Using Story Books in Music Learning

By: Jeff Sabo

Everyone loves a good story! They expand our imagination and help us connect with others. Stories are also great for learning, and adding music can make them even more fun! They create an easy and exciting way for students to engage with music. At Lotus Centre, our students love singing along, doing movements, and using props like pictures or finger puppets that fit with a singable story book. Here are ways to incorporate story books into your classes and lessons:


Building rapport and musical engagement: Story books are great for students with exceptionalities, especially those who may take some time to engage with you as a new person. You can use a story book at the beginning of the lesson or class to help them ease into learning, or add one as a fun activity to end with.


Learning musical concepts: Story books help students with exceptionalities stay engaged and relate to new ideas more easily. Music can be really abstract, so the visuals and accompanying narrative can help them latch onto something more concrete. For example, you can learn about timbre using a story about animals who make different sounds. You could also learn about musical form by matching movements to the words in a story book.


Building non-musical skills: Singing, movement, and reading during story book activities can help students develop motor skills, language, and literacy. These skills are great in general, and you can also use story books to practice them before using them in your other music learning activities (e.g., playing an instrument).


There are many ways to use story books in music learning, but hopefully these will get you started! Here are a few that our Lotus Centre students love: