My Favorite Resources for Teaching Loud and Quiet

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I don’t know about you but my first few years of teaching were about surviving.  There was no Pinterest or Teachers Pay Teachers.  There were not these online communities of music educators on social networking.  I was lucky to have a music teacher mentor in my district but, at my campus, I was completely alone.

We’ve come so far with the amount of both free and paid resources at our disposal as well access to the expertise of fellow teachers of all subject areas and grade levels.  Now, it seems, we’ve gone the other way regarding the access to resources we have.  Because there is so much, it can be hard to really dig deep to get to the best activities to teach various concepts.

I hope to cut through some of that for my overwhelmed music teacher friends with my new blog series: My Favorite Resources for Teaching (Fill in the Blank).  This series will include my personal favorite activities, songs, and videos that I use in my music classroom with my students.  These activities can be adapted to your school’s level of technology available.  I hope everyone looking for ideas will be able to take away at least one idea from each of these posts.

For my first venture in this series, see My Favorite Resources for Teaching Fast and Slow.


Here are the Texas state standards regarding loud and quiet in kindergarten.
1D: Identify same.different in louder/softer.
3E: Perform music using louder/softer.
6C: Compare same/different in louder/softer in musical performances.

Here is my scope for teaching dynamics.  It is included in “expression” but you can still see the progression.


Grizzly Bear is my absolute favorite for teaching loud and quiet to kindergartners.  This was actually a lesson I’ve used since my very first year teaching because it was in the first unit in the kindergarten Silver Burdett Making Music textbook.  I really lucked out!


This version is from so you can have access to the notation if you are not familiar with the song.  Of course, there are several ways to teach it and act it out but my favorite remains having one student be the grizzly bear in the middle of the circle and have other students “go into the cave” and quietly walk or crawl around the sleeping grizzly bear.  When the grizzly bear awakes, the students crawling around him make a run for it.  Don’t worry, they only “run” back to their spots on the rug.


Lindsay Jervis has a lesson on TeachersPayTeachers to teaching Grizzly Bear which includes an extension into teaching quarter rest.  I use that lesson with my first graders to teach quarter rest with a song they are already familiar with.  Her lesson includes worksheets and critical thinking questions to accompany the song and notation.


This find from Creative Learning 4 Kidz has been a fun way to discuss sounds as well as vocabulary with pre-k and kinder students.  I project it using the document camera so we can organize together and everyone can see.

A new addition to from Aileen Miracle using her Music of the Chippewa.


Although any study on lullabies (and their purpose) will do, the Chippewa Lullaby in this collection is especially soothing and allows for inclusion of music from diverse cultures.
(TEK K.2.B) Sing songs or play classroom instruments from diverse cultures and styles independently or in groups



“In the Hall of the Mountain King” is excellent for having students move to show changes in both dynamics and tempo.  Here is a recording in case you’re unfamiliar.


I pass out streamers for students to the music.  My streamers are literally paint stirrers with dollar ribbon stapled to them.  The kids don’t care that they aren’t fancy.  They love them.  Usually, the first time through the song, I’ll move with them and talk through the song encouraging them to respond to the music with their streamer.  When we go through it again, I’ll watch and encourage as needed.

Another listening favorite of loud/quiet is The Surprise Symphony by Haydn.  Making Music Fun has a movement activity and listening map available on their website for use with this piece.  Again, I’ve included a recording from youtube if you’re unfamiliar with the tune.  Fun fact: I played an easy-peasy arrangement of this on the piano in fifth-ish grade. 🙂



All these videos are filtered through or viewpure but you can easily get to the original youtube link by clicking on the youtube logo at the bottom of the video.

This video cracks me up every time I use it.  Specifically, I begin my loud/quiet lesson with pre-k with this video.


After watching the video, we discuss lullabies and their purpose as well as why this lullaby doesn’t work.  It is a hoot.


This above video is also from Sesame Street and is great for a discussion on audience etiquette.


One more video from Sesame Street.  This duo sings about loud and quiet as well other comparatives for the little ones (fast/slow, high/low, etc).

As students get older, you can use this video from MusicK8 to reinforce the vocabulary of forte, piano, fortissimo, pianissimo, and crescendo.  They also have a copy of this song in their magazine for teaching but I don’t know which issue.  I use this video with first grade to introduce the vocabulary terms of forte and piano.  The other terms are bonus.  🙂


Last video but this one is from Mr. Greg.




Finally, one more resource that can be used for simple reinforcement as well as assessing students’ listening of loud and quiet.  This resources is from FantasticFUNsheets.



I hope you can find something in this collection that be can be used in your own classroom.  Thanks for reading!

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One thought on “My Favorite Resources for Teaching Loud and Quiet

  1. Pingback: My Favorite Things for Teaching Found & Environmental Sounds |

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