YourClassical Children

YourClassical Music Lessons: Piano and Forte, the Dynamics Duo

 Alasdair Elmes/Unsplash

March 24, 2020

LISTEN — Audio Instructions

Need ideas for easy and fun at-home music learning? Here's our daily YourClassical Music Lesson.

Target age range: Grades K-3

1. Music can be loud, soft or somewhere in between. Musicians use the word "dynamics" to describe the volume level of music. Practice saying the word "dynamics" a few times. Today we will talk about two dynamic levels: forte and piano.

2. For loud music, musicians use the word forte (for-TAY.) Forte is the Italian word for loud. A fancy letter f tells musicians to play loudly, or at a forte dynamic level.

3. Listen to some forte music, like this music by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich (Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Op. 93, II. Allegro)

Forte music dynamic
Forte dynamic mark flashcard
Wikimedia Commons

4. Make a flashcard with a forte symbol.

5. Practice saying the word forte three times in a forte voice.

6. For quiet music, musicians use the word piano (pe-Ah-no). Piano means soft in Italian. A fancy letter p tells musicians to play quietly, or at a piano dynamic level.

7. Listen to some piano music, like this music by Hungarian composer Bela Bartok (Romanian Folk Dances, Sz. 56: III. Andante)

Piano music dynamic
Piano dynamic mark flashcard
Wikimedia Commons

8. Make a flashcard with a piano symbol. Practice saying the word piano three times in a piano voice.

9. Test your flashcards with some music that switches back and forth between piano and forte. Every time it gets quiet, flash your p card, and when it's loud, flash the f. Use your new cards anytime you are listening to music.

LISTEN — Orpheus in the Underworld: Can-Can
Jacques Offenbach

Have a question or suggestion? Contact Katie Condon, music education specialist.

More: View all of our YourClassical Music Lessons