Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Your Song

Diane Weiner


Students create an instrument to demonstrate their understanding of how the science of vibrations is used to create sounds.


The student knows that sound is caused by vibrations (pushing and pulling) to cause waves.

The student performs independently simple patterns and melodies on rhythmic and melodic classroom instruments (e.g., percussion instruments and barred instruments) and maintains a steady tempo.

The student reads simple rhythmic and melodic notation, using traditional and nontraditional symbols.

The student understands how music is related to other subjects (e.g., how vibrations, which are studied in science, produce musical sounds).


-Enough identical glasses or glass bottles; e.g., baby food jars, for each group of students to have eight
-Plastic water pitchers or jugs
-Metal spoons
-Towels or paper towels
-Teacher made song book. Suggested song titles, -Mary had a Little Lamb-, -Hot Cross Buns-, -Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star-, -Aura Lee-, -Freres Jacques- (These songs will be found in most stae adopted texbook series.)


1. Teacher must prepare the song book in advance.
2. Collect bottles, pitchers, and spoons.


Authentic Context:
You want to perform in the school talent show but you do not have an instrument and your parents will not buy you one. Your music teacher tells you that you can create your own instrument by using the science of vibrations to create sounds. Your job is to create an instrument and play it for the class so you can participate in the talent show.

1. Explain to the class that each person has an instrument at home that can be played just using water, glasses and a metal spoon.
2. Tap an empty glass with a metal spoon. Fill the glass with a small amount of water and tap the glass again. Ask the class if they noticed a difference in the pitch (higher or lower).
3. Add more water to the glass and tap the glass again. Repeat the question.
4. Explain to the class that high notes are made from fast vibrations, and low notes are made from slow vibrations. When there is a lot of water in the glass, there is less air to vibrate; therefore, when the glass is tapped, the sound has a higher pitch.
5. Divide the class into cooperative groups and distribute eight identical glasses or bottles to each group. Give each group a pitcher of water and a metal spoon.
6. Instruct the groups that they are to choose a song from the song book and, using the glasses filled with water, attempt to play the song.
7. Allow time for the students to experiment by filling the glasses with different amounts of water to establish the correct pitches for the song they have chosen.
8. Without revealing the title of the song, each group should perform its song for the class.
9. Ask the audience section of the class if they can identify the song.


Students will be assessed by the teacher during group activity work and in performance for the class using the assessment checklist.

-Your Song- Assessment Checklist

Works cooperately with others in group. Competent Not Yet

Uses time and resources wisely in group setting to Competent Not Yet
complete project on time.

Understands and uses the science of vibration theory Competent Not Yet
to create correct pitches for chosen song.

Reads melodic notation from chosen song with little or no help. Competent Not Yet

Performs chosen song for class demonstrating appropriate Competent Not Yet
performance behavior and musical accuracy.

Self- Reflection:
Describe how other subjects and music are related (e.g., mathematics and music, art and music, Language Arts and music).


Students will understand that sound is caused by vibrations after experimenting and creating their own instruments. Students will be able to read simple notation and perform a simple song on their instrument.
Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.