Overview: Free music appreciation and musical terminology lesson plan. After learning about common musical terminology, including piano, forte, presto, and largo, learners identify those elements in musical compositions.
Subject: Visual & Performing Arts: Music
Grades: 4th, 5th
Duration: 1 hour
Related Concepts: Music Appreciation, Music Theory
Students will be able to:
Identify common musical terminology when listening to various musical arrangements.
Essential Questions: How do the different elements of music change the experience for listeners?
Vocabulary: pianissimo, forte, diminuendo, crescendo, fortissimo, piano, adagio, presto, largo, allegro, andante
Common Core Standards Addressed:
- ELA: Speaking & Listening
- Audio recordings of musical compositions
- Whiteboard/whiteboard markers
- 3x5 index cards prepared with musical terminology
- Internet access
- Audio equipment
- Projection system
Play a short piece of instrumental music with which students are familiar. Ask if they noticed any changes in how the music was played (i.e. volume and/or speed). Explain that the class will be learning about the words that correspond to the different volumes, speeds, and emphasis placements in music.
Write the vocabulary words on the board. Explain that these words are originally Italian, but that now they are the way we explain the elements in a musical composition. Invite students to guess which words go with volume, emphasis, and speed. Invite students to guess at each word's meaning. Record their answers. Explain that they will be working in small groups (or partners if computer availability allows) to seek out the definitions of each term and connect it to a piece of music.
Use Hurry Up/Slow Down to direct the students' search. Students should work cooperatively to learn about the identified terms, following the directions on the worksheet to direct their study. Review the definitions as a class; other answers will vary.
Distribute the index cards with the musical terminology, ensure that each child has at least one card. Explain that they will be listening to a new, unfamiliar piece of music. They should pay attention for the different volume levels and speeds, remembering the online detective work they completed. When the music seems to fit their word card(s), they can hold their cards in the air; there is more than one right answer and combination of musical terms possible.
For example: when the volume increases, learners with the forte cards can hold it up. When it gets very loud, they can hold up the fortissimo cards.
If there is extra time, student may begin to complete the Italian musical terms worksheet, adding to their work as they learn more musical vocabulary.
As an exit ticket, learners write a quick explanation of their term.
- Assess completed worksheets for accuracy.
- Observe student comprehension during the card-raising activity.
Provide headphones for increased volume and distraction control.
Use a teacher or aide in small groups as needed.
Frontload vocabulary for English learners before the card activity.
Allow advanced learners to investigate more sophisticated musical concepts, including key, time signature, and musical motifs in a composition.
Students can "draw" how the music sounds for each musical term, with exemplars of each type of music played for the group.
Have learners apply their new vocabulary to the Italian musical terms crossword puzzle.