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Learning outcomes

Students will:

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

45 minutes



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.


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.


Teacher observation, individual check at the end of lesson.

Supplemental information


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 curriculum alignment

Music Education (2001)

Grade 1