This study aimed to investigate the kinds of activities that Japanese music teachers should undertake to facilitate their students’ understanding of the diverse musical culture of other countries. Toward this end, I analyzed the methods adopted for teaching musical composition in the United States. It became clear that it is considered very important that students there learn composition to help them understand various musical elements or structures and that composition is connected with expanding their approach to music as a whole. Accordingly, classes are held based on the 12-bar blues. First, students listen to various types of music that developed in the United States, such as blues, jazz, and ragtime. They then learn the form of the 12-bar blues and create their own compositions using a rhythm template. It is apparent that activities focusing on listening and composing in classes enable the students to approach the blues in an active manner. These activities allow students to understand how this music developed and aid their study of musical structure, which leads to greater musical appreciation and enriches their entire musical experience.