A book lies open on a desk, with a pair of white ear-buds acting as a bookmark.

Literary Playlist

How can we use music to communicate about characters and themes in a story?

Project Summary

In this project, students read and analyze a work of literature and develop custom music playlists that portray the development of themes and/or characters over the course of the story. Students might self-select a work to read, or might work with a core required text (e.g., The Odyssey, Things Fall Apart, To Kill a Mockingbird, Fahrenheit 451, or In the Time of the Butterflies). Taking on the role of playlist curators for a streaming music service (such as Spotify, Soundcloud, Pandora, YouTube) that is producing a special edition collection of literary-inspired playlists, students break the literary work into sections, identify key themes or phases of character development in each section, and identify a song to capture the essence of each theme/character development. While this project is done individually or in pairs, students engage in peer critique processes during the development of their playlists and must (verbally and in writing) explain and refine their rationale for selecting each song.