Grade: Elementary
Subject: Music

#2049. Recognizing High and Low Pitch

Music, level: Elementary
Posted Sat Dec 2 11:38:30 PST 2000 by Carly Solazzo (
IUP, Indiana, USA
Materials Required: Pictures of objects that illustrate high (sun, cloud, airplane...) and low (grass, flowers, worm...)
Activity Time: 15-20 minutes
Concepts Taught: Pitch in Music


Students should be aware that the term for high and low sound is pitch and that music, voices, and the
sounds that surround the children every day are all made up of varying pitches. The students should also
be able to classify a sound as having a high or low pitch after listening to an excerpt.


As a result of this lesson, students will be able to:

1. Distinguish a high pitch from a low pitch.
2. Demonstrate high/low pitch recognition by creating contrasting movements to high and low music.
3. Use instruments to represent the characters and their voice pitches in The Three Little Bears.

Lesson Activity


Pictures of objects that illustrate high (sun, cloud, airplane...) and low (grass, flowers, worm...).
"Epona" and "Boadicea" by Enya
"The Deep" Northsound--Song of the Ocean and "El Condor Pasa (If I Could)" by Simon and
3 instruments to represent high, medium, and low pitch--triangle, tambourine, and drum
The Three Bears by Paul Galdone


A. Introductory Activity

Display the high and low pictures and ask the students if they can find any similarities between
any of the pictures. Discuss that the pictures show some objects that are found high up in the air and
some that are found down low to the ground. Explain that in music there are high and low sounds and
they are called the pitch of music.

B. Principal Activity

1. Ask the students to come up with ways that they could use their whole body to show the
high and low sounds in music. Lead them to stand tall on tiptoe and reach for the sky for high and to
squat down low to the ground for low.

2. Tell the students that they are going to listen to four different excerpts of music and that
when they think the pitch is high they should stand on tiptoe and when they think it is low they should
crouch down to the ground. The whole class could do the movements together or the students could do
them in groups. Compliment the student's success with their contrasting movements for the high and low

3. Tell the students that music is not the only thing that has high and low pitch--our voices do
too. Tell the students to think about their parents and ask them who usually has the higher pitched voice?

C. Concluding Activity

Introduce the students to the story of The Three Bears and ask if anyone is familiar with it.
Tell the students that the three members of the Bear family have very different pitched voices. Discuss
with the students the differences between Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Little Bear's voices.
Read the story to the class, emphasizing the different pitched voices of the characters. Invite
the students to repeat certain lines with you, giving them the opportunity to use high, medium, and low
pitched voices. This book can also be made into a sound story. The students would choose instrument
based on their knowledge of the high and low sounds of the character's voices and of the instruments. An
example would be to use a triangle for Little Bear, a tambourine for Mama Bear, and a drum for Papa
Bear. The students would play the instrument for one beat each time they spoke in the story.


The students would be informally evaluated on their ability to distinguish between high and low
pitches and to create body movements to represent each. They will also be evaluated on their
participation during the book activity.