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Musical Mapping—First and Second Endings

Aim: How are first and second endings used in music?
Summary: Students explore first and second endings by singing and moving.
Standards: US 1, 5, 6, 7; NYC 1, 2, 3
Grade: 3rd
Concept: Form
Artistic Process: responding
Materials: Teacher Worksheet
Time Required: 15 minutes


  1. Hang road signs with arrows and musical symbols around your room that read Start, First Ending, Second Ending, and Stop.
    Download Teacher Worksheet (PDF)
  2. Play, sing, or improvise any song with a first and second ending. Lead a few students around the room, singing and following the arrows while others watch. Repeat (rotating students) and stop at each sign to prompt the rest of the class:
    What do you notice about the song when we get to this point? What comes next? Where should we go?
  3. When students are comfortable with the route, first with direction and then on their own, point out and discuss the symbols on the signs.
    • These are road signs for musicians. They tell us where to go in our music.
    • What visual clues does each symbol tell you about what to do in the music?
  4. Try again with a different song with first and second endings and prompt students to figure out where to go on your classroom highway!

Going Deeper

Compose a short class composition with first and second endings.


Grade 3 Activity Exemplar: Form and Design

This video is an exemplar of an activity from Carnegie Hall’s Music Educators Toolbox entitled “Musical Mapping—First and Second Endings.” Students explore first and second endings by singing and moving.


Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

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