Music Learning Activities Plan
Elise Moab, Melody Richfield, & Melody Sforzando
Music3824 * Spring 2003 * Dr. Priest
Postal Workers
(Canceling Stamps in Ghana)


Learning Prerequisites:

The students understand what "timbre" is. The students have experienced creating compositions. The students have had experiences in all learning modalities previously: iconic, symbolic, and enactive. Students know what a visual map is and have used them with previous songs exposed to in class.

Objectives (SWBAT):

  1. The students will describe through writing what timbres they initially hear when introduced to the piece.
  2. The students will make written hypotheses on how the music is being made.
  3. After seeing the visual maps, students will be able to associate the pictures with the music through writing down how the music is truly being made.
  4. Through class discussion and verbally sharing comments, students will be able to make comparisons of their initial reaction to the music and their reactions after they have seen pictures associated with the music.
  5. Students will be able to discriminate among the different timbres in the piece (whistling, stamping, and scissors clicking) by making movements to describe or act out each of these timbres.
  6. Students will be able to understand that everyday items can be used as instruments by creating their own accompaniment to a familiar tune with miscellaneous items they may have brought to class.
  7. Students will be able to create an original composition/arrangement with any items they choose.
  8. Students will perform their compositions for the rest of the class.


  1. Anticipatory Set: Write two questions on the board: "How is this music being made?" and "What timbres can you hear?" Tell the students to "write down answers to these questions and what you feel is being expressed." Have the students listen to "Postal Workers." Hopefully they will be captivated by this original piece of music.
  2. Present the visual maps to the students and play the piece once again."Write down answers to these two questions again, now that you have looked at these visual maps which are associated with this music. See if you can hear what is in this picture. Make comparisons with your previous answers." List on the board the specific timbres you want the students to hear: stamping, whistling, tapping letters on table, and scissors clicking.
  3. Conduct a discussion with the students. Allow students to share what they have written on their papers and what similarities and differences they have in their answers from the first time they heard the song and the second time they heard the song. As time allows, students may get in small groups and talk about their answers and initial impressions.
  4. As pertaining to the students' interest, a background may be given on the piece including where it came from, who made it, why it was made, how it was made, etc.
  5. Count the students off into three groups. Assign one group to the sound of the whistling, one to the stamping, and one to the clicking scissors. "We are going to act out the different timbres of whistling, stamping, and scissors. Create a movement to describe what you hear."Move with me as you find the sound of the whistling." "Move with me as you find the sound of stamping letters." "Move with me as you find the sound of the scissors clicking." After each group has displayed competence in their description of the assigned timbres, have the groups rotate so that each group has a turn to find each of the three assigned timbres.
  6. Have the student stay in the same groups as counted off in #5 above. " Each group will now compose a song using whatever materials she has brought to class." Show the students some ideas of what they may use. For example, books, stapler, zipper on jacket, clicking pens, their vocal chords, etc. "Everyday items can be used as instruments. You may choose a tune you already know and create accompaniment. Think of the purpose of your song and what it is expressing." Walk around and help the groups develop their compositions. Help them to know that they sky is the limit on what they may use as instruments.
  7. Closure: Allow each group to perform their compositions for the class.

The goal is to have students engage in behaviors that fall under all of the learning modalities. Some of these behaviors may fall under more than one category or modality.




The various behaviors and activities the students engage in will help them to increase their knowledge and understanding in the concepts of expressiveness, timbre, rhythm, polyrhythm (texture), and melody. Students will be given many opportunities to use careful and concentrated listening skills which will help them hear the different timbres and the intricate rhythms used in the piece to create the texture. Students will recognize melody through the distinct and prevalent timbre of the human whistling.

Students will be provided with the challenge of using extremely careful and concentrated listening. It will be a challenge for them to hear the sound of the scissors especially, but hopefully after seeing visuals of the scissors being acted out by someone who has identified that timbre, students will be able to locate that sound.Students will also be provided with the challenge of creating music out of items they have never used as instruments. Students will be challenged to get their mindset out of preconceived ideas of what an instrument is. Students will be challenged and encouraged to be creative.

The lesson will close with the students being given the opportunity to perform their compositions for the rest of the class.