Music Listening Log

Last semester, I taught Music Appreciation at our college, a course I don't often teach. Following the traditional curriculum can be a bit dry to some students and I was hoping to find a way to integrate the use of iPad into the course and to allow the students to reference their own music in application of their newly acquired knowledge of the fundamentals of music.

Therefore, I created a Music Listening Log that allowed the students to write about any song or piece of music that would fit within a certain category (i.e. Favorite Song, Colors, Least Favorite Genre, Instrumental, World Music, Relax, etc.). Each week, the student would select a piece of music, share a link to a recording, research the artists, genre, release year, etc. and discuss the music in a response with a minimum of 250 words. Directions and prompts were given to inspire reflection.

Numbers was perfect the perfect app for this activity, using tabs as each entry into the log. Students were encouraged to sketch note their observations in a blank area on each tab and then formalize those thoughts into the brief reflection on the piece. I received some beautiful examples! Students are so creative when the are invested in an activity such as this!

My objectives were:

  • to allow the students to reference their music in the application of music concepts,
  • to improve their ability to write about music over the course of the semester with a logbook that contained evidence, and
  • to allow the student to share their music with me just as I was sharing traditional western classical music with them.

The project turned out as a great success! In a class of 27 students, 24 completed the log fully over the course of the semester. It was evident that the quality of student writing improved over the course of the semester. They demonstrated comprehension of the elements of music that were taught in the course. Students also enjoyed sharing their music with me. (I learned a lot about genres of music I wouldn't normally listen to. Students really respected me as an instructor when I would take time to listen to the music they shared and speak with them about those pieces in the next class. It was a great rapport builder.)

Although I am not teaching the course this semester, I do plan to implement this activity in additional introductory level music courses with non-music majors.

I am attaching the resource below. Feel free to use it as is or make any modifications you would like that would allow you to introduce this activity to your students.


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