Japanese Music Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

What is unique about Japanese music? This lesson plan uses a text lesson to outline Japanese music for students and an activity geared toward analysis allows students to demonstrate mastery.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • outline key features of Japanese Gagaku music
  • explain the history of Japanese music
  • list the instruments used for creating Japanese music
  • identify specific stylistic elements in Japanese music


  • 1 - 1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.


Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text's explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.


Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.


Compare and contrast findings presented in a text to those from other sources (including their own experiments), noting when the findings support or contradict previous explanations or accounts.

Key Vocabulary

  • Gagaku
  • Monophonic
  • Homophony
  • Togaku
  • Komagaku


  • An audio sample of Japanese Gagaku music
  • Paper copies of the text lesson Gagaku: Music & Instruments
  • A worksheet created using the quiz associated with the text lesson
  • Access to the Internet
  • Devices with sound for students to use to access the Internet

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