Movie Soundtracks

6th grade will be creating a soundtrack to a pre-approved video clip. Music influences how we as humans feel and perceive images. This project challenges students to create a soundtrack not expected of a particular image. For example: make something cute and funny, scary. Make something sad, happy. Etc.

Movie Soundtrack Project


Students use pre-recorded music and sound effects to create an accompaniment to a video clip. The sounds students use reflect the mood and actions occurring in the video.

Prerequisite Knowledge

Students have worked with the program Garage Band for previous projects, including a group composition to accompany an image. They are familiar with how to use the program and have explored some of the music and sound effect files contained within the program

Questions How can music convey a story when there are no lyrics? What instruments can be identified when listening to a song? How do we listen to music? In videos on electronic devices, or in concerts, etc? How does the way in which we listen to music affect the emotions we feel from that song? In what ways does the setting in which we listen to a song affect how we respond to that song?

Students will ... Explore how emotions are reflected in music Identify the elements of music. Explore the connections between emotions and music. Relate various quotes to the emotions depicted in song. Demonstrate knowledge of the elements of music in various songs. Determine additional elements of music that are not present in songs of the students choosing. Clearly demonstrate the elements of music through an original composition. Critique a self-created original composition and those of peers.

Suggested Listening Debussy Chopin Tom & Jerry - Theme from “Jaws” Thriller - Frozen Horror Trailer - Willy Wonka Horror Trailer - Royalty Free Music - Library of books, media, audio -

Materials Needed

  • 3-5 video clips with the sound turned off. Video clips should be non-offensive, such as movie trailers with no more than a PG-13 rating. Videos should be approximately three minutes in length and include actions that necessitate sound effects.

  • Computer to sync or share videos to iPad

  • GarageBand installed on iPads

  • iMovie installed on iPads

Anticipatory Set

Students write a response to the question,

How do music and sound effects make a movie more interesting?


  1. Students are given project guidelines with an explanation of the project, grading guidelines, and project requirements (use three sound effects and one piece of music in their composition).

  2. Students are divided into groups of three or four.

  3. Students watch the video clips (without the sound).

  4. Students choose one video clip to add sound to.

  5. Students work within their group to add background music and sound effects to the video clips in Garageband. Students may use the music and effects included in the program, record their own sound effects with the computer microphones, or use music that they own.

  6. The teacher walks around, facilitating the composition process.

  7. The finished videos are viewed by the class.

Check for Student Understanding

Students meet the requirements of the project (i.e. including three sound effects and one music clip) in their composition. The sounds compliment what is going on in the video clip, reflecting the mood and the actions present. Students are able to describe why they chose the different sounds to use in their project.


Ask students why they chose particular pieces of music and sound effects for their composition, and how these sounds enhance or reflect the content of the video. Ask students how this project was different from the previous project where they composed a piece to accompany a single image. Ask students which composition they liked better and why.


Students could have the option of composing some or all of the music for the composition on notation software. Students can create their own movies where they make the video as well as the accompanying sound.

Grading Rubric

  1. Video

  2. Pre-approved by Ms. Smith

  3. At least 60 seconds in length

  4. Garage Band

  5. Must include at least 6 tracks

  6. Use of MIDI and loop-based tracks

  7. 1 or more altered loops

  8. Use of original music recorded on virtual instruments

  9. Music conveys emotion intended

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