This activity you can do as a center, in small groups or as a whole class. For the center activity, you will need listening center equipment, which can be expensive, so opting to do this as a whole class or in small groups makes sense! The goal here is to take the skill of identifying long and short and to put it in the “real world”. We’ve been exploring long and short movements, sounds and objects to help solidify the concept, but what does it sound like in a piece of music? Click below to find out!


  • Students will identify the long sounds in a piece of music


  • Music, preferably one that you have been working on and is familiar to them
  • CD player or any device to play music (…or you can play it, if you would like J)
  • Print out of words for those that can read


  1. Review meaning of long and short
    1. It helps if you use hand gestures to distinguish between long and short sounds. I move my arms in a continuous circle for long sounds and fist bursts into a stretched out hand for short sounds.
  2. Sing piece of music that you have chosen
    1. Our church choir is singing Mungu Ni Mwema With God Is So Good By Mark Burrows
  3. Play again and ask kids to listen to it, rather than sing it
    1. Ask kids to put in their detective ears and to listen for the really long sounds
  4. Tell kids you are going to play it again, but this time kids can:
    1. Raise their hands when they hear a very long sound (for those that can’t read)
    2. Circle the word that has a very long sound (for those that can read)
  5. Play it a fourth time (and as many times after that as you would like) for kids to be able to check their work.
  6. For kids that are having a hard time, I used the hand gestures to “show” the sound. This helps solidify the concept for all learners.


  • Did students identify the correct long sounds by either raising their hands or circling the correct word?


  • Once kids have gotten the hang of it, you can ask kids to raise their hands when listening to new music or for the old favorites that you sing throughout the year!