As one of the biggest musicians of all time, Taylor Swift has legions of fans in every corner of the world. As teachers, she is an amazing resource to draw upon in the classroom, to teach everything from songwriting and musical styles, to empowerment and more.
Below is a lesson plan aimed at using Taylor Swift’s unique career, artistic themes and lyrics, to create a four class unit. We’ve embedded some of her songs throughout the article to highlight some of our favourite songs, and suggest ways you can make an effective, interactive educational content.
Lesson Plan: Exploring Taylor Swift: A Journey through Music and Empowerment
Grade Level: 12-15 year olds.
Objective: Students will explore the life and music of Taylor Swift to understand her journey as an artist and the themes of empowerment, self-expression, and storytelling in her songs. Through discussions, activities, and creative exercises, students will reflect on the impact of music on personal growth and social change.
Duration: 3-4 class periods (45-60 minutes each)
- Taylor Swift’s music (selected songs from various albums)
- Video projection equipment
- Whiteboard or chalkboard with markers/chalk
- Art supplies (colored pencils, markers, craft paper, etc.)
- Handouts with discussion questions and creative exercises
Day 1: Introduction to Taylor Swift and Her Music
- Begin by introducing Taylor Swift as a singer, songwriter, and actress. Share some background information about her early career and musical influences.
- Play a selection of Taylor Swift’s songs that showcase different genres and themes in her music.
- Facilitate a class discussion about the students’ initial impressions of Taylor Swift’s music and the recurring themes they notice.
Day 2: Empowerment and Self-Expression in Taylor Swift’s Songs
- Discuss the concept of empowerment and its importance in promoting self-confidence and positive change.
- Analyze specific Taylor Swift songs that emphasize empowerment and self-expression. Examples could include “Shake It Off,” “Mean,” “You Belong with Me,” or “The Man.”
- In small groups, have students discuss the messages conveyed in the songs and how they relate to real-life experiences.
Day 3: Storytelling and Music Video Analysis
- Explore how Taylor Swift uses storytelling in her songs to convey emotions and narratives. Choose a couple of her songs with compelling stories, such as “Love Story,” “Blank Space,” or “All Too Well.”
- Show the music videos for the selected songs and guide students in analyzing how the visuals enhance the storytelling and emotional impact.
- Have students create a storyboard for an original music video that complements one of Taylor Swift’s songs, focusing on conveying a specific message or theme through visual storytelling.
Day 4: Music for Social Change
- Discuss the power of music in driving social change and raising awareness of important issues.
- Play Taylor Swift’s song “Change” or “You Need to Calm Down” and discuss its relevance to inspiring positive change in society.
- In small groups, have students choose a social or environmental issue they care about and write original lyrics for a song that advocates for positive change.
- Optional: Students can perform their songs in front of the class or create audio recordings to share their messages.
Conclude the lesson by revisiting the themes explored in Taylor Swift’s music, including empowerment, self-expression, storytelling, and music for social change. Encourage students to recognize the power of music as a medium for personal growth and influencing the world around them positively. Discuss how they can use their own talents and passions to make a difference in their communities. Consider creating a “Taylor Swift appreciation wall” where students can share their favorite lyrics, artwork, or reflections related to the lesson.