4. Mary had a little lamb

This lesson dives into the concept of melody and teaches your first song on the recorder: Mary had a Little Lamb.





Instructional Video and Vocabulary

Melody is the tune of a song. Melodies are usually made up of a series of notes or pitches that form a musical shape. The notes in this shape may go up or down, move in steps or leaps and sometimes stay the same. Today you’ll learn your first melody on the recorder, Mary had a Little Lamb.

The dynamics of a song describe how loud or soft it is. The musical term for loud is forte and the musical term for soft is piano. As you learn melodies such as Mary had a Little Lamb, experiment with changing the dynamics.

In music, a step is when the melody moves either up or down to its next neighbor note, for example moving from B to A or from G to A. Can you find some musical steps in Mary had a Little Lamb?

In music, a leap is when the melody moves by a big jump either up or down, for example from G to B or from G to B. Leaps can be tricky to play, so we’ve started with a melody that doesn’t have any leaps.

The tempo of a song describes how fast or slow the speed is. The musical term for fast is presto and the musical term for slow is largo. Try playing melodies with different tempos and see how that can change the mood of a song.




1.0 Artistic Perception
Listen to, Analyze, and Describe Music
1.4 Describe music according to its elements, using terminology of music.

2.0 Creative Expression
Apply Vocal and Instrumental Skills
2.2 Use classroom instruments to play melodies and accompaniments from a varied repertoire of music from diverse cultures, including rounds, descants, and ostinatos, by oneself and with others.

3.0 Historical and Cultural Context
Diversity of Music
3.3 Sing and play music from diverse cultures and time periods.

4.0 Aesthetic Valuing
Analyze and Critically Assess
4.1 Use specific criteria when judging the relative quality of musical performances.
​Derive Meaning
4.2 Describe the characteristics that make a performance a work of art.

5.0 Connections, Relationships and Applications
Connections and Applications
5.1 Identify and interpret expressive characteristics in works of art and music.
Careers and Career-Related Skills
5.4 Evaluate improvement in personal musical performances after practice or rehearsal.

• MU.CR.2.4b. Use notation to document personal or collective rhythmic, melodic, and simple harmonic musical ideas (e.g. chords).
• MU.CR.3.4b. Present the final version of personally or collectively created music to others and explain their creative process.

• MU.RE.7.4a. Explain how music listening is influenced by personal interest, knowledge, purpose, and context.
• MU.RE.7.4b. Demonstrate and explain how musical concepts and contexts affect responses to music.
• MU.RE.8.4a. Demonstrate and describe expressive attributes and how they support creators’/ performers’ expressive intent.
• MU.RE.9.4a. Apply teacher-provided and collaboratively-developed criteria to evaluate musical works and performances.

• MU.PR.4.4aDemonstrate and explain how the selection of music to perform is influenced by personal interest, knowledge, purpose, and context
• MU.PR.4.4c. Read and perform using notation (e.g. syncopation).
• MU.PR.4.4d. Demonstrate an understanding of musical concepts (e.g. physical, verbal, or written response–understanding of musical concepts and how creators use them to convey expressive intent).
• MU.PR.5.4b. With an appropriate level of independence rehearse to refine technique, expression, and identified performance challenges. –
• MU.PR.6.4a. Perform music with appropriate expression, technique, and interpretation.
• MU.PR.6.4b. Demonstrate performance and audience decorum appropriate for the occasion.

• MU.CN.10.4b. Describe the roles and impact various musics plays in one’s life and the lives of others.
• MU.CN.11.4a. Explore and describe relationships between musics and other content areas (e.g. dance, visual art, dramatic arts, literature, science, math, social studies, and language arts).
• MU.CN.11.4b. Describe how context (e.g. social, cultural, and historical) can inform a performance

Creativity and Innovation

  • Elaborate, refine, analyze and evaluate their own ideas in order to improve and maximize creative efforts.
  • Develop, implement and communicate new ideas to others effectively.
  • Be open and responsive to new and diverse perspectives; incorporate group input and feedback into the work.
  • View failure as an opportunity to learn; understand that creativity and innovation is a long-term, cyclical process of small successes and frequent mistakes.

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

  • Use Systems Thinking: Analyze how parts of a whole interact with each other to produce overall outcomes in complex systems.
  • Make Judgements and Decisions: Reflect critically on learning experiences and processes.

Communication and Collaboration

  • Articulate thoughts and ideas effectively using oral, written and nonverbal communication skills in a variety of forms and contexts.
  • Listen effectively to decipher meaning, including knowledge, values, attitudes and intentions.
  • Use communication for a range of purposes (e.g. to inform, instruct, motivate and persuade).
  • Demonstrate ability to work effectively and respectfully with diverse teams.
  • Exercise flexibility and willingness to be helpful in making necessary compromises to accomplish a common goal.
  • Assume shared responsibility for collaborative work, and value the individual contributions made by each team member

Flexibility and Adaptability

  • Incorporate feedback effectively.
  • Deal positively with praise, setbacks and criticism.
  • Understand, negotiate and balance diverse views and beliefs to reach workable solutions, particularly in multi-cultural environments.

Initiative and Self Direction

  • Set goals with tangible and intangible success criteria.
  • Balance tactical (short-term) and strategic (long-term) goals.
  • Be Self-directed learners: Go beyond basic mastery of skills and/or curriculum to explore and expand one’s own learning and opportunities to gain expertise.
  • Reflect critically on past experiences in order to inform future progress.

Leadership and Responsibility

  • Guide and Lead Others: use interpersonal and problem-solving skills to influence and guide others toward a goal.
  • Leverage strengths of others to accomplish a common goal.
  • Inspire others to reach their very best via example and selflessnes.
  • Be Responsible to Others: act responsibly with the interests of the larger community in mind

Social and Cross-Cultural Skills

  • Interact Effectively with Others: know when it is appropriate to listen and when to speak.
  • Work Effectively in Diverse Teams: respond with an open mind to different ideas and values.
    Productivity and Accountability

Productivity and Accountability

  • Manage Projects: set and meet goals, even in the face of obstacles and competing pressure.
  • Produce Results: Demonstrate additional attributes associated with producing high quality products including the abilities to: work positively, manage time and projects effectively, multi-task, participate actively, collaborate and cooperate effectively with teams, respect and appreciate team diversity, be accountable for results.