Chinese Music Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has an Masters of Science in Mathematics and a Masters in Education

Give students a deeper appreciation for and understanding of Chinese music with this lesson plan. Students will read an informational text lesson on the topic, listen to Chinese music samples, then do a project to demonstrate understanding.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • identify and describe types of Chinese music
  • name characteristics of Chinese music
  • describe Chinese instruments and their role in Chinese music


1 - 1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.2

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.


  • Copies of the lesson Chinese Music: Instruments & Styles, one for each student
  • Copies of the quiz, one for each student
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Audio samples of Chinese music and instruments from this lesson
  • Images of Chinese instruments listed in this lesson
  • Bulletin board or wall space
  • Index cards

Key Vocabulary

  • Chinese music
  • Traditional
  • Heterophonic
  • Chinese opera
  • Chinese orchestra
  • Pipa
  • Ruan
  • Guqin
  • Erhu
  • Dizi
  • Suona

Warm-Up and Preparation

  • Play an audio sample of Chinese music as students listen. As the music plays, ask students to record their thoughts, ideas, feelings and reactions.
  • Now divide students into small groups to share their ideas.
  • Discuss as a whole group:
    • What did you notice about the music?
    • What instruments do you think you heard?
    • How is this music like and unlike the music you listen to?
    • What genre do you think this music is?
  • Explain that they listened to Chinese music. Preview vocabulary and allow students to share any prior knowledge on the subject.

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