Engine, Engine Number Nine: Exploring Melodies and Ostinatos

Engine, Engine Number Nine: Exploring Melodies and Ostinatos
Kathy Kampa-Vilina

Students have been learning about melodies--singing, playing, writing. They've also learned when there is no melody. 


What is melody? How do we show melody with our bodies? Can we sing a melody? Can we play a melody? What are some famous melodies? How can we communicate melodies?

Grade One students have been learning a lot about melody.  They have been learning and using solfege hand signs to show the pitches do, re, mi, so, la. They’ve been learning many songs that have a limited range of pitches, so that they can sing and play them.  To connect with their HWEO UOI on Celebrations, they sang and played “Love Somebody.”

To connect with their HTWW UOI on Transportation, students are learning a version of the song “Engine, Engine.”  They have learned how to play the melody and learned to recognize the repeated melodic patterns. In addition, students learned how to play an ostinato, a harmonic pattern that supports the melody. The ostinato often provides the steady beat and repeats after four beats.

Students are currently creating their own ostinatos using train line names. This will make their own 4 to 8 beat pattern. They’re using unpitched instruments to play their patterns.

You can see students from 1B here.

Here are 1A students sharing their work with each other.

  • Grade 1
  • Music

More from the Seisen PYP Specialists