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Here students learn dynamic terminology and demonstrate the levels with their voices and bodies




1, 2, 3, 4, 5  

Title – Dynamics
By – Melissa Vincent
Primary Subject – Music
Grade Level – 1-5


  • Learn dynamic terminology — Italian words and abbreviations
  • Demonstrate dynamic levels with our voices and with our bodies.


      1. Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.


    6. Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.


    Dynamics: pianissimo, piano, mezzo-piano, mezzo-forte, forte, fortissimo, crescendo, decrescendo


      1) A pack of flash cards for each student with each dynamic term abbreviation: pp-ff, crescendo and decrescendo


      2) Recording of

Hall of the Mountain King.

      3) Song:

Forte Piano

      from Music K-8 Magazine Vol. 13-1.


      4) Song:

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt Anticipatory Set:

      When students are settled, play a piece of music that clearly demonstrates dynamics. I use

The Hall of the Mountain King

      because it is great for hearing that gradual crescendo. Have the students listen and then describe the piece. Ask how the music differed from the beginning to the end.

(It was soft at the beginning and loud at the end.)

    Today we are going to learn about dynamics, the volume of music, and learn how to speak some Italian, too!

Procedure/ Modeling:

      1) Display flash cards with each dynamic term starting with p and f.


      2) Discuss Italian words and abbreviations.


      3) Speak words at the correct dynamic level and have students echo you.


      4) Continue with pp and ff.


      5) Add mp and mf.


    6) Finish with crescendo and decrescendo. For crescendo and decrescendo, have students speak 1-10 each, then both. (1-5 for crescendo and 6-10 for decrescendo).

Guided Practice:

      1) Teach song

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt



      2) Choose six children to stand up front holding the dynamic flash cards for pp through ff.


      3) Sing one verse at f and at the “la, la, las” at ff.


      4) Each subsequent verse should be one dynamic level softer while keeping the “las” loud.


    5) As their dynamic level is sung, the child with corresponding flash card holds it up high above their head. (The students that are sitting can use their own flash cards to display the dynamic level as well.)

Check for Understanding:

      1)Bring back the

Hall of the Mountain King.

      2)This time as the students listen, they will show their flash cards as they hear each dynamic level occur.


      3)Of course, the students will begin with pp and end with ff.


    4)Ask, “What is it called when music gradually goes from piano to forte?” “Crescendo.”

Independent Practice:

      1) Teach song.

Forte Piano


(This song is really good for teaching the dynamic terms.)

      2) Now add motions to the song.


      3) Have students experiment either with partner or individual with movements that would go along with forte and with piano.

(My kids usually make big wide motions or movements for forte and little, small ones for piano.)

    4) Sing the song and do the motions they created.


      1)Go over flash cards one last time as quickly as you can.



Forte Piano

    as they leave.


    1) Teacher observation.


    This is a lesson that could be added to any unit about dynamics. There are many good listening selections that can give the students more practice with dynamics. You could also apply what I did with the song, “John Jacob” to any song that the students are familiar with.

E-Mail Melissa Vincent !

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