How to Teach A Great Music Lesson About the Tokyo Olympics 2020

The Tokyo Olympics 2020 opening performances were very exciting and energetic when it was featured globally. The entertainment value was great but so is its value in the general music classroom. Here are 4 valuable ways to integrate a current event like the Tokyo Olympics into your music lessons.

1. Video game music

Video games have a long standing history in Japanese culture. It is so significant that music from Final Fantasy, a very popular video game franchise, was featured in the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony. If you teach video game music in your music lesson, adding this to your lesson content would be a fantastic addition for those gamers in your classroom! 

Final Fantasy music featured as opening ceremony music in the Tokyo Olympics

2. Integration of live and pre-recorded performance

Another eye catching performance that stole the show at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 was this pictogram performance. This is not the first time Japan created a pictogram performance for the Olympics. It combines live and pre-recorded performance so seamlessly. Among the topics you can discuss about this performance is the staging effort, props and costume, rehearsal, equipment preparation and of course, the dynamic music that accompanied it. I believe all these elements are essential to discuss in the music class when you are prepping for school music concerts or any live performance. 

Pictogram performance at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 Opening Ceremony

3. Japanese traditional theatre and music

If you’re exploring Asian music in your music appreciation class or world music lesson, you might want to include Kabuki into your lesson repertoire. Kabuki is a form of traditional theatre and it was featured in the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics 2020. This genre of theatre art is a little like soap opera which features stories of all sorts including comedy and romance. The performance is prominently elaborate in terms of costume and makeup. Definitely a sight to see! You can watch the stills and listen to the performance in the video below. 

4. Japanese jazz music

The jazz genre is a much loved style of music loved by the Japanese. It is heavily featured in many parts of the opening ceremony, particularly this segment featuring Hiromi Uehara. She is a Japanese jazz piano prodigy and a Grammy award winning artist. You can’t help but feel the infectious energy that’s coming from her performances and this one for the Olympics shouldn’t be a miss! It would be great to feature Hiromi Uehara and Japanese jazz music in various ways in your music classroom: popular Asian pianist, Asian jazz performers, female jazz pianist and many more! 

Hiromi Uehara’s performance at the opening of Tokyo Olympics 2020

I’m sure a lot more musical elements could be gleaned from the Tokyo Olympics but this are some that you could definitely consider adding into your music lesson material. Have a lots of fun exploring music with your students! 

Recently, I was all hyped about the Tokyo Olympics because I read that there were many interesting performances during the opening ceremony. After getting access to the videos, I was so pumped to integrate my Music lessons with the Olympics. Below in this video, I shared 4 things that teachers can do to integrate Music with the Tokyo Olympics event.

Below is my short explanation of how to integrate a current event into your music lesson.

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