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Musical Forms for Children

Module by: Catherine Schmidt-Jones. E-mail the author

Summary: Suggestions for helping young children recognize that a piece of music has an overall form.

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Every piece of music has an overall plan or structure, the "big picture", so to speak. This is called the form of the music.

It is easy to recognize the form or structure of something, like a cat or a leaf, if we can see it all at once. Other things, like the inside of a big building, or the structure of a government, may have to be explored before their structure can be understood. Since you can't hear a piece of music all at once, if you want to understand its form, you have to explore it by listening to it.

Some pieces of music, like a big building that is just one large room, only have to be explored once to understand their form. But other pieces are more like a building that is a maze of many rooms and hallways. These may have to be explored many times before you really understand their structure.

Here are some activites featuring simple pieces of music that can be used to introduce the idea of form to children.

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