Unit A5 – Dynamics

For Unit A5 students should learn about piano and forte markings and symbols. They should discover how to make loud and soft sounds on the piano and include them in their pieces.


  • Explore different dynamics at the piano by making up a story about animals (e.g. tigers = loud and mice = quiet) or use a well known fairy story or nursery rhyme to create a sound story. This works especially well with very young students who may be focussing more on musicianship than piano technique (due to their size!)
  • Use picture flash cards to inspire students to think about how different things sound. For example, a busy city or a quiet beach. Which is loud and which is quiet? Ask your student to make those sounds at the piano.
  • Discuss how we make sounds on the piano. You might look inside the piano and see what’s going on. Depending on the student you could explain the actual mechanics and physics of how the sound is made and what we need to do to change it.
  • Playing individual notes loudly or softly. For example, ask your students to play all the Ds up and down the piano softly or loudly. Ask the student to explain what they have to do to make loud or soft sounds.
  • Aurally identifying soft and loud sounds. Play some soft/loud sounds on the piano and ask students to tell you if it was loud or soft. You can ask them what sort of animal makes a soft/loud sound, or if they can think of anything that makes a soft/loud sound (e.g. an aeroplane, or the wind).
  • Changes in soft and loud sounds. Play some soft sounds then some loud sounds (or vice versa). Ask students to somehow identify when the sound changes. For example, students could put their hand up when the sound changes, or using big movements for loud sounds and small movements for soft sounds. You could also swap over, so your movement controls their sound (or their sound controls your movement).
  • Add dynamics to pieces they are working on (especially where there are no given dynamics). Discuss the character of the piece (what is the title?) with your student and get their opinions on the dynamics.

This is also a good opportunity to get students thinking about loud and soft sounds within the context of character and composing. Students could create a piece using notes/rhythms they have learned or make ‘soundscapes’ based on a particular impetus you have given them (e.g. an elephant or a mouse, a dark night etc.)


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Stage A Signs and Symbols Quiz 
A variety of signs and symbols from stage A to be identified by the student, including piano and forte symbols.