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Feel the Music


Students will learn terms that describe music, they will move to music, and express themselves with paint while listening to music.


Part 1 -- Experiencing Music Terms

  • Various musical instruments
  • Music Prompts (pdf)
  • Music Chart
  • CD/cassette player
  • Variety of music

Part 2 -- Move to the Music

  • CD player
  • Variety of music
  • Open movement area

Part 3 -- Music through Art

  • Painting trays
  • Construction paper
  • Finger paints
  • Wet wipes
  • Paint shirts
  • CD/cassette player
  • Variety of music

Additional Resources


  • Five Ugly Monsters, by Tedd Arnold
  • If You're Angry and You Know It! Cecily Kaiser; ISBN 043972998


The following CDs are great for teaching dynamics, duration & pitch.

  • Return to Snowy River Part II, by Bruce Rowland
  • DVORAK Symphony No. 9 "From the New World" Symphonic Variations
  • Tchaikovsky 1812 Romeo and Juliet -- Fantasy Overture, by Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Mr. Holland's Opus, by Michael Kamen
  • Dr. Jean and Friends CD
  • Dr. Jean: Keep On Singing and Dancing CD
  • Dr. Jean: Sing to Learn with Dr. Jean CD
  • Jim Gill Songs Moving Rhymes Modern Times CD
  • Jim Gill Sings the Sneezing Song and Other Contagious Tunes CD
  • Jim Gill Sings Do Re Mi on his Toe Leg Knee CD
  • Greg & Steve: Kids in Action CD
  • Greg & Steve: Kids in Motion CD
  • Greg & Steve: Playing Favorites CD
  • Greg & Steve: Fun and Games
  • Stephen Fite: Havin' Fun and Feelin' Groovy CD
  • Stephen Fite: Watch Me Move CD


  • Thinking About Art: Encouraging Art Appreciation In Early Childhood Settings, Young Children (2001)

Background for Teachers

Music can greatly affect feelings and emotions. Music is an effective medium through which educators can teach children how to identify and express ideas. Music is a language of sound. Music is linked to all other ways of knowing. Educators can focus on music experiences that build skills and understanding, self-esteem and creative thinking skills. Teachers need to understand music terms (e.g., dynamics, pitch, and duration).

Intended Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate a positive learning attitude.
2. Demonstrate responsible emotional and cognitive behaviors.
3. Communicate clearly in oral, artistic, written, and nonverbal form.

Instructional Procedures

Invitation to Learn

Have students listen to a compilation of music with different dynamics. Discuss how the music affected them. Did it make them sleepy, jumpy, etc.?

Part 1 -- Experiencing Music Terms

Instructional Procedures

  1. Explain that with music we can describe sounds in terms of dynamics (loud/soft), pitch (high/low), and duration (long/ short: fast/slow).
  2. Show the students the music prompts for each term: loud-- lion, soft--mouse, high-arrow pointed up, low--arrow pointed down, long--long snake, short--inchworm, fast--rabbit, and slow--turtle.
  3. Practice using prompts. Choose students for each term. As the class listens to music, help children recognize the different terms within the music. Let several students participate.
  4. Choose a familiar song and practice listening for the music terms while singing.
  5. Introduce the Music Flower Chart, explaining that the flower will grow when they demonstrate each music term. Practice.

Music Flower Chart: Half of regular poster board, cut "hot dog style," blue and green yarn two feet of each, a large flower (about 18 inch diameter) drawn on cardstock or poster board and cut out. Make a hole towards the top of the poster board. Put one end of the yarn through the hole and tie the two pieces of yarn together with a small knot. Next measure one of the colors straight down. That is where the bottom hole needs to be. Tie the second knot in the back of the poster. When finished, one side should have green yarn and the other side should be blue. Make the holes big enough to allow the yarn to pass through with ease.

Part 2 -- Move to the Music

  1. Invite the class to move to an open area and allow the students to move to the same piece of music.
  2. Discuss the way music makes them feel and invite them to move to the music is a way that shows an emotion.
  3. Allow students to experience emotions through music.

Part 3 -- Music through Art

  1. Explain that the last activity will be experiencing music through body and mind.
  2. Give each child a tray with construction paper or finger paint paper and pass out paint shirts.
  3. Tell the students that they will be listening to music with the lights off. They need to finger paint to the music.
  4. Turn the lights on and have each child share his/her picture describing a few feelings experienced.

Finger Paint Recipes

  1. Liquid laundry starch, tempera paint for color, a few drops of non-detergent liquid soap.
  2. 1 c. cornstarch, 4 c. hot water, 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin, 2 c. cold water, 1 c. detergent.

    Dissolve cornstarch with 1 1/2 c. cold water. Soak gelatin in 1/2 c. cold water. Add cornstarch mixture to hot water. Cook on medium heat till thick, stirring continually. Blend in gelatin and detergent till dissolved. Store in fridge.


  • Writing experience about the feelings the music evoked.
  • Listening Center with a variety of music to listen to. Provide paper, crayons, and pencils.

Family Connections

  • Send a note home asking parents to think of their favorite songs or a family song. Ask if they could write it down or record it for the class.
  • Send a Music Experience Bag home with a mixture of songs for the entire family to experience and ask the student to explain about what he/she learned.

Assessment Plan

  • Experiencing Music Terms--An assessment for this could be the use of the Music Flower Chart. Assess with Music Prompts. Make four sets / one for each table, pass them out. Ask students to hold up the correct Music Prompt while the children listen to music.
  • Move to the Music--A visual assessment might be best during the movement activity.
  • Music through Art--An observation during the activity with questioning afterwards about the experience would be a helpful and quick assessment.


Research Basis

Snyder, S., (1999), MusicSmart, Fort Worth, TX.

This research finds that music can help children use emotional states to regulate their lives, and that this skill can be learned. Music reorganizes the brain for effective listening. Singing enhances cognition. Music activates multiple memory pathways to improve chances for retention and recall.

Jensen, E., (1998). Teaching with the brain in mind. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

In his research, he states that the collective wisdom from real-world experience, clinical studies, and research support the view that music has strong, positive, neurological system wide effects.

Created: 06/25/2007
Updated: 02/04/2018