Changing Tempos

Changing Tempos

Renee Bond
[email protected]
Tiverton Elementary Schools

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:





General Music


Sequencing Program


40 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Students are familiar with the musical element “TEMPO”and that tempo can change during a musical selection.
Students have sung the Czechoslovakian Folk song “Stodola Pumpa” which has a slow A section and a faster B section.
Students also accompanied the song using percussion instruments and rhythms appropriate for the 2 different sections.
Students listened to and evaluated tempo changes in Brahms’ “Hungarian Dnace No.6”.

NAfME Standards of 1994 Addressed:

NAfME Standards of 1994: Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
NAfME Standards of 1994: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.

NAfME 2014: Performing 

NAfME Standards of 1994: Composing and Arranging Music within specified guidelines.

NAfME 2014: Creating 

NAfME Standards of 1994: Listening to, analyzing and describing music.
NAfME Standards of 1994: Evaluating music and music performances.

NAfME 2014: Responding 


Silver Burdett & Ginns’ World of Music Grade 3 books and cds.
12 computers with sequencing program.


Students will sing a song with an accelerando.
Students will listen to and discuss a piece of program music with accelerando and ritardando.
Students will work in pairs to alter the tempo of a piece of dance music with the sequencing program.(2 to 5 alterations)
Students will evaluate and discuss the altered examples.


1.(5 min) Attendance and sing the review song “Stodola Pumpa” on page 74. Students will identify the A & B sections and define tempo from teacher guided questions.
2. (15 min) Teach the new Czech. Folk song “Dancing” on page 76. Discuss the tempo change, helping students to discover that tempo can gradually change (the B section accelerates). Then have students listen to Villa-Lobos’
Brasileiras No. 2, “The Little Train of Caipira”.
As they listen ask “Where do you think the train is now?”
Leaving the station = accelerando
Traveling throught the countryside = steady tempo
Entering the next station = ritardando
Discuss how altering the tempo helped to tell the story or paint the picture of the train.
3. (10 min) Play a downloaded piece of dance music from the sequencing program and ask a few students who know the dance to dance while the rest of the class listens and watches. (“The Electric Slide”, “Cotton Eyed Joe”, “The Bunny Hop”….your choice)
Explain to students that they are to work cooperativly with a partner to enter at least 2 but no more than 5 tempo changes to the dance tune. (Teacher will demonstrate the process with a nursary rhyme on her computer)
4. (10 min) Choose 2 or 3 student examples to be played for the class while students try to dance to them.
Discuss how tempo changes for dances don’t really work unless you have different dance movements for the different tempos. Have the students save their work and continue listening to the examples next class.


Through teacher guided questions see that students understand that a piece of music can have different tempos for different sections or can gradually alter a tempo using accelerando and ritardando. This can add to the expressive nature of a piece. A line-dance needs a steady tempo more than expressiveness!
Students followed directions by making only 2 to 5 tempo alterations with the sequencing program.

Follow Up:

Sing the review song “Dancing” and accompany with percussion insrtuments during the B section which has an accelerando.
Teach a dance with different moves for different sections which have different tempos.

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