Music History, Printables, Technology

Lesson Plan: The History of Audio Formats

As blogged yesterday, my husband and I recently acquired a 1929 Victor Victrola gramophone. Researching our new “toy” inspired me to create a lesson plan about the history of audio formats for this month’s group class “Piano Party” for my piano students. The lesson plan, craft activity, and slides are available as a single PDF freebie…so continue reading!

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Each student received a printout of the timeline pictured above. I also projected slides to add more visuals to the lesson. I passed a few props around the room: a 78 record, a tape cassette, and a CD. I would have liked to get my hands on a vinyl record or an 8-track as well, but there wasn’t time to track those down!

We started by learning about Thomas Edison’s invention of the phonograph with wax cylinders in 1877. Later phonographs and gramophones used records — first, 78 gramophone records, and later, vinyl records. My students LOVED the demonstration of my Victrola gramophone (video here)!

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With each new audio format that developed over the decades, we discussed what advantages and disadvantages each format offered users.

We concluded with the digital file formats of today (mp3s, wavs, and more), and then my students completed a craft activity: cutouts that they could take home with them. As they cut out each item and colored the tape cassette, we had a discussion reviewing each audio format once more.

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I encouraged students to ask their parents when they get home about whether they have 8-tracks or a record player stored somewhere at home.

Perhaps you would like to use my lesson plan for an upcoming group class or summer music camp? You are welcome to download the free PDF containing the lesson plan, craft activity, and slides. I hope your students will enjoy learning about the history of music recording methods as much as my students did!

  History of Audio Formats - Lesson Plan (6.7 MiB, 4,042 hits)

PDF download available on the Printables > Lesson Plans page.

4 thoughts on “Lesson Plan: The History of Audio Formats”

  1. Thank you so much! I teach k-6 music and finding a lesson like this for the end of the year is perfect! I appreciate your hard work!

  2. Thank you for this lesson. I’ve taught the history of audio in the past, but the lessons weren’t very fun. This is wonderful.

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