CNMN > Projects > Matter at your fingertips

MariEve Lauzon & Michel Frigon

  • Open (def: scores for unspecified instrumentation)
  • Found objects or art supplies
  • 5 to 12 years of age

2 classes d'une heure

  • Education

Matter at your fingertips


Mat­ter at Your Fingertips

Using play­dough, ‘Mat­ter at Your Fin­ger­tips’ is a play­ful ini­ti­a­tion to sound cre­ation. Objec­tive: to make a col­lec­tive com­po­si­tion fea­tur­ing a score made out of play dough.

By MariEve Lau­zon and Michel Frigon

Class I

  1. Play the fol­low­ing sound para­me­ters using hands on a chair, desk or table. Empha­size visu­al con­tact to ensure a clean cut-off.

    1. Soft

    2. Loud

    3. Silence

    4. Sound that changes (Cycle 1; Gr. 1 & 2), crescendo/decrescendo (Cycles 2 & 3, Gr. 3–6)

    5. Short sound

  1. Demon­strate how to rep­re­sent sounds using play dough. Explain the shapes for:





Accent: stick a tooth­pick in shape

  1. Show how to make sculp­tures by assem­bling shapes together.

Hint: warm play­dough up before mak­ing shapes.

  1. Stu­dents make shapes.

  1. Make a score using stu­dents’ shapes.

Hint: Use sto­ry as an anal­o­gy: a score need a begin­ning, mid­dle and end

  1. Play the score (using hands on chair or other)

Fol­low conductor’s gestures

Fol­low student’s hand as the ‘cur­sor’

Class 2

Review the pre­vi­ous class. Eval­u­ate as appro­pri­ate (see work­sheet below).

  1. Review dif­fer­ence sounds and shapes.

  2. Ask stu­dents to make 2 dif­fer­ent shapes of their choice.

  3. Cre­ate a col­lec­tive score. Stu­dents place their shape in a spot of their choosing.

  4. Play the score.

  5. Move shapes to make a new piece.


Invent (team­work)

  • Clar­i­ty and pre­ci­sion of score

  • Atten­tion to timing


  • Respect for the score (dynam­ics, silences, timing)

Appre­ci­ate (see work­sheet with questions)

  • Iden­ti­fy sound para­me­ters of var­i­ous shapes (for younger students)

  • Rec­og­nize sound para­me­ters by ear (e.g. dic­ta­tion of sounds for which stu­dents draw shapes or respond true or false to giv­en shapes)



Use instru­ments: boomwhack­ers, drums, recorders, wind instru­ments, voice, key­board per­cus­sion instru­ments, small per­cus­sion etc.

Asso­ci­a­tion of col­or of play­dough with: boomwhack­ers, vow­els or con­so­nants, vocal effects, instru­ment fam­i­ly, etc.

Add a sec­ond voice to the score

Hint: To help dis­tri­b­u­tion, take play­dough out of con­tain­ers and make one big ball of each colour. Wrap play­dough in plas­tic wrap to keep moist.

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