Teaching Intervals: The Why and the How – Part 2

In the last post the children learned to recognize notes that were the same and different and higher and lower. Now it is important to learn the musical terms for higher and lower; to label them.

  1. Label unison and octave. Once your child is reliably showing they understand same and different and higher and lower it is time to label the intervals they have been learning. Go back to playing notes that are the same and different and letting your child dance to the appropriate tones. This time instead of saying same or different for the two notes say both same and unison, and different and octave. So, if you play the octave, say that they are different and then say they are an octave.  Now when your child dances low and high have them say octave. Do the same with unison. If you play two notes that are the same (high or low) have them dance to the appropriate notes and say unison. You should be interchangeably using unison for same and octave for different until your child has learned these intervals.
  2. Higher and lower using the fifth. Fifths are just five notes in a scale (c-g) so if you don’t have the notes written on your baby xylophone, the two notes would be, counting from the longest one up, 5 notes up or a G.  Follow the same higher/lower and same/different sequences that you did with the unison and octave intervals. This time only use the fifth and unison as you do the dancing. Also, change from the stretched out dance of the octave, to having the hands out in front of them.  This gives a middle feel and helps to associate with the middle sound of the G. For the lower sound, they are still crouched down low and for the upper sound in these exercises they are dancing with their hands out in front of them.
  3. Label fifth and unison. Just follow the same directions as you did for labeling the octave and unison.
  4. Compare fifths and octaves. Once the fifth and unison and octave and unison have been mastered, it is time to be able to hear these intervals when they are played together.  Now that your child has labeled unison, fifths and octave, play them in their interval forms to practice same and different. For instance play two unison tones then an octave. Are these the same or different? Then two unisons and a fifth. Are these the same or different? Keep going with unison and one or the other intervals for same or different. (two sets of unison, two sets of fifths, two sets of octaves, unison and fifth or unison and octave). When you see that they are mastering this concept add the last comparison, fifth and octave (1 and 5, and  1 and 8). Mix all of these together until they can hear all of the intervals as well as label them unison, fifth or octave. These are complex concepts that take some time to work up. Please, be patient and always make it a fun game. Think of other ways they can show you with their bodies which interval is being played. As always, bond with your child and have fun.


Amarant Education is a music learning system that helps your child learn in the most organic way possible. Our curriculum is built with the idea of fun and unconscious learning in mind. We explore a topic, label a topic and practice a topic, before moving on to the next topic, so there is much fun and play in what we do. Our videos are interactive and our mini exercises are either singing songs or playing games or both.  These are not baby sitting videos as they require an adult to help the child learn.  We encourage the bonding time you have with your child (plus you will be able to learn music literacy also.) If you like this post, please go to our Kickstarter page to see a more in-depth explanation of our unique music teaching system. Who knows, you might want to donate to get 40% off our consumer product as well as some fun prizes.



Author: Laura Matthews, CCO Amarant Education

Degree: BME, minor English Taught Band, Elementary music and Privately

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