Engaging middle schoolers, whether in person or through online learning, can sometimes feel like a challenge. We want our students to be critical thinkers and actively engage in music-related discussions. We also want to meet them where they are at and incorporate their interests. Want to know how you can do both? In this blog, I will explain how you can integrate podcasts in your music classroom and provide great music lesson plans and resources to go with it!
how to use Podcasts In Your Music Classroom
Podcasts as a medium are definitely becoming more and more popular. So why not integrate them into your teaching? Integrate podcasts with your middle school students with these three music activities:
Podcast Listening Activity
You can easily integrate this as a centre in your music classroom or do a podcast listening activity as a whole class! Get your students to listen to a podcast episode or an excerpt from one if you’re short on time. Ppsst… my Podcast Centre Freebie is a no prep printable and digital worksheet that gives you a curated list of music-related podcasts for kids. Your students can respond and engage in important conversations about musical topics discussed in the episode.
Weekly Podcast Discussion Groups
If you want your students to dig deeper, assign small groups to listen to specific podcast episodes each week. Then, your students can come together to discuss (think literacy circles but instead of reading a book, students listen to a podcast episode). You can assign students or have them choose which podcast episode they are most interested in listening to. This will allow students to pick topics that interest them as well as give more opportunities to participate in the discussion through a small group setting.
Students Create Their OWN Podcasts
This one is my favourite and an AMAZING cumulative activity for your students! Think about it: your students already engage with music in so many different ways in their everyday lives. This project allows them an opportunity to explore and discuss a musical topic they are passionate about.
Some popular topics among my own students are:
- Comparing 2 genres of music (e.g. Broadway vs. electronic music)
- A biography of a well-known musician (e.g. the life of Jimi Hendrix)
- Connecting a social justice issue to music (e.g. racism within the music industry, the impact of music concerts on environmental activism)
- The evolution of music (e.g. the evolution of hip hop, the evolution of MTV, the evolution of audio production and technology)
- How music connects to mental health and wellbeing
Students research their topic, create an episode outline, create their own podcast channel (including a name and cover art) and finally, record their episode. My students usually use the “Voice Memos” or “Voice Notes” app on their device to record. If you are teaching online, many school platforms have voice recording capabilities as well (I’ve even had students call each other and then record the meeting!)
I love this project because it has EVERYTHING you need: templates, musical podcast listening examples, and a step-by-step project guide. This no prep, printable and digital project is an incredible way for your middle school students to take charge of their own learning and explore musical topics that greatly interest them.Get my Music Podcast Project HERE
Podcasts have grown in popularity and are a perfect way to help students develop their listening comprehension, music appreciation and critical listening skills – all things we want! With these ideas, you will be equipped with the music lesson plans and resources that you need to integrate podcasts in your virtual or in person classroom.