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ACO Music & Art: Lesson Seven

In this lesson you will learn how composers write down their music, and how to create your own musical symbols.

Length of activity

  • 20 minutes + extra time for the art activity.

You will need

  • Print out of the student worksheet, or blank paper if you can't print.
  • Coloured pencils
  • Screen or device, with access to the video below or click here to launch the video on YouTube
  • Art materials – coloured pencils, textas, crayons, paints, etc

Video lesson

Print out the worksheet and have it in front of you or have some blank paper where you can copy down your answers.

Play the video and create symbols to match the sounds that Sharon plays (pause or rewind the video if you need to hear the music multiple times).

graphic notation

Have a look at these websites for some examples of graphic notation.


Art Activity

Now that you have drawn your first impression of the sounds that Sharon played for you, it is time to create your final musical key, in preparation for your composition. With your blank piece of art paper, using all your art materials, create your final musical key with your best version of a symbol for some or all of the following musical concepts. You could use colours, shapes, lines. Pick a few from each category and make sure you label them clearly.


  • Pianissimo (very soft)
  • Piano (soft)
  • Forte (loud)
  • Fortissimo (very loud)
  • Crescendo (gradually louder)
  • Diminuendo (gradually softer)


Special effects

  • Mute (muffled sound)
  • Pizzicato (plucking string)
  • Tremolo (fast bow strokes)



  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Scared
  • Angry



  • Staccato (short and detached)
  • Slurred (smooth)



  • Fast
  • Slow



  • High
  • Low



  • Long
  • Short


Here is Sharon's key for example:

Musical Key

Share your musical key with us here.


Additional information

Click here to find additional information about the content of this lesson.


Continue to Lesson Eight