Category Archives: Melody

Music Match

This is a great idea for a game of memory in your classroom! Here is a link to the blogger who has this idea:  It’s a great blog!

GREAT IDEA! match the solfege to the staff!

I think my students will love this game!


Helping Students Find their Singing Voice

I came across a great idea while attending a workshop with John Feierabend. He was talking about how he uses a slide whistle to help his students find their head voice.  I have had a few children in the past that couldn’t seem to find that head voice no matter what I did. Then I brought out the slide whistle. After 2 weeks of practice, every student was using that voice.

Here’s what I did (second grade):

  • I played the slide whistle in a couple of different ways for the students.
  • I asked the students if they could make their voices sound like the slide whistle.
  • Many students would whistle instead of do a vocal siren. When they did that, I told them to match what I was doing with their voice instead of with their lips and air. Worked like a charm.
  • After that, many students were asking to play the slide whistle. I didn’t want to let them do that (for obvious reasons) so instead I allowed them to pull the handle as I blew (gently, of course).
  • The students had a great time and a few asked their parents to buy them slide whistles!

This is the one I purchased:

American Slide Whistle

Have you used a slide whistle to get your students to explore head voice? Do you have any other tricks for getting students to sing up there? Please share in the comments! I know we’re always looking for more tricks! 

A New Take on an Old Favorite

I found this lesson  plan at


This lesson uses Ba Ba Black Sheep as a jumping off point for students creating their own sol-mi melodies! This is perfect for this time of year with our youngest students.  Visit to see it!

Assessment with a Line-up Song!

If you head over to you can see this great Line-up song!

Line-Up Song

Mrs. Dennis (the author of the blog) teaches you how to use this song in your classroom to assess tempo, dynamics, melody, harmony, timbre, and rhythm!

Do you have a song like this? Have you used other line-up songs to assess musical skills?

‘Round in a Circle

Here is a big “Thank You” to our secretary, Barbara, for sharing this name game with us.  She shared this at our last workshop. 

‘Round in a Circle – Share the Music K  (Chant)

Let’s go ‘round in a circle,

Let’s go ‘round in a game,

When I get to you,

Please say your name.

My name is _______. (each student)  Her/His name is _________. (Group)  After 4 names resay the chant.

Extension 1.  Singing on l, s, m

Let’s go ‘round in a circle, (s, s, m, l, l, s, m)  or any other melody you want.

Let’s go ‘round in a game,

When I get to you,

Please SING your name.

My name is _______. (each student)  (s, m, l, s, m)

Extension 1.  Jazz Singing – Encourage improvisation on their names… use minor thirds or chords or blues scale.


Extension 2.  Classical Singing

For ex.  “A la Hadyn”

Let’s go ‘round in a circle, now (d, d, m, m, s, s, m)

Let’s go ‘round in a game, (f, f, r, r, t, t, s)

When I get to you, (d, d, m, m, s, m)

Please say your name. (d1, f*, f*, s)

My name is _______. (each student)  (d, m, m, s, m)

Her/His name is _________. (Group)  (f, r, r, t, t, s)

“A la Mozart” or “A la Beethoven” have students choose their favorite song and create one together


5th Symphony:  SING ME YOUR NAME, SING ME YOUR NAME.  My name is _____. (3 students say names)


Guided Listening

       We all know that asking young children to listen to an entire orchestral work is very difficult.  Not to mention the fact that they don’t really get anything out of it.  When listening to musical examples, students need to focus on something.  They need guidance for what to pay attention to. 

Today’s post is designed to teach you how to create your own guided listening experience for  your students.  Enjoy!

Choose a piece of music that you love!

       Listen to the piece, one time, and write the top three things that jump out at you (instruments you hear, volume/dynamics, pattern/form, mood, etc…)

       Listen to the piece once or twice day for a couple of weeks.  Have it as background music, in the car, or sometimes more focused listening.  The more the music “gets in your head” the more ideas will come to you to share with the students.  I call that “putting it in the crockpot and setting it to simmer.”

       Determine the most important elements you want the students to listen for, and share them with the students.  Allow them to listen and demonstrate through movement or sign language, which they hear and understand.


