These expository writing prompts on music are a great way to get your students motivated for writing. No matter what age group or grade, from lullabies to Disney, from country to pop, from Taylor Swift to BTS, your students will feel like rock stars with these music writing prompts.
For 1st and 2nd graders:
Prompt 1: What song makes you happy?
Prompt 2: What you rather be a piano or a guitar? Why?
Prompt 3: Would you rather be a set of drums or a violin? Why?
Prompt 4: Make up a song about a dancing frog and a guitar playing crocodile. What would the song be about?
For the older grades:
Prompt 5: Your music teacher has acquired a musical instrument that the aborigines used in Australia called a didgeridoo. Only one student is going to be allowed to learn the instrument. You want to be that student. Write a persuasive letter to your teacher telling her why you want to play the didgeridoo.
Prompt 6: What’s most important in a song, the music or the lyrics? Why?
Prompt 7: Your music teacher has asked you to research three unusual instruments and pick the one you’d like to learn to play. The instruments are a tsabouna, a tamburitza and a kazoo. After researching the instruments, write an essay explaining why you chose the one you did.
Prompt 8: Which do you think is more difficult, playing piano, playing guitar, or playing the trumpet? Which did you choose and why?
Prompt 9: Choose a specific establishment (shopping mall, law firm, doctor’s office, sports stadium, fast food restaurant, fine dining establishment) and imagine you were in charge of choosing the music for it. Explain how music can affect one’s mood. Explain what type of music you’ll use and why.
Prompt 10: In 1993 and again in 1995, scientists at the University of California at Irvine found that college students who listened to a sonata by Mozart for a few minutes before taking a test did better than students who listened to no music or even music by another musician. Do you believe that music can make you more intelligent just by listening to it? Should teachers play Mozart sonatas whenever they give a test?
Prompt 11: The new school you moved to thinks that music is a waste of time. There are no music classes, no choir classes, no music played at sports events, and no one is allowed to listen to music on their electronic devices while on school grounds or on the bus. How do you think that will affect the mood of the students?
Prompt 12: A famous musician once said that the reason he loved the banjo so much was because you can’t play a sad tune on it. Are there any other instruments that you can think of that can only play happy, uplifting music? If you can’t think of one, write about why you think the banjo has that one special quality.
Writing Prompts on Music Continue
Prompt 13: Think about your favorite singer, band or musician and write a letter to your pen pal in another country telling about this musician and why he or she is your favorite.
Prompt 14: Write a letter to the editors of Music Mag magazine. Discuss your favorite song and explain why it’s so important to you.
Prompt 15: How would you describe the sound of a piccolo versus the sound of a tuba to someone who is deaf?
Prompt 16: Write an essay about your favorite CD to be placed in a time capsule that will be buried this year and opened in 2500. Be sure to explain any things that you think may not be used anymore in their time and include some thoughts on what you think music in the year 2500 will be like.
Prompt 17: What’s the first song you remember learning as a child? Who taught it to you? Do you still remember the words and music?
Prompt 18: What instruments would you like to play and why?
Prompt 19: If Beethoven came back to life today and heard his music being used to sell everything from cars to diapers, do you think he’d be happy that his music had reached such a wide audience or do you think he’d be disgusted that the music he worked on for so long was used in advertising?
Prompt 20: Friedrich Nietzsche said “Without music, life would be a mistake.” Do you agree or disagree?
Prompt 21: Pick a favorite line from a favorite song and write about what it means to you personally.
Prompt 22: Listen to a sampling of traditional music from China, Africa, and Greece. What things about their music are the same? What is different? Which did you prefer and why?
Prompt 23: Picture yourself deep in the woods. Can you visualize the sounds that are being made by the birds, the breezes in the trees, the small animals scurrying around? Does it sound like music to you?
Writing Prompts on Music Continue
Prompt 24: Picture yourself all alone at the beach. Are the rhythmic sounds of the ocean waves music to you? Why or why not?
Prompt 25: Listen to one song that was popular in the following decades of the twentieth century: early 1900’s Ragtime, 1920’s Jazz, 1930’s Swing, 1940’s Big Band. Which era was your favorite? Would did you like about the music from that time?
Prompt 26: Listen to a song in a language you are not familiar with. Do you understand the mood of the song without knowing the words?
Prompt 27: Do you think that the saying, “Music is a language that everyone understands” is true? Why or why not?
Prompt 28: Do you play a musical instrument? Why did you choose the instrument you did? If you don’t play one, which one would you like to play? Why did you pick the one you did?
Prompt 29: Music can get your heart racing or help calm you down. Think of a song which does either of these and write how it makes you feel when you listen to it. Why do you think it affects you the way it does?
Prompt 30: Music was not able to be recorded before 1887. Which means all of the classical performances that ever occurred before that are lost to the wind. How do you think it must have felt to be able to listen to a favorite song over and over again when the gramophone was invented?
Prompt 31: Is there a song that makes you happy every time you hear it? Write about it and why it affects you that way.
Prompt 32: Is there a song that makes you so sad you want to cry when you hear it? What makes it so sad? Is it the lyrics or the melody?
Prompt 33: There are five main instrument families: keyboards, strings, brass, woodwind and percussion. If you could play one instrument from each family type, which five instruments would you play and why?
Prompt 34: Ludwig van Beethoven once said: “To play a wrong note is insignificant, to play without passion is inexcusable”. Explain what you think he meant by this quote.