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Musical Expression Through Movement

Aim: How can we identify the expressive qualities of music through movement? 
Summary: Students demonstrate expressive qualities of music through movement. 
Standards: US 6, 7; NYC 1 
Modality: performing, responding, creating 
Materials: audio excerpts, student worksheet (What Do I Hear?) 
Time Required: 10 minutes 


  1. Discuss expressive qualities of music with students: dynamics (loud and soft), tempo (fast and slow), and articulation (connected and separated). Have students identify the expressive qualities of music as represented in pictures on the student worksheet.
    Download Student Worksheet: What Do I Hear?
  2. Have students create movements to demonstrate each quality. (Examples: stomp on the floor for loud; tip toe for soft)
  3. Have students add expressive vocalizations to correspond with each movement. (Examples: connected—vocal slide from do to sol; separated—staccato do-re-mi-fa-sol)

Going Deeper

Guide students in making their expressive movements while listening for dynamics (softer–louder), tempo (faster–slower), and articulation (connected–separated) in short excerpts from exemplary works.


Listening Suggestions for Dynamics

Listening Suggestions for Tempo

Listening Suggestions for Articulation


Kindergarten Activity Exemplar: Expressive Qualities

This video is an exemplar of an activity from Carnegie Hall’s Music Educators Toolbox entitled "Musical Expression Through Movement." Students demonstrate expressive qualities of music through movement.

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