Playing timbre-ball

As the children play timbre-ball, they learn to distinguish the timbre of string instruments from that of wind instruments.

Musical concept : Timbre Wind / Strings


Priority areas of development

Secondary areas of development

  • Physical and motor : Uses gross motor skills and learns about safety factors in their environment 


  • Language : Expands their
  • Emotional : Regulates their own emotions


  • Cognitive : Participates in group activities


  • Social  : Participates in group activities


Prerequisites : None

Necessary material

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


  • One soft lightweight ball per pair of children or a single ball for the entire group, depending on the chosen format


  • Install the Mazaam app and open the World of Eagles (timbre) module


Music to listen to online or to download

Music with string instruments :

Telemann : Sonata No. 1 in G Major, I. Soave, performed by Angèle Dubeau (violin)

Music with wind instruments :

Henry Purcell : Sonata in D Major I. Allegro, performed by Paul Merkelo (trumpet) and Luc Beauséjour (organ)

Lesson plan

Setting the scene

Introduce the activity

“Today, we’re going to play timbre-ball. It’s a game in which we need to pay attention to the timbre of musical instruments.”


1.Introduce the word ‘timbre’ and ask the children if they know what it means in music.

2. Explain to the children that the word ‘timbre’ in music refers to a family of musical instruments :

  • Timbre relates to how a particular instrument is played.


  • If you blow into the instrument to make sounds, this is a wind instrument (wind family).


  • If you have to pluck, hit or rub the instrument’s strings to make sounds, this is a string instrument (string family).

3. Ask the children to name the string and wind instruments they know.

4. Have them listen to an excerpt featuring each instrument’s timbre (see Music section).

5. Ask them to name the timbre they heard in each of the two excerpts and give them the correct answer.

6. Explain how the game of timbre-ball is played.

7. Remind them about the safety guidelines for playing with balls in the classroom.

8. Play the game in pairs or as an entire group :

Playing in pairs                                                                                             

  • Give a ball to each pair and assign the required space in the classroom.


  • Play the first game in the World of Eagles module.


  • When a musical excerpt is playing,  the child with the ball  sends it to their teammate depending on the timbre of the instrument they hear :                                            
    – In the case of a string instrument, the child rolls the ball along the ground.                                                                 
    -In the case of a wind instrument, the child throws the ball gently through the air.                                                            
  • When the other child catches the ball, they name the instrument family heard (strings or winds).


  • Validate the answer in the Mazaam app for each musical excerpt by giving the flower to the correct eagle.


Playing with the entire group                                                                       

  • Give a single ball for the entire group.


  • Two children position themselves in the centre of the classroom and play together for a few excerpts, followed by another pair until all the children in the group have participated in the game.


  • Ask the children who are watching the others to mime playing the instrument heard while the ball is in motion.


  • Validate the answer in the Mazaam app by giving the flower to the correct eagle.

To go further

Do the activity again using musical pieces that alternately
feature wind and string instruments:                                                              

  • Mozart, The Magic Flute, «Der Vogelfämger bin ich ja», performed by Angèle Dubeau (violin) and Alain Marion (flute)
  • Alessandro Marcello, Concerto for Oboe in D Minor,
    performed by the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra (oboe and string orchestra)

Play the second game in the Mazaam app’s World of Eagles module with the children.