing.  The facilitator will play the song ³Youıve Got to Be Taught² from the movie. 


The teacher will ask the question ³What social issue does this song deal with?²  What techniques did the composer use to deal with this topic? Students will begin to research songs and their lyrics.  The teacher will act as a facilitator, since this unit is based on independent research. The teacher will provide song list, recordings, current magazines and books, and a list of approved websites for computer research.

Students choose three contemporary songs from Folk Songs, Musical Theater, Contemporary Opera) to study lyrics what the meaning is to them and how composer dealt with them. They will deliver oral presentations using PowerPoint and other media to interpret the song lyrics.


Why is communication important for a performer? How can better understanding a songıs lyrics facilitate a better performance both for the student and the audience? Analyze the chosen songs to determine the composer/lyricist point-of-view regarding the subject addressed in the song. Cite lyrics as evidence to support your findings.


Students will share the results of their research by performing three 10-15 minute classroom presentations that synthesize music, oratory, and the visual arts.


Ask students to choose poem, contemporary opera, or musical theater excerpt and explore meaning, social issues, etc.  Student will compose short musical excerpt using notation software that will depict what the excerpt means to them.

Student will attend performance and present to the class how the performer dealt with songs and their lyrics.  Do you feel that the performer had an understanding of the words?