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Comparing Composers:

Beethoven and Mozart

Music Lesson Plan

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Brief Description

This reading comprehension activity exposes students to the lives and music of Mozart and Beethoven. Work sheet included.



Students will
  • read brief biographies of Mozart and Beethoven.
  • identify the composer identified in each of 15 statements on the student work sheet.


composer, music, classical, Mozart, Beethoven, reading, comprehension

Materials Needed

Lesson Plan

In this activity, students listen to music composed by, and read brief biographies of, two of the world's most prolific composers -- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven. Biography resources are provided below. The Classical Music Pages resources include links to downloadable music by each composer.

Print and hand out to students the biographies of Mozart and Beethoven listed below:

Provide students with the Comparing Composers: Mozart and Beethoven work sheet. Ask them to read the biographical material and then complete the activity by writing M on the line next to each statement that describes Mozart and B next to each statement that describes Beethoven.

Adapt the Lesson for Younger Students (Grades 3-5)
Print and distribute to students the biographies of Mozart and Beethoven listed below:

Provide students with a Venn Diagram template. (Note: That link provides a special Venn diagram form that students can download, save to a disk, and use to create their own personal Venn diagrams. The download might take 30 seconds to complete.)

After students have saved the document to a disk, they can create their own document headline by replacing the word TOPIC at the top of the page with text such as Comparing Mozart and Beethoven. They then can replace the text ITEM in the first circle with the name Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and ITEM in the second circle with the name Ludwig van Beethoven. As students read the biographies of the two men, they can type their notes into the appropriate circles of the diagram. When they have finished, they can save their documents to a disk and/or print them.

When students have completed their reading and note taking, provide time for them to share their notes with the entire class. Create two charts -- one with each composers name on it -- and write facts students share about each composer. Then have students use the charts and their own notes to write a paragraph, in which they share what they think are the two most interesting facts about each composer.

Alternate Activity: Invite students to create a simple compare/contrast chart by folding a sheet of paper in half and writing Mozart at the top of one column and Beethoven at the top of the other. As they read each biography, students write brief notes about key events in each composer's life.


Work sheet answer key:
1.B, 2.M, 3.M, 4.B, 5.B, 6.M, 7.B, 8.M, 9.B, 10.B, 11.M, 12.B, 13.B, 14.M, 15.M.
THINK ABOUT IT: Accept reasoned responses.
Grading the sheet: Award 6 points for each statement correctly identified and 10 points for a thoughtful response to the Think About It question for a total of 100 points.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins


Find more great music ideas in Education World's Music In Our Schools Month archive.

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Originally published 03/07/2003
Last updated 03/09/2015