Working creatively with sound

Learning Intentions

  • We are learning to explore a variety of vocal and body sounds.
  • We are learning to explore a range of instrumental sounds.
  • We are learning to create sound effects to accompany our stories and rhymes.

What to look for

  • Pupils enjoying music-making activities
  • Pupils understanding the effect of making loud and quiet sounds
  • Pupils understanding the effect of making fast and slow sounds
  • Pupils understanding the effect of making long and short sounds
  • Pupils understanding the effect of silence
  • Pupils understanding the effect of high- and low-pitched sounds and voices
  • Pupils understanding that sounds can form patterns
  • Pupils performing simple musical patterns
  • Pupils using a range of tuned and untuned instruments in a variety of ways
  • Pupils making decisions for themselves
  • Pupils choosing appropriate instruments and sounds for an activity

Learning Activities

Focus on allowing the pupils to use their voices and bodies to explore different sounds:

  • loud and quiet;
  • fast and slow;
  • long and short; and
  • high and low.

Help them to create sound patterns and further develop their awareness of sound and silence. Focus on exploring contrasts between sounds, for example:

  • loud/quiet, e.g.
    • shout/whisper;
    • clap/tap;
    • stamping feet/tip-toeing;
    • bicycle/motorbike;
    • pneumatic drill/tin opener; and
    • mouse/elephant;
  • fast/slow, e.g.
    • running/walking; and
    • running tap/dripping tap
  • long/short sounds and silences, e.g.
    • alarm clock/doorbell;
    • filling a kettle/a river rush downstream;
    • giant steps/tiny steps (through movement); and
    • different fireworks: whooshing rockets/short blast of bangers;
  • high/low, imitating sounds in the environment, e.g.
    • fire engine;
    • ambulance;
    • church bells;
    • rumbling traffic; and
    • bird song;
  • high/medium/low voices, e.g. in
    • Goldilocks and the Three Bears;
    • Jack and the Beanstalk; and
    • Rumplestiltskin;
  • sound patterns:
    • long, short sounds;
    • quiet, loud, louder; and
    • a train journey: a train speeding up and getting louder, then slowing down and getting quieter;

You could use Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a stimulus to talk about machine sounds.

Allow the pupils to use a range of tuned and untuned percussion and other instruments. Encourage them to explore a variety of sounds and perform these in response to symbols, for example:

  • loud or quiet, e.g.
    • banging or tapping a drum; or
    • clashing cymbals or brushing them with a soft drum stick;
  • fast or slow, e.g.
    • playing a glockenspiel quickly to represent running up the stairs, and slowly for walking down the stairs; or
    • beating a drum slowly to represent an old man walking, and playing a quick drum roll for a young boy running;
  • long or short, e.g.
    • blowing a recorder or tin whistle to recreate bird sounds; or
    • playing a snare drum and bass drum to represent fireworks;
  • high- or low-pitched, e.g
    • playing a glockenspiel for church bells; or
    • playing a bass xylophone for rumbling thunder.

Choose a suitable story, poem, scene or theme that could incorporate different sound effects. Have the pupils illustrate it by using their voices, bodies and instruments to express mood or atmosphere. For example, they could:

  • accompany stories, rhymes and poems such as:
    • Little Red Riding Hood; and
    • The Gingerbread Man;
  • use poetry to describe the feelings of:
    • an evacuee; or
    • a person in a haunted house;
  • select a theme and create suitable sounds for it, such as:
    • the emergency services;
    • birds;
    • the countryside;
    • the seasons;
    • the circus;
    • transport;
    • animals; or
    • the seaside;
  • select sounds in response to a stimulus such as:
    • a picture;
    • an event;
    • a journey; or
    • a story.