Pretend Xylophone

Lesson plans for Music Class

Title – Scribble Music
By – Nancy
Primary Subject – Music
Secondary Subjects – Art
Grade Level – K – 5


  • “Scribble Music” is a great early year, break time, or substitute plan. I’ve done this with K – 5 and they all have a great time (

careful, the older the student, the farther the crayons are “dropped”


  • One large piece of construction paper for each student. One large handful of crayons placed in a pile next to the paper. One engaging piece of instrumental music with a variety of tempos and dynamics OR a CD or record with several different pieces of music that you can switch between.


  • Self expression to a piece of music
  • Listening
  • Following tempo
  • Dynamics


  • Have your students find a comfortable place to sit or lie down so that the paper is nice and close to them. The crayons should be right next to the paper where they can easily reach them. ( Don’t even try to keep the crayons in a box or to have the students share a pile. )
  • Instruct your students to place an arm on the paper so that it doesn’t move when they are coloring.
  • There are only two rules to this activity:
    1. They must scribble to the music they hear. They cannot draw anything – no bunnies, no flowers, no sun, no houses, no race cars, etc. If the music moves quickly, their crayons must move quickly, and the opposite for slowly.
    2. They must do all this scribbling and listening with their eyes CLOSED!
      ( I hereby apologize for any scribble marks you may find on your floors or tabletops! )
  • Just to make the pictures even more interesting, tell them you will occasionally say: “switch!” At that time they must drop their crayon and pick up a new one – without looking! ( The switching part is loads of fun, especially if you change the amount of time between crayons! )
  • Look out for peekers!
  • Play the music and switch ( or not ) so that the students hear a variety of tempos, dynamics, and styles.
  • This activity is good for about 5 to 8 minutes at a time. When the music is over, have them open their eyes and look at their beautiful works of art. If you have them hold them up so that everyone can see each others, it’s a great demonstration of how music affects each of us differently.
  • Younger students may ask to do it again. I usually have them take their “scribble music” home and explain it to their families. I have also been known to display them in the hall in a unique fashion so that their work together becomes another piece of art work, i.e., in a fan, collage, or a backdrop for interesting photos of musicians.
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