Quaver Essentials: Exploring “Long & Short Sounds”

by Abby @ Quaver on November 30, 2015

in At Quaver HQ

We are thrilled to welcome Patrick Wright to the blog today! Patrick teaches music at High Meadows School in Roswell, GA and has been a Quaverite for several years – even collaborating on the creation of our 6-8 curriculum projects!

Take it away, Patrick!



Exploring “Long & Short Sounds” in Quaver’s Essentials

My first introduction to the world of Quaver was through the supplemental program – Quaver’s Marvelous Music Essentials.

One of my favorite lessons in the Music Theory unit is on Duration (Unit 1, Episode 5)! My students love moving and playing instruments with the IWB “Long & Short Sounds.”

Let’s review how to find Quaver Essentials:

  1. Log in to QuaverMusic.com
  2. Click the Teacher Tab to navigate to the Teaching Resources
  3. Click the Quaver Essentials icon, located on the bottom of the flag pole
  4. Open the Duration classroom number 1.5

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Here’s how I unpack this concept for my students: 

1) Define Duration

Before we start the IWB activity, we review the definition of duration. As a class we come up with examples of things that have a long duration (trains going by, the school year, grandma walking to the car, etc.), and things with a short duration (weekend, summer, music class, etc.).

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2) Open the IWB Activity “Long & Short Sounds”

After discussing the definition of duration, students are ready for our IWB Activity “Long & Short Sounds.” To find this activity, choose IWB Activities on the Classroom Menu, and click on the “Long & Short Sounds” IWB.

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3) Create Motions

Using the NEXT button, we go through the different slides and discuss which pictures represent the long and short sounds. My students come up with motions for each friend: the truck driver, seal, snake, pogo stick, whale and clock. Then we press PLAY, and practice each page individually with the motions.

4) PLAY the Song

Next, we switch over to the PLAY tab, and go through the entire song to practice the motions for each friend.

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5) Teach the Chorus

Now that they’ve heard the song a few times and internalized the concept, I click the PREP tab and teach the chorus of the song. The PREP section allows you to focus on each part separately. If you press the play button at the bottom of the PREP section, the pair of friends play only their chorus. Also, make sure you click NEXT to see all the different long and short sounds. Once the students are comfortable with the chorus, PLAY the song and have them sing and do motions during the chorus.

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6) Classify Long & Short INSTRUMENTS

To dive even further into this concept, I switch over to the INSTRUMENTS tab, located at the top of the IWB, and classify the shown instruments into long sound, short sound or both. Simply drag and drop the instrument icon to the appropriate category of the Venn diagram. If possible, I try to have real instruments available to demonstrate.

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7) Divide the Class into Two Groups

Finally, I divide the class into a “long sound” instrument group and a “short sound” instrument group. Each group is assigned an instrument that represents their duration. Before playing the song, I have each group practice their part of the song. Once the students are comfortable, I PLAY the entire song and have them sing and play their instruments. The kids get really into it and love pointing to the other group while they’re playing. After several rounds, I have the groups switch instruments.

The Ultimate Challenge: See if students can play their instrument part, do the motions AND sing along, all at the same time!

Other IWB “Long & Short Sounds” Variations: 

  1. Create high/low motions
    A high motion (above the waist) represents a long sound, and a low motion (below the waist) is for short sounds.
  2. Practice drawing notes
    Pass out paper and have students practice drawing whole notes and quarter notes. During the song, have them draw a whole note for the long sounds and a quarter note for the short sounds.


Thanks to Patrick for this great lesson idea! What type of motions do your students enjoy doing for “Long & Short Sounds?”

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