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Lesson – Teaching Music Notes With Circles and Colors

Lesson – Teaching Music Notes With Circles and Colors

Objective/Goals – This lesson is designed to teach students about music notes and sound using circles for notes and color for pitch.  

Materials/Equipment – Sample of music to play, pictures of instruments (guitar, flute, piano, sax) or actual instrument(s), a written sentence and a written line of music below the sentence (either on board or on poster), cut out circles (large and small), inflated balloons (black, red, blue, green, yellow) baskets labeled higher and lower, crayons, scissors, worksheets to use for Independent Practice to reinforce notes and pitch.

Anticipatory Set – Invite students to come sit on the rug. “Today, children, we are going to learn something new so we all need to use quiet voices and put on our listening ears.” Teacher will play a bit of a song and ask students to talk to their partners to discuss what their teacher did. Wait a moment and then ask students to raise their hands and share what they talked about with their partner. Write ideas on board or poster. “Yes, you just heard music!” Ask students leading questions to get their interest piqued. “Do you like music? Why do people listen to music? Where do you listen to music?”  How does music make you feel? How does music make your family feel? Do you listen to music with your family? 

Direct Instruction – Ask students, “Can someone tell us how you read? How do people read?” (Lead students in a direction so they tell you that we read with words made of letters) “Today we are going to learn about notes and pitch, children.” Then explain that “People who play instruments, like these, (point to instruments on the board or actual instrument(s)) learn to read music so they can play a song. The music is made of notes just like sentences are made from words with letters.” At this time, show the example of a sentence and the written line of music.

“Today we are going to use circle shapes, boys and girls, to learn about music notes and tones.” Show students many cut out circles, both large and small, so that they can really see and understand the differences. “What are these?” Ask students to discuss with their partner. Wait for students answers. Ask students to identify both large and small then teacher will identify the circles are both large and small for reinforcement or correction. “Big circles make loud sounds (use louder voice when showing large circle) louder voice) and smaller circles make softer sounds (use quiet voice when showing small circle). “The notes are like the letters and tone is the sound we make when reading a story aloud, like when I read you a story out loud.”

Play sounds of different animals (bird, elephant) and ask students if the sound is loud or soft. Play another clip of sound (train and children laughing) and ask students if sound is loud or soft. This will train students to listen and distinguish loud and soft.

Introduce circles that are different colors as they apply to color coded keyboards using the primary colors (green, black, blue, red and yellow) to teach outrivals, the intervals between one musical pitch and another. It’s a matter of either being higher or lower in sound by half or double the frequency.

Guided Practice – Break students into groups or teams and tell them they are going to play a game to learn about pitch and sound. Label two baskets for each team, one as “higher pitch” and one as “lower pitch”. Show students inflated balloons of the varying colors at the back of the classroom (less of the blue). With their team mates, state the object of “the game” is to fill their baskets with the balloons with black and red as the higher pitch and yellow and green as the lower pitch.  You can set a timer to make the lesson stay within time restraints.

Closure – After students have finished the activity, invite them to sit on the rug. With quiet voices, review the activity that the students just participated in and ask them what they learned today. Teacher will hold up a black balloon and ask students which basket it belongs in. Continue with additional colors into the appropriate basket, just one or two of each. Hold up a large circle and a small circle Ask students to identify the sound of a large circle then a small circle. Review with students what they learned again.

Independent Practice – After students have learned their “color to pitch”, hand out worksheet which will reinforce their new learned knowledge of learning to draw notes. 

Students will draw and trace circle music notes. Students will be reinforced that circles represent notes. Students can glue paper stickers inside the notes and/or sort notes by higher pitch and lower pitch depending on the color they colored them. 

Assessment – For a homework assignment, or follow up class activity, give students worksheets so that they can perform the activity again, on their own. Assess if students’ have an understanding of the concept they learned. Teacher can also ask students to present their completed activity to the class.

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