In this lesson, children experience the joy of music by watching a PINKALICIOUS & PETERRIFIC™ video excerpt from the episode Invisible Band. They listen to different kinds of music, learn about instruments and the sounds they make, create their own instruments, and organize a class marching band. See Get Smart with the Arts! for more information about how music and the arts can enhance children’s cognitive, social, emotional, and academic skills.
Two or more class periods
- Students will learn about musical instruments and the sounds they make.
- Students will create their own musical instruments.
- Students will experiment with making music.
Prep for Teachers
You probably already use music in your classroom in a variety of ways. For this lesson, you will need access to different kinds of music and a device to play the music on. To add to your own collection, check your school or public library for CDs or streaming services that you can use.
If actual instruments are not available to help familiarize children with the sounds they make, use books (see Recommended Reading List), invite area musicians (and/or family members who play) to visit, or ask the local middle or high school band to demonstrate their instruments. You may want to set up a display of pictures of instruments for reference, as well as a collection of books about music and musical instruments for browsing.
Listening to different types of music, much like listening to a wide variety of stories, encourages creativity, self-confidence, and curiosity. Learning about instruments expands children's knowledge and vocabulary. Creating their own musical instruments builds children's abilities to explore and experiment. Music and movement are also activities that help children feel part of the group. When making music together, children learn to work together as a team and feel a sense of accomplishment when they present the final product.
You may want to continue this lesson throughout the week, giving students plenty of time to listen to and learn about music before they do the activities.
- Various kinds of music (e.g., jazz, reggae, hip-hop, rock 'n' roll, country, classical, opera, marching band)
- Device for playing recordings or streaming music
- Various musical instruments (if possible, include glockenspiel, tuba, trombone, and recorder)
- Pictures of musical instruments (optional)
- Ask children what kind of music they and their families like to listen to. They may suggest titles, artists, or descriptions (fast, slow, loud). Children may also know traditional music that is sung or played at home. Encourage them to share their knowledge. Point out that there are many, many different kinds of music and instruments that are played all over the world.
- Share some key words to help categorize the kinds of music children are likely to know: rock, hip-hop, folk, jazz, classical, country, reggae. You may want to write the words on the board or a Word Wall.
1. Before watching the video excerpt
- Play as many different musical genres as you can. Make a class chart of children’s favorites.Introduce children to as many instruments as you can find. If possible, have them try them out. Help students describe the sounds by providing them with music vocabulary such as volume (loud, quiet), pitch (high, low), and tempo (fast, slow). Try to include the instruments that students will hear about in the video (glockenspiel, tuba, trombone, recorder).
- Introduce marching band music by playing some examples, such as songs by John Philip Sousa or Henry Fillmore. Ask children, How does this music make you feel? What kinds of movements could you do to this music? Ask students to experiment by moving to the music.
- Ask students to stand up and clap along with the music. Then have them march in place, keeping time with the beat. Model how a marching band might look by marching, lifting your knees high with each step. Then have children try it at their desks (or in a circle).
- Tell children that now they are going to watch a video excerpt: Making Music | PINKALICIOUS & PETERRIFIC™. Explain that Pinkalicious™ is a girl who loves to use her imagination to make all kinds of art, including music. Her brother, Peterrific™, loves to join in and bring his own fun ideas, as do their friends. (You may want to preview the words invisible and imaginary to be sure children understand the concepts.)
2. While watching the video excerpt
- Ask students to listen for the names of the instruments that the characters in the excerpt pretend to play.
3. After watching the video excerpt.
- To check for understanding, ask students to recount what happened in the video. Correct any misunderstandings.
- Review with students the instruments that the characters talked about and played in the video: recorder, rock guitar, glockenspiel, tuba, trombone. What sounds did each instrument make?
- Ask students what they thought of the “invisible band” that Pinkalicious and her friends created. Why did they call it invisible? How did it sound?
4. Class Marching Band: Activity
- Discuss with children how to create a class marching band. What imaginary instruments will they need? What do the instruments look and sound like? What marching route will they take?
- Invite children to march around the room in a line, counting off to help keep the tempo: 1, 2, 3, 4. (If necessary, have children practice moving according to directional commands, such as “Forward!” “Back!” and so on.)
- Have children choose an imaginary instrument of their own to play. (Make sure there is plenty of variety.) Choose one of your own or lead the group with an actual instrument, such as a shaker, small drum, or maracas.
- Demonstrate what it would look like to play the instrument, as the characters did in the video.
- When the children have had a chance to practice their “instruments,” have them line up and begin marching!
- When the march is over, congratulate the class on their performance.
- Send home the essay Get Smart with the Arts! so that families can support what children are learning. If you have a class website or newsletter, you may want to share with families what you've been doing and talking about in class. Encourage them to continue the conversation at home.
- In class or as a take-home assignment, distribute the Make Your Own Instrument! handout. If you choose to send the instructions home, encourage children to bring in their shakers when they are finished.
- Settle children down by reading a book about music (see Recommended Reading List) or by listening to some quiet, calming tunes.
- Play the PINKALICIOUS & PETERRIFIC™ online game, Pinka-Perfect Band. The game encourages children to try different instruments, hear their sounds, and join with the characters to play a tune.