Barlines, Measure, and The Staff
In this lesson, students will identify and describe the elements of a musical staff.
- Identify a single barline, double barline, measure, staff, and time signature.
- Describe the purpose of a single barline, double barline, measure, staff, and time signature.
- Illustrate the elements of a musical staff.
- Illustrate note values on a musical staff.
National Core Arts Standards
Music Anchor Standard 2 Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
Music Anchor Standard 4 Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.
Visual Arts Anchor Standard 2 Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
Common Core State Standards
RI.3.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
RI.4.1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
RI.5.1 Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
Students should have some knowledge of note values. Teachers should review the lesson resources, media, and websites prior to launching the lesson. Students with disabilities may benefit from Adaptive Movements in this lesson.
- Smartboard, chart paper, pencils, drawing software (optional)
- PRESENTATION: Barlines, Measure, and The Staff
- VIDEO: “Make Me a Pallet”
- BrainPop: Time Signature
- Play the song “Make Me a Pallet” on slide 3 of the presentation, Barlines, Measure, and The Staff. Have students listen along and clap on beats 2 and 4 with you. Ask: How does clapping correlate with the speed and rhythm of the song?
- Ask: How do musicians know what beats to play on their instruments? Allow time for students to share their responses. Explain to students that understanding the elements of a musical staff is key to learning how to play music accurately, but also helps you develop the ability to one day write original music.
- Display the musical staff for “Make Me a Pallet.” Ask: What structural features do you notice about the Staff? Allow time for students to share their observations. Tell students they are going to examine each component of the Staff: double barline, single barline, measure, and time signature.
- Display slides 4 and 5 of the presentation, Barlines, Measure, and The Staff. Have students observe the two images. Ask: What is similar and what is different? Review the definition of the double barline and the single barline.
- The double barline is located at the beginning of a phrase and at the end of a phrase.
- The single barline divides a musical staff into measures.
- Display slides 6, 7, and 8 of the presentation, Barlines, Measure, and The Staff. Have students observe the measure, staff, and time signature images. Review the features and definitions with students:
- The Measure is the space between two Single Barlines.
- The Staff is a set of five parallel lines and the spaces between them.
- The Time Signature tells you how many beats there are within a measure.
- Tell students they are going to illustrate the parts of a music staff. Using an interactive board or chart paper, model for students how to illustrate a music staff, including a single or double barline, the equal spacing between the five parallel lines, and the time signature for the song “Make Me a Pallet.”
- Distribute paper, pencils, rulers, or drawing software with a tablet or computer device. Allow time for students to illustrate a music staff. Facilitate the room to provide feedback on students’ work.
- Have students share their illustrations with the class and engage students in a discussion. Ask: How does constructing a music staff through illustration help you better understand each element?
- Review note values with students. Model for students how to illustrate and place each note value on the staff. Have students add the note values to the song “Make Me a Pallet” on the music staff they illustrated.
- Assess students’ knowledge of the elements of a music staff with an oral or written assessment. Ask: What are the four key elements of a music staff? Describe the purpose of a barline, measure, staff, and time signature.
Used with permission. Portions of this work are based on the National Core Arts Standards Copyright © 2015 National Coalition for Core Arts Standards/All Rights Reserved – Rights Administered by SEADAE.
© Copyright 2010. National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. All rights reserved.
Louis Ford, Curriculum Developer and Music Artist Liaison
JoDee Scissors, Content Producer
Meredith Sharpe, Adaptations Writer