Words & Music

Teacher Resources, Grades 7-12

  • Program Length

    45-minutes, 10-lesson unit

  • grade levels


  • group size


  • curricular connections

    Language Arts, Music, Social Studies

  • select standards

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.R.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.R.W National Association for Music Education Standards 6-9

Words & Music: Teach Language Arts Through Lyric Writing helps students explore the art of lyric writing through ten complete lessons. Aligned with Common Core Standards, this interdisciplinary unit also can be tied to math, music, social studies, and visual arts.

The Words & Music unit is composed of ten 45-minute lessons. The lessons are cumulative, each one building on the next. The final project, writing a polished set of lyrics, combines everything students have learned in previous lessons. Final lyrics are sent to the museum to share with a professional songwriter, who will perform a selection of lyrics as finished songs in a 60-minute program.

Prior to teaching Words & Music for the first time, teachers are strongly encouraged to attend a Words & Music professional development workshop or webinar.

Teacher’s Guide for Grades 7-12



  • Darius Rucker - "This"

    Written by: Kara Dioguardi, Frank Rogers, and Darius Rucker

    Performed by: Darius Rucker

    [Time: 3:32]

  • Miranda Lambert - “The House That Built Me”

    “The House That Built Me”

    Written by: Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin

    Performed by: Miranda Lambert

    [Time: 5:01]

  • Mickey Guyton - "Bridges"

    Written by: Victoria Banks, Emily Doty, Mickey Guyton, and Karen Kosowski

    Performed by: Mickey Guyton

    [Time: 3:09]

  • "Me and Bobbie McGee”

    Written by: Kris Kristofferson/Fred Foster
    Performed by: Kris Kristofferson
    [Time: 4:30]

  • "Me and Bobby McGee”

    Written by: Kris Kristofferson/Fred Foster
    Performed by: Janis Joplin
    [Time: 4:26]

  • "I Hope You Dance”

    Written by: Mark D. Sanders/Tia Sillers
    Performed by: Lee Ann Womack
    [Time: 5:33]

  • "I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”

    Written by: Hank Williams
    Performed by: Randy Travis
    [Time: 3:41]

  • "Wide Open Spaces”

    Written by: Susan Gibson
    Performed by: The Chicks
    [Time: 4:40]

  • "Bless the Broken Road”

    Written by: Marcus Hummon/Bobby Boyd/Jeff Hanna
    Performed by: Rascal Flatts
    [Time: 4:16]

Extension lessons expand student engagement with the songwriting craft. Extension lessons are intended for use as supplementary lessons with the whole class or small groups.

Songwriter Biographies

Students read brief songwriter biographies and research and write their own to increase their engagement with the craft. Use any time after LESSON 1.

Historical Connections

Students explore songs based on historical events and written from various points of view. Use any time after LESSON 4. Pairs best with LESSON 7.

2022-2023 Words & Music Funders

Words & Music is made possible by the Country Music Association Endowment for Words & Music and is funded in part by CMA; CMA Foundation; the Dinah and Fred Gretsch Family; Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission; Nashville Predators Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; and Tennessee Arts Commission.


Email us any questions you have while preparing, and don’t forget to fill out the post-teaching feedback survey.

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