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In this 2-session lesson, young children play percussion instruments softly and loudly while learning that pictures can represent sounds




1, 2, 3  


Title – Music: How symbols can represent sounds
By – Randy Rigby
Primary Subject – Music
Grade Level – 1-3 


Tell the class that they are going to learn how pictures can represent sounds telling us when to play and when to stay silent.

Divide the children up into 3 groups
1)wood 2) metal 3) skins.
Each to have an instrument relating to that group.

Demonstrate how they will know when to play when they see a picture that represents their group of instruments. Say when their picture is shown, they must play, if their picture is not shown, then they must remain silent. The children are to play as long as the symbol is shown for. Get them to play quietly, loudly, medium loud, getting louder and quieter gradually. (Can use another sign for this).

Choose who can now become the leader to hold up the picture.

Now stick the 3 pictures in a row. (You can add more than 1 of the same picture if you like to create a picture score). The conductor this time will point to the sign representing the groups… Again the group will play for as long as the conductor points to the picture before moving along. (In future sessions speed (duration) can be varied asking what effects it gives).


In groups again as the first session (children can swap groups if they want) and point out again how the pictures can represent sounds. Today, tell the class that they are going to see what happens when we
combine more than one sound, using the pictures from last time. (You may need to prepare more of the picture cards for this activity.).

Let each group practice individually performing quietly, loudly, medium loud etc….get a child to hold pictures like last time.

Remind the class how we arranged the picture cards in a long line last lesson and how we used a conductor to take us through the whole piece? Get a child to arrange any 6 cards in any order and place them on the wall. Play through using a conductor as a practice performing a longer piece.

Now choose 3 pictures only that are on the wall and add another of a different group on top. Ask the children what they think will happen at these points of the picture score. (2 groups will play). Perform through as before… can swap combinations or extend line etc as desired.


Add signs for loud and soft
Add signs for a melodic group
Group compositions based on the ‘cards’ game

Have a quick practice.

E-Mail Randy Rigby !

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