How to Teach Music Pitch to Children

Written by stacy d. cooper
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How to Teach Music Pitch to Children
Hold a sheet of music up and tell kids to look at pitch. (music notes image by jeancliclac from

Most kids aren't born capable of perfect pitch; they need to learn it. They need someone to tell them what pitch means and how to achieve it. You can do this with fun, interactive games and examples. Ask kids to think of the songs sung at church, a ball game or birthday party. Follow up by asking why the song should or should not be played on the radio. Its a simple way to introduce kids to musical pitch.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Baton- conductor
  • piano
  • xylophone
  • Blackboard
  • Chalk
  • Paper
  • Pencil

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  1. 1

    Sing a song children recognise like "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" or "If You're Happy and You Know It". After you sing it once, tell the kids you are going to sing it again and they are going to make the sound of their voice match yours. Begin slowly singing the notes to the song. If the kids need to raise the pitch of their voice to match yours, point to the sky to mimic higher. If the kids need to lower their pitch, point to the ground to mimic lower.

  2. 2

    Play the conductor game suggested by the Teaching Ideas website. Select the "conductor" and explain when the conductor raises his baton they need to sing "La" in a high pitch. When the conductor lowers his baton, they need to sing "Lo" in a low pitch. It is the conductor's job to keep the kids singing the same note until the correct pitch is found. Kids will recognise the role of the conductor is to direct and lead the musicians to the perfect pitch.

  3. 3

    Involve the kids in a pitch/exercise game. Gather them into a circle. Explain to the kids when they hear a high pitch to stretch towards the sky, for a low pitch they curl on the floor and for a medium pitch they circle their arms in front of them. Then begin striking different notes on a piano or xylophone. Allow the kids to take turns playing high and low notes.

  4. 4

    Play the scale on the piano. Sing the names of the notes as you play the keys; the notes range from A to G. This will help kids remember the names that belong to different pitches. The kids should then match their voice to the pitches.

  5. 5

    Draw pitch on a chalkboard so kids have a visual to match what they hear. Sing a note then draw it on the chalkboard. Below each note write its name. Later test kids on what they've learnt by giving them a blank sheet of paper to write the names of the musical notes you play or sing.

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