A Mystery Song #002

The children have fun recognizing a familiar song performed in slow or fast tempo.

Musical concept :  Tempo Fast / Slow


Priority areas of development

Secondary areas of development

  • Physical and motor : Tries out various ways of moving around


  • Cognitive : Uses own reasoning
  • Emotional: Recognizes own personal characteristics


  • Language : Interacts verbally and non-verbally


  • Social : Gradually assimilates rules of conducte


Prerequisites : None

Necessary material

  • An interactive whiteboard, a computer,
    a tablet or a smartphone


  • Install the Mazaam app and open the World of Chameleons (tempo)


Music to listen to online or to download

Peter Heidrich’s Happy Birthday Variations, performed by Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà

Slow music 

In the manner of Schumann


Fast music

In the manner of Ragtime

Lesson plan

Setting the scene

1. Explain the purpose of the activity

“Today, we’re going to listen to a mystery song and guess what song it is. I’ll give you a clue – it’s a song you know really well!”


1. Listen once to the three movements of Happy Birthday Variations :

  • Slow music: In the manner of Schumann


  • Fast music: In the manner of Ragtime


  • Slow music: Theme

2. Ask the children questions about this first round of listening :

  • Did you recognize the mystery song? (Answer: Happy Birthday)


  • What do you think – was the tempo slow or fast in each piece?

3. Sing the song Happy Birthday together three or four times at different tempos.

4. Ask the children to move about in two different ways in the class: first slowly, then quickly :

  • Slowly : walk slowly, move about on knees, move with hands on the ground, walk backwards, etc.


  • Quickly : move side to side, skip, walk quickly, etc.

5. Then, ask the children to move to the tempo of the music: slowly if the music is slow, quickly if the music is fast.

6. To finish, encourage the children to express their preferences :

  • Which is your favourite


  • version of Happy Birthday?


  • Which is your favourite way of moving around?


  • Why do you like moving like that? (Give examples as needed to encourage the children to express themselves.)

7. Have the children listen once again to one or more pieces of their choice.

To go further

Listen to other examples of contrasting music and ask the children if they are slow or fast:

Slow music : Johannes Brahms’ Lullaby, performed by Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà

Fast music : Jean Matitia’s The Devil’s Rag, performed by the Gaulin-Riverin Duo

Explore with the children the first game in the Mazaam app’s World of Chameleons