An Intro To Film Scoring: Same Scene 5 Ways


Updated September 2016 to include student worksheet download (see below)


I’ve been running a number of film scoring workshops lately and have been on the lookout for a video that shows the same scene with different styles of music which I can use as a starting point for discussing the effect of music in movies. So far, I’ve only been able to find this video on Youtube, which depicts a scene from the TV series Heroes with 12 different styles of music. It’s effective and the right idea, but it’s a little too violent for general school use!

So, I decided to make my own video instead. I found an instructional film from the Prelinger Archives which shows children how to walk to school safely (Sid Davis Productions, 1964) and edited a small portion so that I was left with a 25 second clip. Then I chose a range of royalty-free music styles from Kevin Macleod’s Incompetech website where you can search by feel or by genre. Although it was hard to narrow the list down (and difficult to avoid choosing too many scary options!), I ended up with 5 contrasting styles of music – including an “odd one out”.

I tested the video out yesterday during a workshop with a group of Grade 6 girls from Melbourne Girls Grammar School. They each took out a piece of paper and wrote down 2 or 3 words about the effect of each style on the movie, or how the music made them feel. They also correctly identified the odd one out! Then we moved on to creating soundtracks from scratch in GarageBand.

The video is not perfect and I may do another version one day, but I think it will suffice for now :).  Of course, you’re welcome to use it in your own classes if you think it’s useful.


 Download the student worksheet (or Google Form)

Would you like a printable student worksheet for this lesson? Or access to a Google Form where students can fill in their answers digitally?  It’s perfect for a short listening activity to introduce a film scoring unit and would make an ideal substitute music teacher lesson.

I have put together two versions of a student response form:

  • A printable version
  • A digital version using Google Forms/Spreadsheets


Intro to film scoring music teacher substitute activity

Click on the download button below and we’ll send the student worksheet and access to the form –  straight to your email inbox. You’ll also receive weekly music tech tips and news (if you don’t already). You can unsubscribe at any time.

Click here to download


Want more? Online courses: step-by-step film scoring with students

Film scoring is a fantastic project for middle school students. If you’re interested in doing some film scoring with your students but you’re not sure where to start, I have online courses inside the Midnight Music Community that cover the step-by-step process using GarageBand, Mixcraft, Acid Music Studio and Sibelius.