Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Using Rhythm and Melody to Teach Sequencing Skills

As mentioned in a previous post (Music and Memory 4/1/10), music can certainly be used to aid in the retention of materials presented, but can it be used to help a child learn to sequence? One of the children I worked with had great difficulty in sequencing and both his parents and teacher thought that math and eading skills may be a struggle until he understood sequencing. In the following activity, I used melody and rhythm to help him anticipate the missing item. Once he grasped the idea of "what comes next", we were able to phase the music out and complete the activity using only visual skills.
During the activity, I would present a sequencing "strip" such as the one above. I have included the melody on this strip, however the "strips" I used with this child only had the pictures to prevent any additional visual distraction. In addition to the sequencing strip, I laid out additional pictures. (I started out using only 2 pics and worked up to 6 choices as he progressed)
I would sing the song for him while pointing to each picture in order. When I got to the blank box, I asked him to pick a picture and place it on the box. If it was difficult to choose the correct item, I asked him to sing along with me and many times he would automatically insert the name of the correct item! The melody and/or rhythm would assist him in determining the missing item.

I've given the example above using fruit. You can actually make strips using different groups such as colors, numbers, vegetables, animals, etc. I enjoy using pictures of musical instruments!

The sequences can be as easy or difficult as needed. By changing the number, order and placement of pictures, you can make a sequence that meets your childs needs!

If you would like musical sequences and picture cards, click on the Activity Download tab at the top of the page and them look for Sequencing Activity Download. The download includes pdf's of 5 sequences and pictures of instruments. I like to laminate each sequence and even the individual instrument cards to make them last longer!


  1. I love this sequencing activity, but your activities download page will not load for me. The content disappears and hides behind your brown background layer.

  2. Oh - thanks for letting me know! I will check it out to see what the problem is. Check it out again tomorrow and if there is still a problem viewing the Activity Download page - please let me know!

  3. Pamela,
    I'm still having problems accessing the downloads page. It's not loading correctly on either of my laptops.

  4. Hi Therapeutic Noise! Would you email me directly at pamelelao@gmail.com - I may have a solution for you! P.S. - love your blog!

  5. Hi such a nice post i have some great thought about music want to share with you

  6. Hi Acoustic Guitar - I would really like to hear your thoughts about music - please feel free to contact me by email at pamelelao@gmail.com