Sample: Symphony No. 4 in G, Surprise Symphony,” Haydn


This song uses two volume (dynamic) levels, soft (piano) and loud (forte).  When you hear the music played softly, use sign language to make a letter p.  When you hear the music played loudly, use sign language to make a letter f.  Show me that you understand.”  Play the music, and watch the students pay attention for longer than you imagined possible!


A beautiful extension of this is to allow the students to create their own guided listening activity for the class.  Select a piece of music that you know the students will like or have heard before (Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons, Anything from Carnival of the Animals, or the Nutcracker Suite).  Allow them to listen and share what jumps out at them and come up with a plan for how they will show that they understand.  They could share it with another class.

Valentines Day- Revisited with NGSSS

Here is one of my favorite Valentine’s Day lessons for elementary children. I posted this back in 2012 as a three-part series. I’ve put it all hear for you today so you can have it for next week.  Although there are many NGSSS met at the K-1 level for this lesson, I’m only including those at Grade 2.  You can find the coordinating standards by swapping the grade levels. Please note, you might only choose to focus on one or two, but these can work with this lesson.

The NGSSS touched upon are:

MU.2.C.1.4 Identify child, adult male, and adult female voices by timbre.

MU.2.S.2.1 Sing or play songs, which may include changes in dynamics, lyrics, and form, from memory.

MU.2.S.3.1 Sing songs in an appropriate range, using head voice and maintaining pitch.

MU.2.S.3.4 Compare aural melodic patterns with written patterns to determine whether they are the same or different.

MU.2.S.3.5 Show visual, gestural, and traditional representation of simple melodic patterns performed by someone else.

MU.2.H.1.1 Perform songs, musical games, dances, and simple instrumental accompaniments from a variety of cultures.

MU.2.H.2.1 Discuss how music is used for celebrations in American and other cultures.

MU.2.H.3.1 Perform and compare patterns, aurally and visually, found in songs, finger plays, or rhymes to gain a foundation for exploring patterns in other contexts.

  I found an old song in a second grade Music and You textbook series. 

The words are:

When you send a valentine, that’s the time for fun! Put it underneath the door, ring the bell and run run run run, ring the bell and run! 

I wasn’t too keen on the melody that was presented with the text, it didn’t suit my curriculum or my needs so I did what all music teachers do- changed it!

The new melody is:

Sol    mi       sol    mi  fa re re,  sol, fa, mi, re, do.         Sol, mi, sol, mi        fa, re, re,  sol, fa, mi, re, do, re

When you send a valentine, that’s the time for fun! Put it underneath the door, ring the bell and run run

Mi, Fa, sol, fa, mi, re, do.

run, ring the bell and run! 

To teach the song from yesterday’s post (See Valentine’s Day) I follow the following process:

  • Warm up singing voices with echo solfege patterns.  Start with Sol, mi, la, patterns.  Add mi, re, do patterns.
  • Sing the pattern, S,F,M,R,D- practice hand signs
  • Teacher sings the song while students listen for the pattern Sol, fa, mi, re, do.
  • Teacher sings again and students must listen to the new song and add the solfege hand signs as they step down the scale.
  • Find the pattern stepping up.
  • Students sing the end of the song, Teacher sings the beginning: repeat as necessary
  • All sing the song together.

After you’ve taught the song You can  play the game! This game is a la “duck duck goose.”

  • Students sit in a circle.
  • Teacher walks on the macro beat around the circle while holding a “Valentine.”  I use a cut out of a heart or sometimes I will use a children’s valentine that they have given to me. This is the mailman part.
  • Students put hands behind their backs as if it were a “mailbox.”
  •  When the song get’s to “door” as in “put it underneath the door” the teacher slips the valentine into a child’s hand and they play a la “duck duck goose.” No matter who “wins” the student who was the chaser gets to be the new mailman.
  • The teacher sits and joins the circle but pats their lap as the mailman starts the delivery. Other students keep hands behind their backs to get a turn.  When a student has already had a turn to be the mailman they pat their lap with the teacher to reinforce beat.

Have you played this game before? Do your students love it as much as mine?