Music Elements and Math- Tempo

Tempo is the speed of music.  Here, it is really easy to see the mathematical connections.  Fastness and slowness are mathematical ideas that we can explore fully with children through music.

Consider the song “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”.  First we sing it slowly..

Head Shoulders

Head, shoulders, knees and toes

Knees and toes.

Head, shoulders, knees and toes

Knees and toes.

Eyes and ears and mouth and nose.

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,

Knees and toes.

Next, we sing it fast…speeding up the tempo.

Then, we sing it super fast…. so fast that the kids can’t really keep up (they think this is very funny).

Finally, we sing it super slow….so slow, that is sounds like it is in slow motion (also funny).

Be sure to use the mathematical vocabulary words like “tempo,” “slow,” “fast,” and “super fast.”  Talk to the children about the “speed” of the tempo and ask for ideas from them about songs they can sing fast and slow.

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