Lesson Plan: Why Music Is Important + Exploring Genres

A heavyset opera lady singing

Music is an easy topic to build lessons around. With the exception of one student who purportedly did not listen to any music at all(!), everyone generally has an opinion about it and enjoys listening to at least one genre. What everyone seems to be able to agree on is that music as a phenomenon is important. Therefore, let’s dig a little deeper into the question of why music is important, all while learning new words. Yay!

Lesson Plan

This lesson plan consists of two bigger assignments — one written and one oral. Depending on what I’ve seen from the individual students, I hand out either one to them. Students who gravitate towards pen and paper get to do the presentation, and vice versa. In a student group where I’ve already seen both aspects of all students, I leave the choice to them.

Idioms Related to Music

Write the idioms on the whiteboard and ask the students to explain what they mean in as much detail as possible. If you’re working with a group of students from different backgrounds, ask them to share whether they have similar idioms from their respective native languages.

  • Music to my ears
  • Jump on the bandwagon
  • Pull out all the stops
  • Playing second fiddle
  • It ain’t over till the fat lady sings
  • Strike a chord
  • Sound like a broken record


Music to my ears: This idiom means that something is pleasant, satisfying, or exactly what one wants to hear. It is often used to express joy or delight in response to good news or positive information.

Jump on the bandwagon: This idiom means to join or support a popular trend, movement, or cause. It refers to the act of jumping onto a bandwagon during a parade, indicating a sudden or opportunistic adoption of a prevailing opinion or trend.

Pull out all the stops: This idiom comes from the organ, where “stops” control the sounds produced. To “pull out all the stops” means to put in maximum effort, use all available resources, or go to great lengths to achieve a desired result.

Playing second fiddle: This idiom suggests being in a subordinate or less important position compared to someone else. It originates from the arrangement of instruments in an orchestra, where the second violinist has a less prominent role than the first violinist.

It ain’t over till the fat lady sings: This idiom means that one should not assume the outcome of a situation until it is truly finished. It originates from the world of opera, where a heavyset female singer traditionally sings the final aria, marking the conclusion of the performance.

Strike a chord: This idiom means to resonate emotionally or create a strong connection with someone or a group. It refers to the act of playing or striking the chords of a musical instrument, which produces harmonious or meaningful sounds.

Sound like a broken record: This idiom means to repeat the same information, story, or complaint multiple times, often to the point of annoyance or monotony. It draws an analogy to a scratched or damaged vinyl record that repeats the same section of music endlessly.

Essay: The Importance of Music

Write a five-paragraph essay on the importance of music in our lives. As the theme is fairly broad, I suggest you narrow it down and focus on one aspect of the theme. Below, you find some suggestions on essay topics. Your essay should include at least two sources.

Suggested topics:

  • Music as a form of social connection: How music brings people together and creates a sense of community.
  • Cultural expression through music: How music reflects and shapes cultural identity and tradition.
  • The role of music in personal expression: How music provides a medium for self-expression and creativity.
  • The therapeutic effects of music: How listening to music can improve mental health and reduce stress.


Give a presentation of a genre of music of your choice. Describe where it came from geographically, what genres it evolved from, and what sub-genres it has produced. Talk about the genre’s most iconic groups, artists, and songs. You may also share your personal opinion on and relation to the genre. The use of audio and video in your presentation is encouraged, but make sure that these elements do not constitute the lion’s share of your total time in front of the class. Your presentation should include at least two sources.

Length: 10 minutes +/- 10%

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