Are you teaching grade 3 music lessons? This article gives you an overview of some typical 3rd grade music lesson plans. It also shows you how you can implement them, no matter how much experience you have teaching music!

Grade 3 Music Lessons

What you need to teach Grade 3 Music Lessons

You don’t need massive amounts of musical skill for teaching a grade 3 music lesson, and you don’t need hours of specialized training or conferences. However you do need one thing!

Organization is the most important skill that you need if you want to teach music to grade 3.


Maybe you have the best ideas in the world but if you don’t have them ready, you’ll be over run with poor behavior. Activities need to be easy for your children to understand, and they need to sound good from the start.

What are grade 3s like?

Children in year 3 are still quite young and they are gregarious and full of unbounded enthusiasm! According to the Northeast Foundation for Children at grade 3 their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skill are improving, they are easygoing, open to learning and ready to be challenged! *(1)

*1 Northeast Foundation for Children , Inc (2011). Know Where Students Are developmentally. [online] Available at:

Year 3s also have a downside: they have varying attention spans of between 8-30 minutes.

Grade three students may say phrases such as “I can do anything”, until they actually try it! They may find music challenging and can give up, feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.

How can you cater for the diverse needs of a grade 3 class, yet fulfill the requirements of your curriculum and have fun, impactful music lessons every week?

You just need a consistent framework for your classes, so that the children will know what to expect and can come to music class with the certainty to know that they will have fun and enjoy their experience of music.

To create music lesson plans for grade 3, here are 3 key core components:

  • #1 Children should SING & PLAY in every grade 3 music lesson

  • #2 Master musical SKILLS in small “game-like” segments

  • #3 Encourage exposure to all kinds of music with CONNECT and use insights to create and COMPOSE.

#1 Children should SING & PLAY in every Grade 3 music lesson.

The more you can get your year 3 classes actively singing and playing music, the more effective you will be.

Children in grade three need fun songs with actions and “catchy” words!

Yes, having a talent for playing guitar or piano can be helpful. Yes, you need to learn teaching techniques and strategies. Yes, you want to memorize names quickly.

But all of that is secondary to understanding what children in year 3 music classes really want. What children in grade 3 really want is to play the instruments in their classroom!

They want to play ALL of them, and they are keen to play them together as a class band!

What instruments should children play?

The instruments that most year 3 students are most capable of playing are standard classroom percussion instruments.

These include tuned instruments such as xylophones and glockenspiels.

Plus they can play lots of untuned percussion instruments including drums, tambourines, claves and shakers.

Typical SING & PLAY Lesson content

In this video, I’ll show you how your students can go from not knowing what xylophones and glockenspiels even are onto how to play an entire year 3 song in less than 10 minutes. Bookmark this page for complete tutorials and materials to use with your students.

The Fun Music Company has a fundamental philosophy that inside every music lesson there is SINGING and PLAYING.  All students should be actively involved in making music, and this is a fundamental part of every child’s education.

That’s why the most important core component a teacher can have in a grade 3 music class is including opportunities for children to SING and PLAY.

#2 Master musical SKILLS in small game-like segments

Now let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of learning music in grade 3.

You know your grade 3’s are open to learning, but too much can be confusing. Therefore what is the optimal way to help them understand?

The answer is to learn ONE concept at a time!

In this video, you’ll see how we move from something known (clapping)  into an unknown concept (dynamics).

We also do this without too many words and making it like a game!

Check it out in this video:

The video above comes with a free recorded backing track, so you can start putting this into practice. This will make it easy for your students to easily understand the concept and helps them sound GREAT from the start.

Furthermore, having a successful start means they’ll want to do it over and over again. They think they’re playing a fun 5 minute game, but what they’re really learning is important musical and life long skills of sensitive listening!

The Fun Music Company Curriculum Program is the single best resource that we are aware of for someone who wants to save LOTS of out-of-hours prep time and hassle of making these game-like activities yourself from scratch.

Interested? You can get a free trial for 7 days – all we ask is that you let us know how you get on!

#3 Encourage exposure to all kinds of music with CONNECT and use insights to create and COMPOSE.

It is understanding what we hear and using what we learn to create that forms the remainder of the content.

First, we understand with our CONNECT listening program. This gives a structure and a framework to the music students listen to. In addition it highlights the really important concepts of music and builds the student’s understanding.

Secondly, we create with our COMPOSE program. This gives opportunities for students to create their own music.

Every lesson in the Fun Music Company Curriculum program has either a CONNECT listening lesson, or a COMPOSE activity.

David Reed (author of “Improvise for Real”, “Understand the music you hear. Play the music you imagine”) is quoted as having said:

“How can we have an entire industry dedicated to teaching music, and never get around to actually showing anybody how to create music?”

At the Fun Music Company we’re determined to change that! In our programs we are showing children how to understand music, and create their own.

Help children make connections with CONNECT listening activities

Most grade 3 children have lots of songs on their iPads or technology at home. However, do they actually listen to music?

It is highly likely that their exposure to music is limited by what their friends and family members are listening to.

Without a structured and guided listening program, children’s exposure to different forms of music will be limited. Also their exposure to different cultures and experiences will be very minimal.

That is why we absolutely MUST include guided listening in music classes.

Grade 3 student attention spans can be short, which means you only have a few seconds to grab their attention.

And that’s why this grade 3 CONNECT lesson idea starts by using a “Who is this? “ quiz:

You can access the CONNECT resource described in that video here.

The CONNECT listening program is about bringing all the music in the children’s wider word, giving it context and meaning, and connecting it with the musical concepts we share in music class.

Helping children make a start creating their own music with COMPOSE

For students to have a really amazing experience with music, they absolutely must CREATE THEIR OWN.

Suppose we told a child when learning to paint that they ONLY were allowed to trace within the lines, and replicate works of the grand masters of art exactly?

yet … that is what we do with music!

We start with music by asking them to replicate music by other people, before we ever have them create their own.

The simplest way to get going with this is some quick and easy improvistation activities, like are explained in the video below:


Resources for the teaching composition with improvisation idea in the video above are available here.


Hopefully this article has given you some ideas for a framework for a typical 3rd grade music lesson plan. To learn more please check out the complete  Fun Music Company curriculum program for Grade 3, or request a trial of the complete program for K-6 here.

Want more resources for teaching music?

Click here to join the Fun Music Company Mailing List and you’ll receive free and fun ideas for teaching music every week.

Just look at what one of our happy mailing list members said recently:

“This email came exactly when I needed it to  – in a slump and feeling like I’ll never climb the top of the ‘great teacher’ mountain. You are amazing. Thank you for these words and resources.”