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Learning Resource Type

Learning Activity

Four Kinds of Voices - Sing, Speak, Whisper, Shout

Subject Area

Arts Education




In this activity, students identify the four different kinds of voice (sing, speaker, whisper, shout) using the poem "The Giant's Shoes".

This activity was created as a result of the Arts COS Resource Development Summit.

    Arts Education (2017) Grade(s): KG - Music


    Demonstrate awareness of expressive qualities that support the creators’ expressive intent.

    Unpacked Content



    • Steady beat
    • Long/ Short
    • One and two sounds per beat
    • Silent beat
    • High and low
    • Pitch set: So, Mi
    • Musical alphabet
    • Accompaniment/ no accompaniment
    • Like and unlike phrases
    • Echo
    • Speak, sing, shout, whisper
    • Solo/ Group
    • Unpitched percussion
    • Flute, trumpet, violin, piano
    • Loud/ Soft
    • Fast/ Slow
    • Age-appropriate audience and performer etiquette

    Essential Questions

    EU: Performers make interpretive decisions based on their understanding of context and expressive intent
    EQ: How do performers interpret musical works?

    Skills Examples

    • Demonstrate same and different (e.g., fast/slow, loud/soft, high/low and long/short).
    • Demonstrate a steady beat and maintain it while performing.
    • Sing using head voice and appropriate posture.
    • Play a variety of classroom instruments, alone and with others, and demonstrate proper technique.
    • Create a wide variety of vocal and instrumental sounds.
    Reading/ Writing
    • Explore connections between sound and its visual representation.
    Responding/ Evaluating
    • Move to music of various and contrasting styles, composers and cultures.
    • Demonstrate audience behavior appropriate for the context and style of music performed.

    Anchor Standards

    Anchor Standard 4: Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.


    Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    Students will demonstrate awareness of expressive intent through the identification and justification of the four different kinds of voices in a poem.

    Activity Details

    This lesson assumes that students have prior knowledge of the four different kinds of voices - sing, speak, whisper, and shout.

    Begin by teaching students to sing the refrain of the poem. "Left, right, tie them up tight." The tune is Sol Mi Sol Sol Sol Mi. You can hear the notes here. However, you may sing any tune you want just make sure it is simple and easy to remember. 

    Add motions. I have my students stomp left, then right, then roll hands like they are tying shoes.

    Tell students that you are going to read a poem using the four different kinds of voices and they are going to sing their tune after each line. Review the four different kinds of voices if needed.

    Read the poem, "The Giant's Shoes". You can find it here. When speaking as the narrator, use your speaking voice. When the Giant speaks, use your shouting voice. When the Shoeman speaks, use your whisper voice. After each line, lead students in singing the refrain twice.

    Ask students about the voices they heard. Ask them which character used each voice, and why they think the character had that kind of voice. For example, they might say that the Giant has a shouting voice because he's very big. They usually identify shouting and whispering quickly. You may have to ask them who they think was using the speaking voice. They will typically point out it was you. Use this opportunity to explain what a narrator is. You may have to ask them who was singing. They will typically reply that they all were singing.

    Assessment Strategies

    Assessment Strategies

    Informally assess students' knowledge of the four different kinds of voices through oral questions and observation.

    Variation Tips

    You could easily add rhythm instruments to the piece for students to play on the refrain.

    Background and Preparation

    Background / Preparation

    Teach students about the four different kinds of voices. Learn refrain of the poem. Print or project a copy to read,