Music Room Ramblings

Monday, April 27, 2015

How do you teach music vocabulary?

For me, there is no simple answer. Music understanding and vocabulary begins in preschool/kindergarten or before. It is learned as a language.

Children experience, listen to, and feel before articulating, reading, and writing. There is an important sequence to developing these concepts. For example, children experience and demonstrate with their bodies an understanding of loud/soft, high/low, fast/slow through many activities, specifically movement, using large motor skills. Begin with words that students already know and guide them in discovering their association to what they hear in music. Students are then encouraged to discuss and verbalize using age-appropriate terminology. 

As students progress in their understanding and age, music terms are introduced such as piano/forte, etc. Older students learn to distinguish and discuss the finer differences and changes in what they hear. Every aspect of what is taught in any classroom has specific age-appropriate vocabulary to accompany the understandings. Keeping vocabulary words visible on Word Walls is a wonderful way to help children develop these skills.

If teachers present concepts in a natural progression, students will easily learn how to use the terms to describe listening selections and the finer nuances. Give students many sequential and fun activities to introduce and reinforce their experiential learning. Teachers use the age-appropriate vocabulary when talking with the children and describing music. Eventually, it becomes second-nature. 

Basically, a teacher must have a plan that begins on the first day of music class in kindergarten.

I used color-coded Word Walls in my room and it was so fun for the older students to look at the K-1st grade words such as soft/loud and be proud that they were using piano/forte and easily knew the meanings, spellings, etc. 
Because I came to realize the importance of this element in the elementary music classroom, I developed a system of vocabulary cards, picture cards and games. By 3rd grade, my students were easily able to discuss and write descriptions of musical selections using terms such as tempo, accelerando, crescendo, piano, forte, tone color, etc. 

I have made these items available at my Teachers Pay Teachers store include Elementary Music Vocabulary Cards, Loud/Soft, High/Low, and Fast/Slow. These items have games and activities that will help you with these learning experiences.

Friday, April 10, 2015


I have not posted a Freebie Friday item in a couple of weeks. I have been bogged down with life. The kind of things that keep me from creating and posting. Oh, well . . .

Use "Bow, Wow, Wow" to continue teaching melodic direction.
But today I have made an item available that is also part of Unit 4, the final unit in what will be my "Lesson Plans for an Entire Year" bundle. These will be posted in early August (maybe sooner) because I will be tweaking Unit 1 and combining the INDEXES from each unit so you will have a fantastic plan for your year.

These units are educationally sound, sequential, based on the standards, full of activities, songs, games, and dances with extensive instructions for everything. If you are a new teacher, these units will give you everything you need to establish a great foundation for your music education program.

Unit 4 uses small-group projects, 2nd-5th grades, to give students the opportunity to 3 lesson plans will be available for one more week before I bundle all 35 plans into Unit 4.

You and your students will have fun playing instruments, learning great songs on the recorder, and participating in many movement and dance activities. Students are encouraged to develop their higher level thinking skills as they analyze selections of music and discuss lyrics.

Many teachers become bogged down in providing a series of fun activities that have no connection to their sequential learning experiences. With these Units, you can be assured that your students will be learning while also having fun and will be prepared ultimately for middle and high school music activities.

demonstrate the skills they have been learning all year. Students are encouraged to create, improvise, and perform for each other. The first