Here’s a different approach to teaching tempo and dynamics; one that I’ve been using and improving over the past ten years. It’s a great way to get the students thinking critically and aesthetically about dynamics and tempo.
In the packet is a series of “flash cards” covering these two elements. On each card are the Italian term, a numerical equivalent or graph, and a picture to get across its meaning.
The idea is to introduce the concepts of tempo and dynamics through the use of aesthetic analogy. From the earliest grades, students can discuss all of the variations of these expressive elements easily by assigning various descriptive equivalents. The beat isn’t just fast or slow, it moves like a snail, or a turtle; a race horse or a cheetah! Young students get excited making creative choices when they make these comparisons. Gradually, as the students age, the Italian terms on the signs and cards are introduced and used just as often and their descriptions.
The cards come in standard index card sizes (3x5, 4x6 etc) as well as 7.5 x 10. They can be used to decorate your room as well as be held by the students to shuffle and discuss.
• Students will know a definition of dynamics and tempo
• Students will know that dynamics and tempo in music contribute to the expressive quality of a selection
• Students will be able to define tempo and dynamic terminology
• Students will be able to describe variations of tempo and dynamics in music and how they affect the mood of a song
• Students will be able to identify these symbols in written music and determine to use them in performance to add to the expressive nature of a selection
• Students will be able to make appropriate dynamic and tempo choices to create expressiveness in music
• Students will be able to recognize, identify and respond to various dynamic indications in written music and identify their meaning.
• Students will be able to recognize, identify and respond to various tempo indications in written music.