Elementary music lesson plans that teach your students how to improve their internal sense of pitch 


If you’re an elementary music teacher you might be looking for an easy elementary music lesson plan you can use to teach your students how to improve their internal sense of pitch. In this Minute on Music session, PBS Kids celebrity SteveSongs introduces elementary students to the concept of audiation and shows them how they can use it to practice singing a song any place, any time.

Meet PBS Kids celebrity SteveSongs

If you’ve never heard of SteveSongs before, read his bio here and check out a few PBS Kids programs like Curious George and Clifford the Big Red Dog. On these shows, you can enjoy SteveSong’s original interactive songs that reinforce the day’s curriculum theme incorporating great songs for the elementary music class! Now we’re bringing SteveSongs to your elementary music classroom with a video curriculum kit that includes elementary music lesson plans!

Minute on Music: Improve Your Internal Sense of Pitch with SteveSongs

Video curriculum:

  • Teaching Artist Bio
  • Perform
  • Minute on Music: Audiation

Music teaching apps and music teaching resources:

  • Editable Google Slides
  • Self-Grading Quiz (music Google classroom)
  • 5+ music activities for the classroom
  • National Art and Common Core Standards
  • Summative and Formative Assessments

Music teaching apps and tech tutorials:

  • SeeSaw
  • Kahoot
  • FlipGrid

Elementary music lesson plans are ideal for Grades 1-3 and can be used for 3+ robust 30 minute learning sessions.

**The lyrics to the song Brush, Brush, Brush might be ideal for Grades 1-3, but this Minute on Music: Audience Engagement video will show your 4th and 5th graders how they can use a song game to engage with their audience—essentially how they can become Steve on stage. It’s both challenging and engaging!!! For best results, purchase with the BUNDLE!** Preview the Elementary Music: Minute on Music Bundle to see what’s included!

elementary music

Get paid to test out our elementary music teaching resources

Become a member to access elementary music curriculum kits FREE through DonorsChoose. Membership opens twice a year. You can join a Focus Group year-round and get paid to test out our resources. Get on the waitlist today!

SteveSong on how to improve internal sense of pitch

Check out the video component of these elementary music lesson plans. The transcript to the video is listed below. Sign up for our focus group to get paid for testing out our curriculum!

Minute on Music: Audiation Transcript

Hey, everybody! Welcome back to…A Minute on Music!

Have you ever sung a tune in your head?

Well, there’s actually a musical term for that.

It’s called Audiation.

Dog: Au-di-a-tion

That’s right, and it means singing in your head.

So when we audiate something, we’re singing it. We’re just not singing it out loud.

Dog: Au-di-a-tion

Can you audiate that? Huh? Can you sing that in your head?

Dog: Hmmm… Yeah, I just did.

Ooh, great!

Audiation is a technique that we can use to help us develop our internal sense of pitch.It’s also a great place to practice–any place, any time.

Dog: Oh, yeah, like on the bus on the way to school. You could be practicing a song without making a peep. Or in the line at the bank–boring. With audiation, you can be rocking out with your favorite band.

That’s true. I actually have a song called Brush, Brush, Brush that I like to use for an audiation game.We learn the chorus and then sing it multiple times, each time taking out more and more words until finally we’re able to audiate the whole thing. It’s a pretty fun game. 

It’s also a great way to practice–

Dog: Au-di-a-tion

Thanks. And thank you. I can’t wait to see you next time for  A Minute on Music.


Musicality Now Podcast, Podcast Episode 81: About Audiation

If you’re looking for even more information about audiation, check out the Musicality Now podcast on YouTube. We’ve even included excerpts of the podcast transcript for a quick read.

Musicality Now Podcast Transcript Excerpts

Today I wanted to talk about…the importance of forming a vivid “mental model” of music *before* you play it. This is something we teach a lot at Musical U, though it’s actually only recently that we’ve been turning it into a full-on training module. 

The word we use for it is “audiation”, which simply means to imagine hearing music in your mind. That word was coined by Edwin Gordon, known for his “Music learning theory”, which was mentioned and recommended by past guest Donna Schwartz…

Auralising = Audiation

You might also hear it called “auralising”, and although those two words, audiation and auralising may sound technical, it truly is no more complicated than imagining music in your mind. It’s the musical equivalent of visualisation, you’re just trying to vividly imagine the thing in your mind. We all do it, every day, any time a song pops into your head on purpose or by accident. If I ask you now to take a moment and think of your favourite song, or the theme music from your favourite TV show – I’ll stop talking, see if you can hear that music in your head.

Were you able to hear it? You just audiated! When you first start, it will probably be a bit fuzzy and you may not remember the music very well. But with practice you’ll be able to conjure up really realistic musical renditions in your mind’s ear. So you see, you don’t need to learn to audiate. But it does take practice to get good at it.

Why would you want to do that? Well, audiation is a seriously powerful tool to have in your toolkit as a musician and music learner…In fact there’s a great way to make this even more effective, called “Mental Play” – we’ll talk about that on a future episode. So audiation can help you practice, even when not at your instrument. How does that work?

Benefits of Audiation

Well there are a few big benefits of audiation, each of which has a positive knock-on effect to how well you’ll play when you return to your instrument.

  • The first is that audiation is clearly very closely related to musical memory. 

The more vividly you can conjure up a rendition in your mind, the better you are remembering that music. When you gave it a try a moment ago you might have found that it started off easy but then you realised you couldn’t remember the words, or you weren’t quite sure about the notes or rhythm, or you found you had no idea what instruments were there apart from the prominent melody part. So practicing audiation helps you develop your musical memory and that benefits you throughout your musical life, beyond just the obvious use case of performing without needing written music.

  • The second reason audiation helps you practice is that it forces the brain to really understand what’s going on in the music. 

It’s easy when performing from written music to think you know what’s going on, but sometimes we gloss over a lot of details, or for example there’s the singer in a choir who does a great job of singing their own part – but ask them to audiate the music and they’ll find they have literally no idea what the other singers are singing. Practicing audiating a piece of music makes you really dig into what’s going on and whether you are truly aware and understand each aspect of the music.

  • And the third reason is the impact it has on the musicality of your performance. 

This was what Gerald Klickstein and Sharon Mark-Teggart were referring to, that to play music in an expressive way, in a musical way rather than a robotic way, you must have the music inside you first. And that means being able to imagine what you want your performance to sound like *before* you play it…

So to a large extent audiation is the core of musicality. Yes there are lots of external skills we want to learn and develop to let us express musical ideas in the world. But before that we need our ears and our brain to have understood the music we’ve heard or the music we want to hear, and that lies in your musical imagination and the ability to audiate.

As I said earlier, one of the wonderful things about audiation is that you don’t need to be taught it. Yes, there are pointers and resources that can help accelerate your learning, hence our new training module, but fundamentally it’s something you simply learn by doing. So challenge yourself this week to try audiating something every day.

How to audiate every day

Pick a song and see how thoroughly you can conjure it up in your head and how much of it you can play back in your mind…At first you’ll probably just have a fuzzy idea of the main melody and maybe not the whole song, but day by day you can add instruments, add sound quality, add detail and precision, until you have a really realistic playback in your mind’s ear. Take this skill to the music you’re working on too, and I promise you’ll see a big impact. 

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