The Story of Music (Advanced Lesson)

ESL/EFL Level: Advanced (C1/C2)
Lesson Topics: music, the development of music, stream-ripping
Skill Focus: Speaking, Listening, Vocabulary
Approximate Class Time: 1.5 hours
Lesson Plan Download: history-of-music-advanced-lesson-112023.docx
Lesson Overview:

  • After warm-up questions, students listen to a 3-minute BBC video entitled "The Story of Music." After listening, students review some key vocabulary from the video and then complete comprehension questions. This is followed by a vocabulary-matching exercise and an activity where students make questions using the target vocabulary.
  • The first speaking activity is a debate about stream-ripping (or destreaming) video content from YouTube. Next, students discuss the evolution of music over the last four decades. This is followed by an activity in which students plan a line-up for a music festival.
  • The lesson has one roleplay about buying tickets for an expensive Taylor Swift concert.
  • The lesson ends with a final vocabulary review, final discussion questions, and a review of collocations.

An AI-generated image of musical instruments

ADVANCED (C1/C2) EFL Lesson Plan on The Story of Music

Warm-up Questions

  1. What is your earliest memory of music?
  2. Do you play any musical instruments or have a favorite genre of music? Why?
  3. How did music begin?

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-- Lesson plan on the History of Music written by Matthew Barton of (copyright). ChatGPT was used to check for errors, suggest revisions, and generate answer keys. Site members may photocopy and edit the file for their classes. Permission is not given to rebrand the lesson, redistribute it on another platform, or sell it as part of commercial course curriculum. For questions, contact the author.

Possible answers to follow-up questions:

  1. Pythagoras noticed that the sounds produced by blacksmiths' hammers had a harmonious ring when their weights had simple mathematical ratios, like 1:2, 2:3, or 3:4.
  2. Math and harmony are related because harmony in music often follows mathematical ratios and patterns, which determine how notes resonate together to produce pleasing sounds.
  3. Throughout Beethoven's life, the performance of music evolved from quartets and quintets to full-blown orchestras, and by the end of his life, music performances moved from private salons to public concert halls.
  4. Technological advancements made music more accessible to the masses and turned it into a commercial commodity. Inventions like the phonograph allowed music to be recorded and played back, leading to the sale of musical records and the birth of the music industry.
  5. The narrator suggests "sadly" that while technology has made music widely available, it does not guarantee the quality of the music produced. This reflects a view that mass production and commercialization may lead to a decline in musical artistry (debatable). 

Vocabulary Answers: 1-f, 2-h, 3-b, 4-I, 5-d, 6-e, 7-j, 8-k, 9-m, 10-c, 11-g, 12-a, 13-L

Vocabulary Review Answers: See original passage

Collocation Answers: 1-b, 2-f, 3-a, 4-d, 5-e, 6-c

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