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Essential Concepts and Vocabulary with a Fun Song That Helps Student Retention




3, 4, 5, 6  


Title – Harmony Is: a Music-Vocabulary Song (w/ lesson)
By – Bob Thackara
Primary Subject – Music
Secondary Subjects – Music
Grade Level – 3-6
Harmony Is: a Music Vocabulary Song (w/lesson)

Harmony Is-by Bob Thackara
Music is sound that makes you feel.
Time: (qsh,qsh), time is between 2 waves breaking.
Note: (ah), a note is one sound for a time.
Melody: melody is notes connecting in a row.
Melody is true feelings.

Beat: (domp!), the beat is steady beats through time.
Pattern: pattern is something repeating.
Sun rises everyday, sun sets, everyday.
Rhythm: the rhythm is a beat pattern.
Domp qsh qsh qsh, domp qsh qsh qsh, domp qsh qsh qsh
1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Rhythm is a musical guide.

Harmony is the full sound of
different notes at the same time.
Harmony is connecting.

Melody needs rhythm as feelings needs guidance.
Rhythm needs melody as guidance needs feelings
Harmony needs melody and rhythm
As love needs guidance and feelings true.

Instructional Objective

Students will acquire comprehension of several essential music vocabulary words and concepts. A fill in quiz will measure the ability to define, identify and compare the concepts of melody, rhythm and harmony. 6-8 additional, simpler, music word definitions will be included in the quiz.

Students will be able to use the acquired music words symbolically. In other words, students will be able to use acquired words in writing or talking about a subject other than music. This will be measured by a brief homework assignment in which they create sentences.


Print song lyrics “Harmony Is” from this lesson (Using MWord font 14 or larger).  A McGraw-Hill music textbook editor recommends the song. Free song audio mp3 available by e-mail at (Bob Thackara e-mail) (Your e-mail address is not sold or distributed). (also includes one page chord/lyric chart)(also on CD-$7-includes shipping). Contact info at bottom.

Anticipatory Set

This is a first lesson on music, beginning with music and related vocabulary. To generate attention play a short part of a song, say, “Here Comes The Sun”. Ask, “What is a definition music?” to 2 or 3 students. Flip on overhead to show the first line of the music vocabulary song, which defines music. Pitch reasons for learning music vocabulary and concepts:
1. Helps in conversations with friends about music
2. Makes learning to play music easier
3. Improves analyzing skills in all subjects
4. Fun
Place highlighted words on overhead.

Instruction and Guided Practice

Direct students to write the overhead lyric line on a blank sheet. ESL students may just write the target word and the native translation word. Use chalk to draw a simple sunrise to sunset sketch. Ask students what is between sunrise and sunset.
Answer: Time or duration. Ask students what is between 2 beach-waves breaking? Same answer as previous question: time or duration. Show lyric line #2 that describes time using breaking wave idea. Direct students to write the line. Direct students to copy lyric line.

Call on a few students who volunteer to orally define a musical “note”. Give the hint that the line before has part of the definition of the next word. Show lyric line #3 that describes a musical note. Play several notes, one at a time asking if that is a note, (short note, long note). Play several notes at once and ask if that is a note. Direct students to write the “note” line.

Repeat sequence for the word melody. Demonstrate a melody, (sing, play or whistle a melodic phrase). Draw a wavy line on the board to represent a melody.
Now play the first couple of lines of the “Harmony Is” CD (“Music is sound that makes you feel!”). Sing along to it. Start it over and prompt class to join in. Stop at the end of the first verse. Play the first verse once more.

Move through the next verse following the above sequence. Draw equally spaced vertical dashes through the melody line on the board (visual aid for beat).. Remind students that prior lines give hints to the next word. With the first word, (the)”beat”, begin clapping a beat. Prompt class to join in. Explain a silent beat. Show it by playing a few seconds of a song while you bend your knees to the beat, the bending knees show the beat though you don’t hear it. Describe the time element of a beat,( that the time between 2 beats is part of a beat). A beat has duration. Differentiate different connotations, 1) beat: one hit of a drum, 2)one beat: an amount of time, and 3) the beat: steady beats through time.

For the word. “pattern” refer to someone’s clothing that has a pattern. Show the overhead line for pattern the example that follows. For the word, “rhythm” make every 4th vertical chalk mark bold. Below those marks draw chalk dashes making every 3rd line bold. Prompt class to clap out a simple rhythm accenting every 4th beat. Make bold every 3rd chalk mark (beat). Direct class to clap a 3 beat rhythm. Direct students to copy verse 2 lyrics.

Put CD on, forward to verse 2. Go through once then start at the beginning of the song, prompting class to join in. Continue all the way through the “harmony” lyric.

Ask students to define harmony. Play some harmony. Draw more wavy lines above and below the one representing melody.

Discussion and Closure

Ask students how melody and rhythm are related. Does melody need rhythm? Rhythm is a guide for singing or playing the melody. Symbolically: Melody needs rhythm as feelings need guidance. Eg. A friendship is kept healthy by actions and words that come from one’s internal guidance.
Does rhythm “need” melody? Melody gives life or feeling to rhythm. Even drum circles have a primitive random melody from the changing blend of different drum notes. Symbolically: Rhythm needs melody as guidance needs feelings. Eg. “Rhythm” stands for “guidance”. Guidance requires good reasoning. Good reasoning is motivated by desire, which is emotion or feelings. Additionally when one arrives at a good judgment it is confirmed by a positive feeling.
Hand out typed lyric sheet (and cassette of song) to take home. Collect student lyric writing for completion check.
Discuss what harmony needs.

Independent Practice
Ask students how they might use these words in some symbolic context. E.g.: The forested mountains and sunset clouds made a serene melody. Assign students to write one sentence for each new music word, using each music word in a symbolic way..
Ask all students to try and make the sentences relate to each other.

To receive free audio mp3 (or wma) of the song, “Harmony Is”
Bob Thackara
Guitar and music teacher
Laguna Beach, California

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