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Phone Number Melodies Lesson Plan

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Lesson Plan #: AELP-MUS0205
Submitted by: Abby Sabo
Email: zk155@hotmail.com
School/University/Affiliation: University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Date: January 23, 2001

Grade Level: 3, 4


  • Arts/Music

Duration: 40 minutes

Description: In this lesson, students are introduced to the C-scale. Students use phone numbers to compose melodies.

Goals: Students will be able to compose simple melodies. Students will use phone numbers and the C-scale to accomplish this task.


  • Each student will be able to write the C-scale.
  • Each student will be able to compose a simple melody by using his/her phone number.
  • Materials:

    • paper to draw scales
    • pencils
    • chalkboard
    • piano or xylophone
    • other musical instruments, such as maracas, that will be used to enhance the melodies

    Have students identify the note C on the piano or xylophone. Give several students, or all if time permits, the chance to play C. The only rule is that students must play a different C than the student before them. Inform students that there are 8 notes on the C-scale (C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C). Have several students try to play the scale up and down. The rule again is that they cannot play the same as the person before them; this will force students to use different octaves.

    On the board, make a chart of the C-scale. Assign low C the number 1, D number 2, and so on until high C is number 8. At their desks, each student copies the C-scale on a piece of paper. Students should write the numbers as they are shown on the chalkboard. 

    Play the C-scale for the students. Inform students that they will be creating melodies by using their phone numbers. Use the school’s phone number as a model. Write the school’s phone number on the board. Have students copy the phone number on another staff on their papers, using the notes that correspond with the numbers. If there is a 9 in the phone number, let students know that they can use a 1 and an 8 together. Play this phone number melody for the students on the piano or xylophone. Students follow the same format to create a melody with their home phone numbers. [Author’s Note: If a student’s phone number has a zero in it, then have students use the B below Middle C to represent the zero.]

    Assessment: Each student plays his/her phone number melody for the rest of the class. Time permitting, students can write several other phone number melodies on their own. As an extension, students can work in small groups to add other instruments to their melodies (drums, maracas, etc.). The groups can then edit their phone number melodies to make them sound better musically.

    Special Comments: This activity can also be used with math facts, using the same principle of adding numbers together when they are above 8. Math facts will create more elaborate melodies.