• Grade 1: Expressive Qualities (Tempo)

  • Feeling the Tempo: Presto and Largo

    Aim: How can we identify the tempo of music through movement?
    Summary: Students demonstrate the expressive quality of tempo through movement.
    Standards: US 1, 2, 5, 6; NYC 1, 2, 3
    Modality: performing, responding
    Materials: Audio Tracks, Teacher Worksheets
    Time Required: 15 minutes
    This activity is part of: Music Educators Toolbox

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  • Instructions   |   Going Deeper   |   Assessment
  • MET K Instructions Expressive Qualities
    1. Review the definitions of presto (very fast) and largo (very slow).
    2. Hold up sign for presto and repeat the word very quickly (e.g., “pres-to, pres-to, pres-to”) with the students.
      MET G1 TW Presto
      Download Teacher Worksheet:
    3. Hold up a sign for largo and repeat the word very slowly (e.g. “laaahr–gooohhh, laaahhr-gooohh”) with students.
      MET G1 TW Largo
      Download Teacher Worksheet:
    4. Have students create one or two expressive movements to demonstrate presto and largo. Guide them in performing and changing their movements as they listen to short musical excerpts.

      Suggested listening selections
    5. Discuss how these two tempos feel different.
      • How did you move to the presto tempo?
      • How does the presto tempo make you feel?
      • How did you move to the largo tempo?
      • How does the largo tempo make you feel?
  • MET K Going Deeper Expressive Qualities
    1. Ask students to share any songs they know, or that you have sung together, which have a presto or largo tempo.
    2. Choose a song with a moderate tempo that the students know well and try performing it at an exaggeratedly fast presto an exaggeratedly slow largo.
      • How did singing at a presto tempo make the song feel different from how we usually sing?
      • How did singing at a largo tempo make the song feel different?
  • Creative Commons License
    Music Educators Toolbox by Carnegie Hall is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

    Symphony No. 9 in E Minor 'From the New World', Op. 95 – II. Largo by Antonin Dvořák. Performed by the Skidmore College Orchestra. Available from Musopen. Sound files on the Musopen repository are licensed as public domain.

    Violin Concerto in D, Opus 61, 2nd movement, by Ludwig van Beethoven. Performed by the US Air Force Band. Available from Musopen. Sound files on the Musopen repository are licensed as public domain.

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