Chordophones, Membranophones, Idiophones, Aerophones

A lesson plan that is adaptable for any grade. Previously used in grade 7, but currently adapted for grades 1, 2, and 3. 

Aerophones, Membranophones, Chordophones, Idiophones

In my opinion, this lesson is best used at the beginning of a unit, semester, or year. I like introducing these terms in the beginning because I can refer back to these terms in every lesson. Anytime we see an instrument in a video or hear it in a performance, I ask the students to tell me if it is an idiophone, chordophone, membranophone, or aerophone.   


Lesson Plan

Standards Used

MU:Re9.1 – Music Responding Anchor Standard 9Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work.


  • Students will explain what qualities make a chordophone, aerophone, membranophone, and idiophone
  • Students will listen to musical selections and identify the instruments used in the examples played for them.
  • Students will illustrate an example of each instrument category.


  • Printed copy of this resource
  • 3 Musical selections to play for students (scroll down to see the musical selections embedded in this blog post. 
Example pages from my resource on Teachers Pay Teachers

Guided Practice

Teacher and students will read instrument definitions together and discuss each instrument category.
  • If possible, teacher should show instruments around the classroom and ask students to categorize them.

Independent Practice

  • Students will categorize instruments used in musical examples. 
  • Students will draw an instrument from each category
  • Students will share their drawings with peers (optional).


Students will list as many instruments from each category as they can remember from the lesson.Students will explain why the instruments in the list should be in that list. 

Download this Resource

Click below

This resource includes standards-based lesson plan, vocabulary terms, definitions, and activity sheets. It may be used in an interactive journal or as a standalone unit. 

Listening Selections

Eastman Percussion Ensemble Fandango 19

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Canadian Brass Ensemble (in Japan) Penny Lane


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