Listening Maps for Elementary Music Distance Learning

I love using listening maps in the elementary music classroom, but, they are especially helpful for music distance learning. This year, listening activities will be even more important in the classroom if you are not allowed to sing due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Listening maps are easy for teachers to assign and students to complete in distance learning, flipped learning, or blended learning situations. For accountability, students can easily write a reflection, answer a short series of questions about the piece, or even create their own listening maps.

This post includes a few of my favorites. Enjoy!

Online LIstening Maps for Elementary Music | Distance Learning, Blended Learning, or Classroom

Note: Not all of these listening maps are in English and that is okay. The music and graphic representations transcend the small amount of language.

Types of LIstening Maps

I like to classify listening maps into 5 basic categories. Each category focuses on a different aspect of music.

  • Animated
  • Instrumental Focus
  • Graphic
  • Form
  • Style

Students already see A LOT of animation for entertainment. For the most part, they ignore the music in this type of video. For this reason, I do not use animated, entertainment-only listening maps in the classroom. Below you will find several different examples of the other types of listening maps that you may want to use in your elementary music classroom.

Listening Maps | Instrumental Focus

The following listening maps highlight instruments from the music. This helps students learn the sounds of the instruments of the orchestra and band.

In the Mood, Glen Miller
Fanfare of the Common Man, Aaron Copland
Theme from Star Wars, John Williams

Listening Maps | Graphic – Melody

While I like other types of listening maps, graphic ones are my favorites. These graphic listening maps fall into two basic subcategories – melodic and texture. The melodic listening maps follow the melody lines while the texture maps are a visual representation of all of the notes. Both types help students make sense of what they are hearing.

Morning (Peer Gynt), Grieg
Cello Suite #1, Bach
Ode to Joy, from Symphony #9, Beethoven
GUIDE TO THE ORCHESTRA, BRITTEN

LISTENING MAPS | GRAPHIC – Texture

I LOVE these listening maps! They help students identify the melodic and harmonic lines. And, the idea of texture becomes visual as well as auditory. This makes it very easy for students to identify thick or thin textures.

Moonlight Sonata, Beethoven
Clair de Lune, Debussy
Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy, TCHAIKOVSKY
Aquarium (Carnival of the Animals), SAINTSAËNS 
William Tell Overture, Rossinni
Symphony #5, Beethoven
Tocatta & Fugue in D Minor, Bach

LISTENING MAPS | Form

Listening maps also make it very easy to identify form. When students see visual representations of sections of a piece that contrast or repeat, form becomes less abstract and is much easier to understand.

3 Little Birds, Bob Marley
The Elephant (Carnival of the Animals), SaintSaëns 
Theme from “The Pink Panther”, Henry Mancini

Listening Maps | Style

Pairing music with visual representations makes it easier to identify styles as well. Listening maps help students to describe the character of the piece using adjectives such as smooth, connected, short, disconnected, etc.

It is fun to compare and contrast two different listening maps of the same piece of music. This post includes two very different listening maps of the Star Wars Theme.

STAR WARS THEME, JOHN WILLIAMS
Blue Danube, Strauss
Fade, Alan Walker
Ride of the Valkyries, Wagner

Conclusion

Whether you are using listening maps for music distance learning or in the classroom, be sure to include a variety of styles of music and types of listening maps. This helps to appeal to the interests your students and widen their repertoire and knowledge base. Using listening maps is a great way to introduce your students to music they would probably not hear otherwise.

Auf Wiedersehen, Friends!


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