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Melody Map | Melodic Contour Lesson
from The Lesson Zone

Grade 2-4

Students will listen to and map the melodic contour of a familiar children's song by shaping yarn on the music classroom floor to represent the melody of the song. This lesson is designed to fulfill Standard #6 of the National Standards for Music: listening to, analyzing, and describing music.

Music for Simple Nursery Rhyme Song
6' of Yarn for Each Student

Step 1
Tell students, "Today we're going to draw pictures of a popular nursery rhyme song on the floor of the music classroom."

Step 2
Tell students, "Let's start by seeing how many of you know this song. Raise your hand if you do." Play the song you have selected.

Step 3
Tell students, "This time I would like you to show the highness or lowness of each pitch. When the notes are high, hold your hand high." Demonstrate by holding your hand high, and level to the floor. "When the notes are low, hold your hand low." Demonstrate by holding your hand low and level to the floor.

Step 4
Play the melody on the piano with one hand as you guide the class in demonstrating the highness and lowness of each pitch of the first 8 measures of the song.

Step 5
Tell students, "Let's draw a picture of this melody. I'd like you to divide into groups of two by the count of 10, and then I'll give each group of students a ball of yarn. You will use this yarn to draw this melody on the floor of the music classroom."

Step 6
Count to 10 allowing students to divide into groups of two. Give each pair of students a ball of yarn. Student groups should have sufficient space to create their listening map.

Step 7
Tell students, "Begin by laying your yarn in a straight line."

Step 8
Tell students, "I will play the first two notes of the melody. I would like you to decide if the second note is lower or higher than the first. As soon as you know, shape your yarn to show that change in the melody."

Step 9
Show students what their yarn listening map should look like so far by drawing a picture of it on the white board.

Step 10
Repeat these steps until you have a listening map showing the melodic contour of one or two phrases.

Have Fun!

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