Music and Storytelling at
Lowell Elementary (2013)

The Question

How can students use their “musical toolbox” resource to listen and label music terms correctly? How can students use music to enhance text and vice versa? What is a narrative and how is it like a piece of music?

The Objectives

Students will listen for the tempo in music and label it accordingly

Students will understand how music and instrumentation can create characters

Students will know and understand that a piece of music has different sections that make up the musical form of the piece


An engaging lesson taught students at Lowell Elementary how to create stories from images.



The Process

The fifth graders at Lowell Elementary spent the first session reviewing music terminology and were encouraged by members of 5HE to use the terms in their provided “musical toolbox.”  Building off these new skills, students participated in exercises that taught the connection between a character in a narrative and musical “characters”.  Students also drew scenes to visualize their own narratives, which were then used in the final concert.  Students were challenged to actively listen to instruments and learned to distinguish between them.


After learning there are connections between music and stories, students shared their own compositions that went along with a story.

The Final Project

Ms. Vazquez’s 5th grade class wrote this story called “The Beast” and a group of students recited the story with 5HE accompanying.  The final performance tested not only how well they can connect their choice of a music excerpt to a story, but also how students present the project in a confident but also dramatic and engaging way.  Students took the project into their own hand, each contributing to and personalizing the project.