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STACCATO vs.

LEGATO
Grades: 2-3 Concept: -Staccato: played or sung crisply; detached -Legato: played or sung smoothly and connected Objective: Students will learn about 2 Italian terms used as expressive elements in music: staccato, legato. Students will demonstrate their understanding of the concept through a game involving an instrumental solo. National Standards: -Performing solo on instruments -Listening to and analyzing music -Expressive elements Materials: -Piano -Music samples (Mazurka No. 24-Legato; Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks-Staccato) -Writing board & writing utensil Learning: (Preparation: have music samples ready to go before you begin the lesson. Arrange your space so it is enables free movement for the entire class.) 1. (about 1 minute) With students seated on the floor, prompt a quick discussion of the concept by asking the students if they know any Italian words. Responses may include: Mama mia! Ciao! Fettuccine Ask the students if they know any Italian words to describe music. 2. (1-2 minutes) Introduce Legato by writing the word on the board. Have the students listen to you say the word and ask them to repeat it a few times emphasizing the Italian accent. Tell the students that when composers and musicians share their music, they have special words they like to use to describe how to play the sounds. Legato is one of those words. Tell students when they see the word Legato it means sounds are played or sung smoothly. Ask the students to tell you about things in nature that are smooth. Examples may include: fish, wind, water, etc. 3. (1-2 minutes) Ask students to stand-up in their spots giving

themselves plenty of room to move their bodies freely. Tell the students to listen to the music and play the first music sample: Mazurka No. 24. Ask them to imitate a living thing that moves smoothly while listening to the music. Examples: swans on a lake, birds in flight, etc. Once the musical piece is over, have students sit back down. 4. (1-2 minutes) Introduce Staccato by prompting a quick discussion of the concept by asking the students if they know the opposite of smooth. Hopefully, a student says sharp! Explain that composers may use the word Legato to tell musicians that they want smooth sounds but use another word to describe sudden sounds. On your board, write the word Staccato. Have the students listen to you say the word and ask them to repeat it a few times emphasizing the Italian accent. Ask your students if they know of anything in nature that moves suddenly. Examples may include: hopping rabbits, deer, woodpeckers, etc. 5. (1-2 minutes) Ask your students to stand-up in their spots. Tell the students to listen to the music. Play the second music sample: Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks. Ask students to imitate living things that move quickly and suddenly. Once the musical piece is over, have students sit back down. 6. (1-2 minutes) Ask students to listen to the notes you play on the piano. Play a C major tetra-chord legato. Then play a C major tetra-chord staccato. Ask the students to describe the difference between the sounds they heard. 7. (about 1 minute) Explain to the students that they will have a chance to demonstrate their skills on the piano with their new terminology. Divide the group into two lines with the first person in line at the keys of the piano. Both lines should have an equal amount of students. You should have two lines facing the piano, one up at the high end of the keys and one at the low end. One line is the Staccato Team and the other the Legato Team. 8. (2-4 minutes) All students will play a C major tetra-chord but depending on what team they are on, will play it either smoothly or suddenly. For staccato, it helps to explain to students that the keys are so hot that when they touch them they no sooner press them down then they are forced to pull their fingers away quickly. Students will pull their fingers away saying, Ouch! For legato, students can pretend their hands are smoothly creeping, crawling spiders. (You can easily turn the assessment into a game by telling the students the line that finishes playing their musical piece and returns back to their seated positions fastest wins! It might be fun to record the sounds and giggles to play later.)

Assessment: Visual and aural assessment. Are students participating actively? Are students able to differentiate between staccato and legato? Are students able to translate the concepts to playing music? Do they move their bodies accordingly?