Folk Music Lesson Plan

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson plan uses numerous activities, an extension, a quiz, and discussion questions to help your students learn about folk music and many of the genre's important musicians.

Learning Objectives

Using this lesson plan's activities, extension, and discussion, your students should be able to:

  • Define folk music
  • Understand the major themes revolving around folk music
  • Identify musical instruments commonly used in folk music
  • Name famous folk musicians


30-60 minutes without the activity and extension


Curriculum Standards


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.SL.8.1

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.


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


Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.


By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.


Warm Up Mini-Activity

  • Play short clips of some of the following musical styles:
    • Folk
    • Rock
    • Rap
    • Classical
    • Blues
    • Jazz
    • Soul
  • Have the class guess which one of the styles they heard is considered to be folk music


  • Pass out handouts of the following lesson's text:
  • Read it together as a class
  • Discuss the following once you've read it all the way through:
    • Where does folk music get its name?
    • What are some common topics in folk music?
    • What instruments are commonly used in folk music?
    • Who was Woody Guthrie?
    • What did Pete Seeger's music focus on?
    • What was Bob Dylan's importance to folk music?
    • Mini-activity: play a famous song of each of the three artists discussed above. Discuss with the class what makes their music folk music.
    • What are subgenres?
    • What groups represent subgenres of folk music?


  • Once you've finished the discussion, have each student take the lesson quiz as an in-class activity.
  • Review the questions and answers as a class.

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