Since 1998, Google has periodically decorated the company logo to celebrate notable events, anniversaries and historical figures and over the years more than 2000 Google Doodles have been created.  

Early Google Doodles were simple illustrations, but over the years have become more complex, more frequent and best of all – more interactive.   In 2010, the first interactive Google Doodle was created to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man and features a “playable” online version of the game.  

My favourite Google Doodles though are the music-related ones – especially those that allow you and your students to learn more about an artist or event and also to create your own music.  Here are 9 excellent Google Doodles that you can use in your music classes.

1. 44th Anniversary of the Birth of Hip Hop

44th Anniversary of the Birth of Hip Hop Google Doodle

This Google Doodle celebrates the 44th anniversary of the birth of hip hop and features an eye-catching custom logo designed by graffiti artist Cey Adams.  The doodle takes you through a guided history of hip hop as an art form, narrated by Fab 5 Freddy (former host of “Yo! MTV Raps”) – with an emphasis on the social and cultural influences.

Students can explore DJ techniques using the on-screen turntables. A tutorial walks them through how to work the turntables to create a mix using a crateful of classic hip hop tracks.  There are 10 goals students can work through.


2. Celebrating Ludwig van Beethoven’s 245th Year

Celebrating Ludwig van Beethoven's 245th Year Google Doodle

This highly interactive Google Doodle is actually a puzzle. It celebrates the 245th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven. It was designed by Leon Hong, artist Nate Swinehart, and engineers Jonathan Shneier and Jordan Thompson.

Students can combine their musical ear and sight reading skills to put the pieces of some of Beethoven’s best known works back together. These include his Fifth Symphony, Fur Elise, Moonlight Sonata, and Ode to Joy.


3. John Lennon’s 70th Birthday

John Lennon's 70th Birthday Google Doodle

John Lennon is one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, and this Google Doodle honors his memory, in celebration of what would have been his 70th birthday,  with their first ever animated video doodle, set to his song “Imagine.”

4. Claude Debussy’s 151st Birthday

Claude Debussy's 151st Birthday Google Doodle

This Google Doodle celebrates the anniversary of Claude Debussy’s 151st birthday. It features an animated night scene on a river outside of a city, set to the tune of “Clair de Lune.”  The lights in the city twinkle in time with the music.

Students can learn how the different elements of this Google Doodle came together in the Doodle description.

5. Clara Rockmore’s 105th Birthday

Clara Rockmore’s 105th Birthday Google Doodle

This Google Doodle celebrates the 105th birthday of Clara Rockmore, a former violinist, who, due to an injury, gravitated to an instrument more easily played..the theremin. She was instrumental in the development of this unusual instrument, suggesting it have five octaves instead of three. Clara Rockmore became a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, and the New York Philharmonic in the 1930’s.

With this Google Doodle, students can go through a series of three lessons in order to get comfortable using the online version of the theremin. Once they complete their lessons, they are free to experiment with creating their own melodies.

6. Bartolomeo Cristofori’s 360th Birthday

Bartolomeo Cristofori’s 360th Birthday Google Doodle

This Google Doodle celebrates the 360th birthday of Bartolomeo Cristofori, the inventor of the pianoforte, now commonly known as the piano.

Students can see an inside view of the piano in action, and they can control how soft or loud the piano is played. This demonstrates the correlation between how hard or soft the piano key is pressed and how loud or soft the volume becomes. This is a great visual representation of how sound works.

7. Freddie Mercury’s 65th Birthday

Freddie Mercury was one of the greatest vocalists in modern history and the lead singer of the band “Queen.”  This Google Doodle celebrates what would have been his 65th birthday, and features the Queen song “Don’t Stop Me Now.” The animation features different artistic styles, including some early 1980’s video-game type of graphics.

Below the Google Doodle, students can read more about Freddie Mercury, as described by Brian May, guitarist for the band Queen, about what made Freddie so great as a performer, and as a person.

8. Les Paul’s 96th Birthday

Les Paul's 96th Birthday Google Doodle

This Google Doodle celebrates the 96th birthday of Les Paul, inventor, and pioneer of the solid-body electric guitar.

Students can play and record musical patterns and melodies and get a hyperlink afterward which they can share with family and friends.

9. Robert Moog’s 78th Birthday

Robert Moog's 78th Birthday Google Doodle

This interactive Google Doodle celebrates the 78th birthday of Robert Moog, inventor of the Moog synthesiser. This synthesiser brought modern music to new heights in the late 1960s and was featured on albums from The Doors, The Byrds, and The Monkees, just to name a few.

Students can create sounds and melodies using their mouse or computer keyboard to control the synthesiser seen on the screen. They can also record their creations with the 4 track recorder, which is next to the synthesizer,  and get a hyperlink to share with family and friends.

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