Performance Indicators

  • Standard 1a – create short pieces consisting of sounds from a variety of traditional (e.g. tambourine, recorder, piano, voice), electronic (e.g. keyboard), and nontraditional sound sources (e.g. water-filled glasses)
  • Standard 3a – through listening, identify the strengths and weaknesses of specific musical works and performances, including their own and others\'

Instructional Idea

Student creates vocal exploration composition.

  • Teacher expressively reads a folktale that contains several examples of repetitive text (e.g.,Anansi & the Moss Covered Rock), adding props to enhance.
  • Student names repeated phrases of text (e.g., “Isn’t this a strange moss-covered rock?”)
  • Student walks around the room & experiments vocally w/melodies that fit the text. Class regroups & shares melodies. Teacher notates melodies, using iconic notation that students can understand. (Generally the melodies will be pentatonic.)
  • Student selects & sings favorite melodic composition for the text. Process is repeated for all text phrases in the story.
  • Teacher writes out selected compositions in standard notation & students use these pieces in a performance retelling the story (after much practice).
  • For PreK-K, suggested folktale is The Lovely Princess.


Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock, Eric Kimmel The Lovely Princess, Barbara Andress


Teacher uses an observational checklist to assess student abilities to create & sing melodies: + Student improvises/sings a melody that is phrase-like & can be easily repeated by self & others. v Student improvises/sings a melody that uses the singing voice but may not be easily repeated. - Student does not sing a melody but uses a speaking voice instead.


Has been used successfully in grades 1 & 2; also addresses ELA, & theater standards. This Instructional Idea also appears in Music: Resource Guide for Standards-Based Instruction, SED, 2002, p.11.