Activity #6: Major and Minor, Tempo & Style


The primary central focus is to introduce students to musical elements: tonalities (major and minor), tempo (fast and slow), and jazz style.

  • Students will respond to fast and slow, major and minor scales and explain how intent is conveyed through interpretive decisions and expressive qualities (tempo, tonalities, and style). (Mary had a Little Lamb, Jazz) (Pr4.3)
  • Students will explain, citing evidence, how selected music connects to and is influenced by specific cultural interests,  purposes, or contexts. (Shabat Shalom) (Re7.1)


The focuses of this unit are to guide students to explore self-awareness, self-management, and social awareness.

  • Students will be able to explore how children make music and how the different styles of music affect our emotional feelings.
  • Students will discover how major and minor scales in music can create different emotional reactions among human beings. 
  • Students will be able to discover how the style and tempo of music can influence their feelings and what they like and dislike.




  • Tonalities (major and minor)
  • Tempo (fast & slow)
  • Styles (Jazz)
  • Mary Had a Little Lamb (Jazz)
  • Shabat Shalom

Music: Style & Tonalities

Music is played in different scales. Now, we will play two versions of Jazz style Mary Had a Little Lamb; one faster, one slower.

  • Try to identify the four phrases in this song by showing your fingers.  

  • Do these two versions make you feel the same or different ways. Describe the similarities or differences in the way they make you feel.
  • How do you feel after listening to these two versions?
  • Did the scale (major and minor) or the tempo (speed of the piece) make you happy or sad?
  • In many cultures, playing or singing in minor scales can be happy. We do not really want to generalize how people feel by the tonalities/scales of the piece.

Katherine, can you provide a feeling chart? I like the idea.

  • For example, this song, Shabbat Shalom, is sung in minor, but not a sad song. It is a song about Shabbat Shalom. In this video, you see children singing and dancing to the music.
  • Shabbat means “May you dwell in peace" (FIRM, 2022). Shabbat happens on Friday at sundown when people start to wind down from busyness and wish each other by saying, Shabbat Shalom. Shalom is a word that is closet, meaning peace.

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Comments: 2
  • #2

    Katherine (Thursday, 14 April 2022 15:04)

    I like that there is a minor song that isn't a "sad" song. My students always relate minor sounding to sad, no matter what it is, so I think showing them that minor isn't always sad, is a good idea. I'm also wondering if within these activities where they relate the music to how they feel, it might be a good idea to have a "feelings chart" somewhere on the page? Or if not on the page, suggest to the teachers that having one might be helpful. I notice that sometimes my students don't know what emotion they would relate to the song because they don't exactly what the emotion is that they're feeling. Or they're limited to happy, sad, and angry, because they don't really know how to label other emotions yet. A feeling chart might help them identify what they're feeling.

  • #1

    Kevin Morita (Friday, 08 April 2022 16:10)

    Did the scale (major and minor) make you happy, or did the tempo (speed of the piece)?

    This question took me a few seconds to comprehend. Reformat to: Did the scale (major and minor) or the tempo(speed of the piece) make you happy?

    Today I learned that busyness is a word.