Aim: How can we represent long and short musical sounds and patterns?
Summary: Students create movements to represent long and short rhythmic patterns and compose patterns using non-traditional notation.
Standards: US 1, 2; NYC 1, 2, 4, 6
Modality: performing, responding, creating
Materials: student worksheet (My Long and Short Rhythmic Patterns), listening examples
Time Required: 20–30 minutes
This activity is part of: Music Educators Toolbox


  1. Demonstrate long and short sounds by clapping or singing patterns.
  2. Have students echo the long and short patterns by using their voices and movements. (Examples: scrape for long, tap for short; slide for long, hop for short; rub hands together for long, clap for short)
  3. Have students create short rhythmic patterns using __ for long and . for short.
    Download Teacher Worksheet: My Long and Short Rhythmic Patterns
    Download Student Worksheet: My Long and Short Rhythmic Patterns
  4. Have students perform their short and long compositions using their voices, instruments, clapping, or movements. They may also choose animals to represent the short and long sounds. (Examples: “moo” for long and “quack” for short)
  5. Listen to the musical excerpts and have students use movement to demonstrate when they hear short and long sounds.
    Suggested listening selection:
    Download Audio: BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 5, first movement
    Audio download help


Creative Commons License

Music Educators Toolbox by Carnegie Hall is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67, by Ludwig van Beethoven. Performed by the Fulda Symphonic Orchestra; Simon Schindler, conductor. Available from Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under an Electronic Frontier Foundation EFF: Open Audio License, Version 1.