Literature, Secondary English Language Arts
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Homework/Assignment, Lesson Plan, Media Object
Middle School, High School
  • Lesson Plan
  • Literature
  • Musicians
  • Novel Study
  • photography
  • License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Famous Musicians & Frankie Presto

    Famous Musicians & Frankie Presto


    Research project and presentation based on the novel The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom. 


    This is a student presentation on a famous musician referenced in the novel The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom. This assignment can be completed in a variety of formats. 


    Background for Teachers

    To teach this lesson, you will need an understanding of the novel. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto is a novel about a musician (Frankie Presto) who dies during a concert performance by rising up above the stage and then dropping back onto the stage, dead. The story is narrated by Music and is an entertaining story that includes music history, user-friendly music theory, and themes including the power of music to unite. 


    Goals and Outcomes

    Learning Intentions:

    1. I can recognize that representation of information is determined by analysis of purpose, task, and audience.

    2. I can present information clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the presentation.

    3. I can use digital media strategically in presentations to enhance understanding and add interest.

    Success Criteria -- Students will

    1. Research a musician referenced in the novel.

    2. Create a presentation (student selects formats) that includes information, images, and evidence from the novel.

    3. Deliver the presentation to peers (or others).


    Planning Instruction

    Strategies for Diverse Learners --

    1. Allow students to choose which musician they study.

    2. Allow students to choose how they create and deliver their presentation.

    3. Consider allowing pairs/partners in order to assist students with special needs. 


    1. Students read "Lin-Manuel Miranda" by Jessica McBirney (available via either alone, in small groups, or as a whole class. ( is a free resource for teachers).

    2. Engage students in a discussion about classical music and "old" music. 

    >Suggested questions

       -What kind of music do your parents (guardians, grandparents, and so on) listen to on a road trip?

       -What is "classical" music?

       -What do you know about "classic rock," "heavy metal," "grunge music," "disco music," and so on.

    3. Introduce musician mini-research project and show model.

    >"In the novel the narrator, Music, believes that music unites us and binds us. The narrator talks a lot about musicians of the past and their influence on people and on music today. Music (the narrator) references many musicians. We want to explore and learn about these musicians and their contribution to music as a whole, and to Frankie Presto and Music."

    >Introduce assignment.  (See attachment.)

    a. Decide whether students may choose the musician (from those referenced in the novel), or if you will assign the musicians to the students. 

    4. IF NECESSARY, introduce students to Utah's Online Library and how to use it. 

    a. Suggested resources

    -"Intro to Utah's Online Library - Secondary" 

    -Reimagine Learning: Better than Google - Utah's Online Library for Student Research

    5. Review (or teach) practices on citing sources and which digital sources can be ethically and legally used. 

    -Introduction to Information Literacy

    -CS Fundamentals 6.19: Digital Sharing





    Step 4 - Assessments


    -Presentation Rubric (See attached samples created by Illinois State University, 2018)

       -Can be completed by teacher and/or students

    -Presentation Ideas/Suggestions

       -In-class live presentation

       -Video (Flipgrid, Adobe Spark, iMovie, and so on)

       -Students could create a slide show using other platforms (for example Canva, and so on).