Timbreis a musical term for tone quality. It is determined by
the material used to make the instrument and the way the instru-
ment is constructed. Children soon learn that instruments made
of metal sound different from instruments made of wood.
Tempoindicates how fast or slow the music is performed.
These concepts are explained in more detail on the specific activi-
ties in this chapter.
How can children create their own music?
Children often spontaneously make up songs, especially when
they are in a music-rich classroom. Children can use melody instru-
ments such as xylophones, glockenspiels, or electronic keyboards to
create tunes. Orff xylophones and glockenspiels have removable
bars. When teachers remove the bars labeled F and B, a pentaton-
ic, or five-note scale, remains. When two children play instru-
ments adjusted to this scale, anything they play sounds well
together. Thus, children can create music with one another or
share this experience with a teacher (see activity 5.14).
What is the teacher’s role with regard to music centers?
The teacher plans what materials to put in the center based on
her long-range goals, the interest of the children, or other aspects of
the curriculum. The teacher can encourage children to focus on par-
ticular aspects of sound through her questions or comments. At the
beginning of this chapter, the teacher directed Kevin’s and
Audrey’s attention to the sound of the coconut shells through her
comment about how they are used in the orchestra. Once interest
had abated, she used a question to encourage them to compare
the sounds produced by the various types of beaters. Suggestions
of questions to extend children’s thinking are listed with each
How can teachers avoid management problems when
incorporating music centers into the classroom?
Teachers should plan carefully for the location of the music area,
start with durable instruments, and set consistent ground rules for
the use of the instruments. The area should be located away from
quiet areas where the music-making might disturb other children.
It should also be separated from materials in the classroom that
could damage the instruments, such as food, the water table, and