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Ascending/Descending Melody

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Lesson 4

Demonstrating Pitch: Ascending, Descending Melody


  • 1.2 Read and perform simple patterns of pitch.
  • 1.3 Identify ascending/descending melody.
  • 2.2 Sing age-appropriate songs from memory.
  • 4.2 Create developmentally appropriate movements to express pitch


  • How do I use music in daily life?
  • How do I use symmetry, pattern, rhythm and form when creating music?
  • How do I communicate ideas and moods when creating music?
  • How do I act, move and perform differently when I create alone or in a group?
  • What skills and vocabulary do I need to create and appreciate music?
  • What do I know about music from different cultures?
  • How do I use cooperative skills and concentration to create appreciate and interpret music?
  • What do I need to know to analyze, compare and contrast musical works?


  • Students will demonstrate understanding of pitch by identifying melody patterns using manipulatives.
  • Students will identify ascending/descending melody patterns by creating a melody map outlining melodic direction.
  • Students will create movements to demonstrate ascending/descending melody.


  • "Contre Danse" (page 291, CD 4:33)
  • "Going Over the Sea" (page 315, printed words, CD 6:55)
  • "There Came to My Window" (page 292, CD 6:12)
  • "A Shepherd Song" (page 336, CD 7:29)
  • "Head and Shoulders, Baby" (page 12,, CD 1:10)
  • CD Player
  • Unlined paper and pencils

Words to know:

  • melody: a series of musical notes arranged one after another
  • ascending: going up the scale or higher in pitch
  • descending: going down the scale or lower in pitch
  • phrase: a musical idea comparable to a sentence or a clause in language
  • refrain: a section of a song that repeats after each verse


  • McGraw-Hill Share the Music Teacher's Guide, Grade 2
  • McGraw-Hill Share the Music CD Set, Grade 2

WARM UP (Engage students, access prior learning, review, hook or activity to focus the student for learning)

  • Children sit in rows.
  • Teacher plays "Contre Danse" (page 291, CD 4:33).
  • Students listen for melodic phrase that repeats throughout the song (e.g., Section A).
  • Discuss the sections and structure of the song (e.g. Section A, Section B, Section A, Section C,Section A, etc.).
  • Replay and have students stand each time Section A occurs.
  • Ask students to share the ideas they found in other subjects that compare with melodies that go up and down.

MODELING (Presentation of new material demonstration of the process, direct instruction)

  • Teacher plays "Going Over the Sea" (page 315, CD 6:55).
  • Students listen for the melodic phrases and rhyming words.
  • Discuss phrases and refrain. (e.g., "Going over, going under, stand at attention...")
  • Have students read the words, clarify and discuss meanings.
  • Replay and have students sing the refrain (Note: Play first three verses only)
  • Replay and teacher moves hand up and down on the refrain to show ascending and descending melody.
  • Students mirror hand movements.

(Note: Play number of verses needed for students to practice)

  • Teacher explains that when the melody goes up it is ascending, and when it goes down, descending.
  • Write ascending and descending on the board, chart or word wall, with arrows pointing up and down.

(Note: Teacher may also write a series of quarter notes that ascend and descend).

GUIDED PRACTICE (Application of knowledge, problem solving, corrective feedback)

  • Replay "Going Over the Sea".
  • Have students sing verses and sing and move their hands to show the ascending and descending melody during the refrain.
  • Distribute paper and pencils.
  • Explain that students will listen to a song and draw a map of the melody.
  • Teacher draws an example on the board (e.g., a continuous line, series of dashes, or quarter notes that ascend and descend).
  • Teacher plays "A Shepherd Song" (page 336, CD 7:29).
  • Have students listen only the first time.
  • Replay and have students draw their listening maps.

(Note: Replay song as necessary until students complete their maps.)

  • Ask students to show their maps to the class.
  • Teacher plays "Head and Shoulders, Baby" (page 12, CD 1:10).
  • Have students listen for the action of the song.
  • Discuss song and have students create movements that reflect action.
  • Replay and have students move and sing.

DEBRIEF & EVALUATE (Identify problems encountered, ask and answer questions, discuss solutions and learning that took place, did students meet outcomes)

  • Discuss the ways that a melody can move.
  • Ask students if they can think of another way a melody moves (e.g., it stays the same).
  • Review ascending, descending melody.
  • Ask students to demonstrate how they showed ascending and descending melody.
  • Discuss whether melodies always have to be ascending and descending. Why or why not?

EXTENSION (Expectations created by the teacher that encourage students to participate in further research, make connections, and apply understanding and skills previously learned to personal experiences)

  • Ask students to draw melody maps for songs they hear during the week.
  • Students may use quarter, eighth and half notes in their maps.