How to Recognize Different Sound Levels on a Keyboard. A Music Lesson Plan on Intervals for Secondary 3 Students and Its Application

Lesson Plan, 2015

8 Pages, Grade: 3.3



This lesson plan is for a secondary 3 music lesson on the topic of intervals. I will analyze the lesson plan by first explaining what are the students supposed to acquire after the lesson (learning outcome), and then how learning activities are planned to achieve the learning outcomes, and finally the assessment tasks designed to monitor students’ progress in achieving the learning outcomes and enhance memory retention.

Learning Outcome


According to the Dick & Carey Systems Approach Model, the first thing to do in designing instruction is to identify instructional goal, that is, to decide what knowledge students are supposed to acquire (Instructional Design Central, 2012). To decide the learning outcome, we have to first be familiarized with the background of the lesson and their prior knowledge.

Background of the lesson

This is a secondary 3 Music lesson learning about intervals, in the music theory realm. The four lesson on interval covers the topic from easy to difficult, step by step. In each lesson, 1 new concept is introduced based on the prior knowledge they have learnt in the previous lessons, and the new concepts are number property of interval, quality of interval, composing music using intervals (as a review lesson for the difficult concepts in lesson 2) and inversion in intervals respectively. The class contains normal students, not high or low achievers. The class is expected to be held in a music room in which every seat has an electronic keyboard.

Prior Knowledge

Prior knowledge is required to learn the more difficult concepts in lesson 2. Before lesson 2, students have already known about the pitch of different notes, and the location of different notes on the staff when they are secondary 2. In the first interval lesson, students are introduced to the number property of interval, that is the distance between two notes, for example, 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc. They have also been informed the correct attitude to appreciate music when they are secondary 1.

What are students expected to learn?

Gagné identified five major categories of learning: verbal information, intellectual skills, motor skills, attitude and cognitive strategies (as cited in Ho, 2013). For verbal information, students are expected to be able to name the five types of interval quality, i.e. augmented, major, minor, diminished and perfect. For Intellectual skills, students should be able to distinguish different interval qualities aurally and point out what interval qualities are heard. For motor skills, students should be able to produce different interval qualities on the keyboard by using their hands. For attitude skills, students be able to sshow patience when appreciating music from the theoretical angle. There is no learning objective related to cognitive strategies.

Students are expected to remember the names of interval quality and understand the aural difference between sound qualities. Therefore, only the first two levels (remembering and understanding) of the Bloom’s Taxonomy on the learning domain are involved because the students are only introduced to the concepts for the first time, and they are only normal students, not exceptionally smart (Clark, 2015a).

Students are expected to patiently learn music theory and appreciate the beauty of different interval combinations (responds to phenomena). The objective is at the ‘responding to phenomena’ level of Bloom’s Taxonomy on the affective domain because they have already been told about the correct attitude to music appreciation in secondary 1 when they learnt about different types of music, but it is difficult for junior secondary students who are not music lovers to internalize the value of appreciating music through theory (Clark, 2015b).

Students are expected to learn how to produce different sound qualities using the keyboard. It is at the guided response level of Bloom’s Learning Taxonomy on the psychomotor domain as students already have experience in using the keyboard to produce the sounds of different notes in secondary 2 (so they already have had the readiness to play the keyboard in the way the teacher instructs), but still cannot have basic proficiency of playing the keyboard (since they are not trained as keyboard players but only learners using keyboards to learn the music fundamentals) (Clark, 2015c).

Learning Activities


My lesson plan is also set according to Gagné’s nine events of instruction (further details can be found in the appendix). Each event, however, is also designed according to psychological theories, and I will now explain how this is done. This section will talk about the first four events, related to learning activities.

Gain attention

People remember information better that is humorous (Badli & Dzulkifli, 2013), so the first activity involves playing a song from HK Golden Music Channel (高登音樂台), as pop songs from this channel are of irony and mockery, which is funny. However, not many teenagers are fond of this channel, but they usually pay attention to the pop chart, as from observation in my secondary school days. As people remember things that associate with themselves more, in the first activity, the No.1 song from the RTHK Chinese Pop Chart, which most teenagers pay attention to, would also be played, to make them think that inversions are closely related with the music they listen daily (Mandernach, n.d.).

Stimulate recall of prior knowledge

Prior knowledge is needed for students to be able to learn about intervals. Piaget suggests very often, dealing with a new object or situation needs an existing schema (as cited in McLeod, 2015). This is called assimilation. Teachers should help students remember important schemas, so they can be retrieved better. Spaced repetition is one way to help (Lexxica, 2015; Trinity College Dublin, n.d.). Only when information are rehearsed can they become long term memory, which cannot be forgotten and is also easier to retrieve (Trinity College Dublin, n.d.). As location of notes on the keyboard, pitch of notes, and number property of interval are important schemaa for further learning in music theory (as well as in this lesson), the 2nd and 3rd activity is planned as a chance for space repetition to make students remember the information better.

Inform objectives

In the 4th activity, inform objectives is to give an overflow of the concepts they would learn in the lesson and their relationship, so that they can be prepared for acquiring the new knowledge and understand them better in the lesson.

Present material

Materials are presented using graphs so that verbal information can be organized (Ho, 2013). When introducing each interval and its quality, teacher would play the interval on the keyboard so that not only visual learners can learn well, but also aural learners (Learning Styles Online, n.d.). The presentation is then followed by a stimulus, as students have to associate them the intervals with public figures provided by the teacher, which teenagers often pay attention to, so they can be motivated to learn.

After the break, another direct instruction is given on how to play different intervals on keyboard. Breaking down direct instruction into smaller parts allows better memorization brought by primacy effect and recency effect (Ciccarelli and White, 2015). If not broken, only the beginning and the end of the instruction are well-remembered, whereas broken up, the beginning and the end of both sections can be well-remembered.

According to Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development, junior secondary students should be at the formal operational stage, and they can use abstract reasoning (Ciccarelli and White, 2015). However, not all students develop in the same pace and some may still find intervals difficult to understand, which is audio rather than visual. Presenting the location of intervals on keyboard is to help these students better understand the concept by visualization.



The purpose of assessment is to know how well students acquired the learning outcomes, and thus, teaching plans can be adjusted according to situations. Through assessments, students can also practice and be more familiarized with them. The last five events of Gagné’s nine events of instruction are related to assessments. Assessments can be divided into three types, guided practice, independent practice and extended practice. My lesson plan also has these three types of practice among the last five events.

Guided practice

According to Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development, some skills are too difficult for a person to learn on its own but reachable if there is guidance, which is called scaffolding (McLeod, 2012). After direct instruction, students are left alone practice playing the intervals while the teacher would walk around to provide necessary guidance, for those who find it difficult to play the intervals or understand the concept of interval without guidance. For the practice section on the‘singing in heart’ method and the group competition on naming intervals, teacher also gives guidance to students who cannot answer correctly.


Excerpt out of 8 pages


How to Recognize Different Sound Levels on a Keyboard. A Music Lesson Plan on Intervals for Secondary 3 Students and Its Application
Education University of Hong Kong  (Department of Curriculum and Instruction)
TLS2004 Effective Teaching & Positive Classroom Learning Environment
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
recognize, different, sound, levels, keyboard, music, lesson, plan, intervals, secondary, students, application
Quote paper
Kwan Lung Chan (Author), 2015, How to Recognize Different Sound Levels on a Keyboard. A Music Lesson Plan on Intervals for Secondary 3 Students and Its Application, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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