Egyptian Music Lesson Plan

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

Musical instruments of ancient Egypt are the focus of this lesson plan. Through discussion and activities, students learn about ancient Egyptian musical instruments and their role in Egyptian society. Students will create an Egyptian sistrum.

Learning Objectives

As a result of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • name several musical instruments used in ancient Egypt
  • describe how we know about these instruments
  • discuss the role of music in Egyptian culture
  • create a handmade sistrum


45-60 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • 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.

Materials Needed

  • Projector or SMART Board to project lesson
  • Egyptian Music: Instruments & History Quiz (1 copy per student)
  • Fly swatter with plastic mesh swatter
  • Scissors
  • Thin wire or string
  • Buttons, metal washers, or beads that will fit on the wire or string


  • Begin the lesson by asking students what they know about Ancient Egypt.
  • Ask students if they think there was music in Ancient Egypt and why they think so.
  • Project the lesson, Egyptian Music: Instruments & History.
  • Read the first section, 'Was There Music in Ancient Egypt' aloud while the students read it silently, then discuss:
    • For what purposes did Egyptians use music?
    • How do we know that Egyptians had musical instruments?
    • What types of instruments were played in Ancient Egypt?
    • Why don't we know what Egyptian music sounded like?
  • Return to the lesson, and read aloud the section called 'Ancient Egyptian Musical Instruments'. Be sure to point to the pictures of instruments as they are mentioned in the text.
  • Ask students to turn to a partner and try to name at least 3 Egyptian instruments mentioned in the lesson.
  • Discuss the section, with questions such as:
    • Which was older, the arched harp or the angular harp? How were they different?
    • What is a sistrum?
    • What is one other percussion instrument used by Ancient Egyptians.
    • Did Ancient Egyptians use wind instruments? Which ones?
  • Read the lesson summary aloud while the students read it silently.
  • Provide a copy of the Egyptian Music: Instruments & History Quiz for each student. Have students complete the quiz individually as a lesson assessment.


  • After students have completed the lesson quiz, tell them they are going to create a sistrum.
  • Give students supplies. Each student needs:
    • 1 fly swatter that has a plastic mesh swatter
    • 2 pieces of wire or string that are longer than the width of the swatter
    • 10-12 buttons, beads or washers to string on the wire or string

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