Xylophone Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Xylophones can be a fun instrument for students to learn, so start instruction off with this lesson plan. Students will watch a video lesson explaining its history, construction, and how it's played, then do an activity to show what they know.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • describe the history of a xylophone
  • explain the construction of a xylophone
  • discuss how a xylophone is played


1 - 1.5 hours


  • Lesson video Xylophone: History & Facts
  • Audio clip of a xylophone
  • Wrapping paper, paper towel, and toilet tissue rolls
  • Scissors
  • Shoe boxes
  • String
  • Envelopes
  • Index cards

Key Vocabulary

  • Xylophone
  • Bars
  • Mallets
  • Resonators
  • Roll
  • Glissando
  • Octaves
  • Range
  • Transposing instrument
  • Ledger lines

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.3

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

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.4

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.

Warm-Up and Preparation

  • Play an audio clip of a xylophone and ask students if they know what instrument is being played. Repeat a few times if necessary.
  • If students cannot identify, let them know it is a xylophone. Have them turn and share prior experiences with a partner, then share as a whole class. Ask:
    • Where have you seen a xylophone played?
    • What have the xylophones you've seen looked like?
    • Do you consider the xylophone a 'real' instrument? Why or why not?
  • Preview vocabulary words and have students label notebooks 'Xylophone' and make sections for 'Description,' 'History,' 'Playing,' and 'Questions.' Instruct students to take notes as the video plays.

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