If you have a class set of triangles, here’s a list of musical activities you can do with pre-k and kindergarten. This is especially helpful when teaching music during COVID if you aren’t allowed to sing or if you only want to hand out one instrument per lesson. You could do triangles with one class, and jingle bells or shaker eggs with others.
“Triangle Song” by Little Baby Bum
This song is useful for incorporating what students may be learning in math. It explains the shape of a triangle and compares it to real-life objects. There’s no mention of the instrument but at the end of most of the phrases, there are 3 notes where students can hit their triangle three times. They can count “1, 2, 3” as they hit their triangles, and if they want an extra challenge, they can try to hit each of the 3 sides as they count. If they need some practice using their triangles, go through the song without the beater and have them touch the triangle sides with their finger.
The song is set-up like a guessing game, so you can introduce it by asking them to guess the shape you are thinking of. Students can tell you things that have a triangular shape like a mountain or a kitten’s ear. You can also draw two objects on the board like a slice of pizza, or a donut and ask them which one is the triangle.
“Five Little Triangles” by Lynn Kleiner
As with my other lists, this list wouldn’t be complete without a track from Lynn. I recommend her Music Rhapsody training if you can take it. This rhyme is similar to “Five Little Pumpkins” and features some musical opposites like slow/fast and long/short. There’s also an example of beat and rhythm versus at the end.
“Triangle Song” by The Kiboomers
Here’s another song for teaching the shape of a triangle. Students can tap their triangles on “1, 2, 3.” For “up, down, and across,” they can slide their beaters up one side, down the other, and across the bottom. I would definitely practice this one with a finger before using the beater because they may get flustered by the tempo. The form of the song is:
- V1: 1,2,3 sides a triangle…
- V2: Up, down, and across…
- V3: One piece of pizza…
- V4 is a combination of the first three verses.
- Repeat V1-4 with children’s voices.
For verse 3, tap as you did in verse 1, or make it extra challenging by having students step up, down, and across as if mapping a triangle shape on the floor. Draw a triangle on the board and point out the steps in order to help them visualize it.
“Triangle Trap Solo” by Isaac DaBom
This is a triangle solo that showcases dampening the sound while playing a fast rhythm and timbre changes from playing with the hand on and off the metal. It would be a good tie-in to talk about the science of sound. I hold the triangle nearby students’ ears (not too close), give it a strike, and tell them to raise their hand when the ringing stops (this also works really well with finger cymbals). If they are listening carefully, they will hear ringing even when students farther away hear nothing. Ask a student to put their fingers on the triangle after you strike it again to stop the sound. You can further demonstrate with a large drum as most students will be able to see the head vibrating. Here’s a video where I placed shaker eggs on a drum, you could use anything from folded paper tents to a metal necklace. Another fun way to experience sound vibrations is to play music on your stereo, place an inflated balloon on the speaker, and have students feel the balloon bumping to the beat of their favorite song.
“Triangle vs Violin: REPLY! @TwoSetViolin” by Isaac DaBom
TwoSetViolin apparently disrespected the triangle community with this video! Here’s Isaac’s reply which features some fun triangle techniques. Before showing the video, ask students to think of different ways they can play their triangles. Tell them to think about ways to use the beater, how to create different timbres, dynamics, etc. List on the board the different ways they’ve come up with. Play the video and see how many of the techniques were included in the video. This could also work with your older students.
“Shapes Freeze Dance Song” by The Kiboomers
I always like to end with some dancing. Here’s one a shape-themed freeze dance. Kids draw the shapes in the air, but to help them out, I draw the shapes on the board first. Then, I pass a pointer to a student who runs up and traces the first shape. While everyone freezes, you can pass the pointer to a new student. The shapes in order are square, circle, triangle, rectangle, heart, and diamond.
I hope list is useful if you are in need of a handful, or just one triangle song. If you are looking for more Preschool and K activities, you can find them in my shop!