Five Things: Loud and Soft

One of my favorite things about teaching preschool music is that the skills we explore are very fundamental. I feel this open sup the possibility for all sorts of play-based learning and I get to do a lot of fun things with the kids. At the moment we are “working” on the concept of loud and soft, which is obviously part of our music curriculum but also integrates the concept of opposites from the preschool curriculum.

Here are five activities we have been doing to work on loud and soft:

  1. Grizzly Bear – If this doesn’t fall under the category of a classic I don’t know what does. This is a song from my Silver Burdett Making Music Kindergarten book (and most other basal textbooks, I’m sure) in which the students sing quietly about a bear sleeping in a cave, then shout the last word (“MAD!”) I love this song because when the students sing “quietly” it often is the best light singing voice I hear all year. Also it gives us the opportunity to play a really fun game. I have a large cardboard box in my room and the children take turns hiding in the box (or “bear cave”) while the others tiptoe around a circle (we stay OUTSIDE the edge of our circle carpet… otherwise they all crowd in around the box) and sing the song. At the end the students in the circle shout “MAD!” and the student playing the bear pops out of the box and roars. I get sick of this game waaaay before they do!
  2. Lullabies – Another part of my preschool music curriculum is recognizing lullabies. This honestly does not take a lot of work for most kids once I explain that a lullabye is a special song we sing to help someone go to sleep. Tying into this is number 3…
  3. Bean bag babies – After we talk about lullabies we get out the beanbags and pretend they are babies. We rock them gently while we listen to a lullabye. Then we do an activity that I got from 101 Rhythm Instrument Activities to the tune of London Bridge is Falling down
    “Little baby go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep
    Little baby go to sleep, little baby.”
    The “babies” then proceed to start to crawl, walk, run, jump, etc and we talk about how eventually babies get to be kids and being a kid is fun because you can do all sorts of things babies can’t. This is another preschool curriculum connection as one of the science curriculum objectives is for the kids to understand how people start as babies and mature through childhood into adulthood.
  4. Animal Opposites – With a 45 minute music class on a three day rotation I have a lot of time with the kids (yay!) and I confess I sometimes use a bit of it to read books. I know that there has not been a strong connection demonstrated between children’s literature and music achievement, but its an activity I like anyway. I found a great one in our library called Animal Opposites: Loud and Quiet that is part of a series. The book goes through several pairs of animals that are loud and quiet. This gives the kids a chance to make animal sounds which are good for loud and soft as well as high and low.
  5. Bert and Ernie: Loud and Soft – If you’ve never seen these Sesame Street All About Music books you need to get yourself to Amazon right now. They are very old school but the kids love them and they are fun. The stories are simple and there are LOTS of extra things in the pictures to talk about.

This turned out to be a long post for a simple 5 things. Anyone have any suggestions on more activities for exploring loud and quiet?


  1. RunSingTeach Said,

    March 23, 2009@ 8:36 am      

    The Black Snake song would TOTALLY work for loud and soft. It’s from the Beginning Circle Games book by JF. Enjoy!

  2. music teacher Said,

    March 24, 2009@ 7:39 am      

    It seems that your website has a lot of great tips and resources for music teachers. Will be following your future posts. Thanks for sharing!

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