Preschool Music Lesson Plan

Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany has taught special education in grades PK-5 and has a master's degree in special education.

This lesson plan teaches preschoolers about two components of melody: rhythm and pitch. The lesson plan includes listening, singing, and using instruments as well as experimenting with pitch.

Lesson Objectives

  • define rhythm and pitch
  • copy a rhythm
  • identify a pitch as high or low


  • Approximately one hour

Curriculum Standards

Visual and Performing Arts:

Students will progress through the stages of musical growth including:

1.0 Notice, respond, and engage

2.0 Develop skills in music

This lesson plan is based on California standards for preschool education. Please refer to the standards for your state to check alignment.


  • Brief sound bites of different types of music and sound (in whatever format is most convenient for you) including instrumental music, music with lyrics, dialogue, and animal sounds
  • What is Melody? - Lesson for Kids
  • Quiz questions
  • Rhythm sticks or other rhythmic instruments
  • Several glasses, water, pitcher, fork, and towels to clean up

Instruction and Activities


  • Ask students for their ideas about what makes a sound a song.
  • Using a computer, tablet, or MP3 player, prepare a selection of sound bites (3-10 seconds). Include some dialogue, instrumental music, music with lyrics, and animal sounds. Play the sound bites for students, and after each sound bite, ask students if it was a song or not.
  • Read the section What is Melody? from What is Melody? - Lesson for Kids.
  • Replay the sound bites the students identified as songs and see if there is a melody in those sound bites.


  • Read the Rhythm section of What is Melody? - Lesson for Kids, pausing to let students try the heartbeat/jumping jack experiment.
  • Distribute rhythm sticks. Begin by playing a simple rhythm and having students join in. Then experiment with having students copy slow, fast, and mixed rhythms.
  • Give individual students a chance to play a rhythm for people to copy.
  • Optional: Play a song that is familiar to your class. Help students to find the rhythm of the song and play along, keeping a steady beat.


  • Read the Pitch section of What is Melody? - Lesson for Kids.
  • Sing a high pitch for the students, then a low pitch. Tell students when you put your hand up, they should sing a high pitch. When you put your hand down, sing a low pitch. Practice singing high and low several times.
  • Optional: Listen to the familiar song from the previous activity again. Pause the music at various points, and have students tell if the pitch they just heard was high or low.

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