Musical I Spy

Computer desk

Age Range: Elementary

Learning Objective: Students will train their musical eye as they search for symbols in sheet music.

ENGAGE students

ASK. Ask students, “Have you ever played ‘I Spy’? It’s a game where you try to look for certain objects or things. Take a look at this picture.”

Computer desk

Invite students to see if they can find the following objects:

  • Orange backpack

  • Rubber duckie

  • Ping pong paddle

  • Broken pencil

  • Violin

EXPLORE sounds

LEARN. Learn or review the following musical symbols:

Musical symbols
Wikimedia Commons

SEARCH. Look at the sheet music below. See if your students can find each of the musical symbols from the chart above. They may point to them on the board, or you maydownload the music, print it out, and have students circle each symbol. 

The Entertainer

LEARN. Next, students get to play “I Spy” by looking for and listening to some specific instruments. Ask students to look at the instruments below, practice saying their names, and imagine what each instrument sounds like. 

Wikimedia Commons

WATCH. Watch and listen to this short excerpt of a piece by the composer Gustav Mahler. Invite students to say the name out loud each time students see or hear one of the instruments above. Bonus points for saying additional instruments they see or hear!

ASK. “Which of these instruments is your favorite? Tell your neighbor one new sound you heard.”

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Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment

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

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