Unit A03 – Tempo

Students should gain experience at playing fast pieces and playing slow pieces. Teachers should start to talk to their students about why music is sometimes slow and sometimes fast (character and mood).

For example, you might play a piece about a snail that should be played slowly. Once the student is confident in playing that piece, get them to think of an animal that moves quickly and then ask them to play the same piece imagining it was about a fast animal.


  • Prepare using clapping games use some of the ideas in A2 – Rhythm (link above), and change the tempo each time. Can students follow? Can the student describe what you/they are doing differently?
  • Mood and character. What is the piece about? Discuss this with your student? What do they think the title means (check they understand all the words!)? Can the student act out the story or mood in the piece? How does this relate to tempo?
  • Create your own animal flash cards, using clip art or similar. Show these to your student and ask them if they are fast/slow/loud/soft animals. Students might like to create a piece of music about an animal.
  • Check the performance directions and talk to your students about what they mean, and how they indicate the tempo.
  • Play pieces in different tempos and ask your student which they prefer. What speed comes naturally to the student? Get them to play fast piece slowly, and vice versa.