K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • tell the difference in low, medium, and high pitches.
  • sing low, medium and high pitches.
  • hear and reproduce low, medium and high pitches using the tone bars.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

45 minutes

Materials/resources

  • The Three Bears: story book or Silver, Burdett and Ginn Big Book from The Music Connection series.
  • 3 Tone Bars: the lowest bar should be middle C, medium A, and highest pitch D, an octave above middle C.

Pre-activities

The students need to be comfortable singing in a group situation as well as solo. Basic knowledge of how to play the tone bars is helpful.

Activities

Introduction: Say Hello to the students in a high, medium, and then low voice. Ask the students to echo. Explain that the class will be learning about high and low.

  1. Divide students into high baby bear voices, medium mama bear voices, and low papa bear voices (practice).
  2. Tell the story of The Three Bears, using the Music Connection Big Book as a visual aid. Have each group say their character’s lines in the assigned voices; i.e., “somebody’s been sitting in my chair,” making sure each student in the group uses the appropriate voice. You may also have each group pantomime the actions as they say their lines.
  3. Play tone bars slowly and have students tell high, medium, or low by making their bodies high (stretching), medium (sitting) or low (on the floor). Next, have students sing pitches of the tone bars, again in their assigned groups.
  4. Retell the story, this time with the students using their singing voices on the assigned lines on the appropriate pitches with one student from each group playing the tone bars. The students may also be advanced enough to sing while moving their bodies high, medium, and low.

Conclude the lesson by saying goodbye to each child in a high, medium, or low singing voice and having them echo the same pitch back.

Assessment

Teacher observation, individual check at the end of lesson.

Supplemental information

Comments

I have found this lesson to be very useful in helping children differentiate pitch. Also, many young students confuse high and low for loud and soft, and this lesson helps to clarify exactly what high and low means in music.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Music Education (2010)
      • Kindergarten

        • K.MR.1 Understand the interacting elements to respond to music and music performances. K.MR.1.1 Use singing, playing, and/or moving to respond to a variety of musical ideas. K.MR.1.2 Recognize contrasts in music, such as high/low pitch, loud/soft dynamics,...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Music Education (2001)

Grade 1

  • Goal 1: The learner will sing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
    • Objective 1.01: Recognize and demonstrate the difference between speaking and singing voices.
    • Objective 1.02: Match pitch within a developmentally appropriate range, using head tones.
    • Objective 1.06: Show respect for the singing efforts of others.
  • Goal 2: The learner will play on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
    • Objective 2.01: Recognize and play pitched and unpitched instruments.

Kindergarten

  • Goal 1: The learner will sing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
    • Objective 1.01: Recognize and demonstrate the difference between speaking and singing voices.
    • Objective 1.02: Match pitch within a developmentally appropriate range.
    • Objective 1.06: Show respect for the singing efforts of others.
  • Goal 2: The learner will play on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
    • Objective 2.01: Recognize and play pitched and unpitched instruments.