Syncopation 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.

Are your students familiar with the term 'syncopation'? This lesson plans explains this musical technique through a video lesson while an activity gives them a chance to demonstrate comprehension.

Learning Objectives

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

  • define syncopation
  • list and identify the elements of syncopation in music


  • 1 hour

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.


Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.


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 6-8 texts and topics.


Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).


  • A sheet of music enlarged to poster size
  • A worksheet created using the quiz from the associated lesson
  • Small slips of paper, each with one of the key vocabulary words written on it
  • A bowl or container
  • A pointer

Key Vocabulary

  • Syncopation
  • Note
  • Measures
  • Beats
  • Meters
  • Time signatures
  • Downbeat
  • Accent Mark
  • Secondary accents
  • Offbeat
  • Subdivisions
  • Tie
  • Hemiola

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