Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Which One is Forte and Which One is Piano?

Anissa Sanz


In order to know if your students know the difference between forte (loud) and piano (soft), this is a good assessment lesson to do. The students have fun and are tested on what they have learned at the same time.


The student uses simple vocabulary and phrases to identify familiar objects and concepts from other disciplines.

The student knows a simple music vocabulary (e.g., fast, slow, loud, and soft) to describe what is heard in a variety of music styles.


-[Share the Music] CD’s (up to grade 3)1998. New York, NY. McGraw-Hill School Division
-2 different colored construction papers with the word Forte on one color and the word Piano on another. (must have enough for the entire class to have one each).
-an appropriate player, i.e. CD or cassette
-8 different song selections that is distinctly either Forte or Piano.


1. Have construction paper in two different colors; one color for Piano and the other color for Forte. Write Piano and Forte on the construction paper you have chosen for the words.
2. Have a selection of songs that clearly show the differences between Forte and Piano. Here are some song selections, for example, from the [Share the Music] series by McGraw-Hill:
Grade 1 disc 1 track 7 (forte), Grade 2 disc 2 track7 (forte), Grade 2 disc 2 track 32 (piano), Grade 2 disc 2 track 18 (piano), Grade 2 disc 2 track 30 (piano), Grade 3 disc 6 track 19 (loud), Grade 3 disc 6 track 1 (forte), Grade 2 disc 2 track 42 (soft).
3. A seating chart or grade sheet that has each student’s name to write (+) for a correct answer and (-) for an incorrect answer.


1. Review with students what Forte and Piano mean (loud and soft).

2. Pass out the Forte papers to each student and then the Piano papers to each student.

3. Explain that whenever they hear a song that is Forte (loud) they must raise the Forte paper high in the air—facing the teacher. Same as with Piano, whenever they hear a song that is Piano (soft), to raise the Piano paper—facing the teacher. Have them put the Forte paper in the right hand and the Piano paper in the left hand and tell them to memorize where they have put them.

4. Explain that once the paper is raised, they may not change their answer and if they do, they will be marked down.

5. Let the students know that their eyes must remain closed until the teacher has finished marking down their answers.

6. Do an example before the assessment by singing a short song in Forte or Piano. Do this about 4 times.

7. Let the students know that the “game” is about to begin and have all students close their eyes.

8. Tell the students to raise their answer high in the air AFTER the song/selection has been played.

9. Play the selections and after each selection, write a (+) next to the students that get the correct answer and a (-) next to the students who get the incorrect answer.

10. After the assessment is over, collect the Forte and Piano papers and dismiss the students.


In this formative assessment, students will be assessed by observation on their ability to differentiate between a song that is Forte and a song that is Piano.
The teacher will mark on the seating chart a (+) next to the student’s name for a correct answer or a (-) for an incorrect answer to the song being played.
If the student does not succeed, another opportunity during the formative assessment will be given.

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