KS1 music – Add sound effects to your favourite stories

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Lesson plan PDF

Key Stage

KS1, KS2


Years 1-6


From the clunk of the Tin Man to the thud of a Gruffalo, music can add atmosphere to children’s stories. This KS1 music lesson plan contains ideas to get your pupils started…

Do you sometimes imagine sounds in your head when reading a book? Or maybe certain passages remind you of sounds or music you have heard before?

Sound effects for film, television, radio and animation provide atmosphere, create tension or give a sense of wellbeing. But have you thought about how you can also create a soundtrack to accompany your pupils’ favourite books just by using the instruments available on most school percussion trolleys?

KS1 music learning objectives

  • Play a range of expressive sounds on classroom percussion instruments
  • Choose appropriate musical sounds and phrases to reflect themes and characters in a story
  • Discover how musical sounds can reflect the atmosphere and emotions of a story
  • Create a musical soundtrack to a story and work as a team to create a performance

Starter activity

Begin by choosing a story for which children will be able to create a soundtrack. If it is a new story or book, it will be better if it is quite short.

Often when creating soundtracks for stories, composers will attach a particular sound or musical theme to a character or reoccurring event. A good example of this is the music to the Star Wars films, where each character has his or her own theme tune that plays whenever he or she appears on-screen (listen out for the music every time Darth Vader appears!).

Discuss the story for which you have chosen to create a soundtrack and talk about what events and characters in the story would be most appropriate to associate with a musical theme or sound effect.

Andy Gleadhill regularly delivers lectures to music, arts and educational conferences around the world. He is currently the head of Bristol Arts and Music Service, and director of the Bristol Centre for Music and the Arts UK. Browse more World Book Day activities.

KS1 music lesson plan
KS1 music – Add sound effects to your favourite stories

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