Lesson 2: Exploring a Soul Music Medley

Aim: How can we appreciate musical inspiration by exploring Laiken’s arrangement of her “Aretha Franklin Medley?”
Summary: Students explore the idea of musical favorites by identifying, explaining and sharing opinions about some of their favorite songs.
Materials: Music Explorers online audio
Standards: GA: ESGMK-2.CR.2, ESGMK-2.CR.3, ESGMK-2.PR.1, ESGMK-2.RE.1, ESGMK-2.RE.2, ESGMK-2.RE.3, ESGMK-2.CN.1, ESGMK-2.CN.2 
SC: MGK-2.1, MGK-2.3, MGK-2.6, MGK-2.7, MGK-2.8, MGK-2.9
Vocabulary: inspiration, medley, soul
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Sing and Learn About a Medley

Aretha Franklin (March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018)

Singer, songwriter, and pianist Aretha Franklin was known for her powerful singing voice, inspiring lyrics, and musical arrangements. She has many prestigious accomplishments including 112 charted Billboard singles, 20 number one R&B singles, 17 top-ten pop singles, and 18 Grammy awards. Franklin is one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold more than 75 million records worldwide. All of these titles established Franklin as the “Queen of Soul.”

  • Laiken has created a medley using parts of some of her favorite songs by one of her biggest inspirations, Aretha Franklin. A medley is a piece of music that is compiled from parts of existing songs, sometimes overlapping. This medley puts together parts of three Aretha Franklin songs: “Rocksteady,” “Respect,” and “Chain of Fools.” 
  • An inspiration is a person, place, thing, or even a thought that helps give us a creative idea. 
  • Listen, move and sing along to the three songs in the “Aretha Franklin Medley.” Suggested versions of “Rocksteady,” “Respect,” and “Chain of Fools” can be found under Teacher Resources. 
  • Listen to how Laiken combines the songs and creates a medley, Track 05.

Track 05 – Laiken’s Medley

  • Identify each song by assigning a small group to each song. Have each group sing when they hear their assigned song. Depending on space, students can jump up or raise their hands to identify each part of the medley.
  • How has Laiken put these songs together? 
  • Why do you think they fit together? If necessary, help draw out lyrics, rhythm, instruments, etc. 
  • Why do you think singers create medleys? 
  • In pairs, or as an entire class, discuss:
  • If you were to create a medley, what three songs would you include? 
  • Remind students that the songs in a medley usually have something in common that ties them together. Laiken chose three songs by the same artist, but medleys can also share themes or musical ideas. For example, you could create a medley with three songs about trains, rainbows, etc. 
Identify Musical Favorites and Inspirations
  • Ask students to think about why this type of music might be called “soul.” (e.g., you feel it in your body, it makes you think, and/or it allows you to share your feelings in a bigger way than talking or writing.) 
  • Lead students in a brainstorm about what makes something our favorite.
  • Laiken shared with us that soul is one of her favorite styles of music and makes her feel inspired. Let’s read about why soul is one of Laiken’s favorites. 
  • Display and read SG11. You can also watch a video of Laiken’s interview below:
  • When referring to script reading in this activity, depending on class ability, this can be done as a large group with the teacher reading aloud, or students reading aloud. 
  • Explain to your students that when we ask questions and share our favorites, we find out many interesting things about each other.
  • By reading Laiken’s answers, what did we learn about Laiken? 
  • Help students draw out ideas about who Laiken is.
  • By asking Laiken these questions we discovered some reasons why Laiken loves singing soul music. Now it will be our turn to share our answers in the same way that Laiken did. 
  • Using SG12, provide different options for students to share their answers (e.g., aurally, written, or recorded on an electronic device). After completing this step, lead a class discussion using the questions below as a guide:
  • What did we learn about each other from listening to each other’s answers? 
  • How were our answers the same/different? 
  • What other questions did you want to ask? 

Creative Extension: Discovering Famous Soul Musicians 

Using SG13, learn about different soul musicians from the 20th Century. Can you and your class research and listen to the music of some other soul musicians? Which one is your favorite?

Musical Word Wall

Add the words inspiration, medley, and soul to the Musical Word Wall.
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PDF Downloads

SG11 – Let’s Find Out About Laiken’s Favorites ↓ Download File
SG12 – Let’s Find Out YOUR Favorite ↓ Download File
SG13 – Great Soul Singers ↓ Download File

Audio Tracks

Track 05 – Laiken’s Medley

Unit 2: Country with Anders →