Musical I Spy

Computer desk

Age Range: All Ages

Introduction: We will learn about musical symbols by trying to find them in a piece of sheet music.

  1. Begin with a regular game of “I Spy.”  It’s a game where you try to look for certain objects or things. Take a look at this picture and try to find the following objects:

    • Orange backpack

    • Rubber duckie

    • Ping pong paddle

    • Broken pencil

    • Violin

      Computer desk
  2. Musicians learn different symbols that tell them different ways to play music. There is a musical symbol that tells a musician to play loudly, and there’s another symbol that tells them to play fast.  Learn or review the following musical symbols:

    A chart showing definitions of musical symbols.
    Wikimedia Commons
  3. Look at the sheet music below. See if you can find each of the musical symbols from the chart above. You might point to the symbol on your computer screen or you maydownload the musicand print out the music. Circle each symbol on your printed copy.

    The Entertainer
  4. Next, play a listening version of “I Spy” by looking for and listening to some specific instruments. Look at the instruments below, practice saying their names, and imagine what each instrument sounds like. 

    A chart showing pictures of instruments.
    Wikimedia Commons
  5. Watch and listen to this short excerpt of a piece by the composer Gustav Mahler. Say the name out loud each time you see or hear one of the instruments above. Bonus points for saying additional instruments you see or hear!

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This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.

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