Two magical words: to repeat and the same

Playing with the Ostinato

    School sections
    • Primary
    Educational subjects
    • Instrumental practice
    • Music, Rhythm and movement
    • Aural skills (Ear training)
    • Composition
    • Vocalism

Two magical words: to repeat and the same

In this project, I started by helping the students understand the general meaning of the word ostinato as well as its specific meaning in music. I led the students to experience the sense of an ostinato in music, through vocal and instrumental short rhythmic formulas performed even with parts different from their own. The students listened to different types of musical pieces, identifying the parts in ostinato. I proposed an activity where they had to coordinate gestures and sounds on the basis of the beats of a spoken song and/or a piece of music in brief ostinato formulas, even using Orff instruments. I also proposed various games based on rhythmic improvisation with Orff instruments, using ostinatos composed by the students. The games proposed were based on movement and the performance of choreographies, using songs in ostinato. The rhythmic sense of the ostinato was then translated into a graphic/pictorial language.

Work tools

In order to carry out this path, it is necessary to have:
a musical laboratory, a piano, various rhythmic instruments, a blackboard and benches for the students.
It is useful to have at disposal a rather large space, in order to perform the choreographies.
It is possible to carry out the part dedicated to the listening and viewing activities in a classroom equipped with an IWB.

Educational purposes

The skills, goals and training objectives selected by the teacher for this experience are shown below.

    • Sound perception
    • Interpretation
    • Analysis
    • Comprehension
    • Execution
    • Improvisation
    • Composition
    Reading and Writing
    • Use of conventional analogic music notation
    • Learning to listen to oneself and to the others
    • Identify the constitutive elements of a simple piece of music
    • Listening, interpreting and describing pieces of music of different genres
    • Exploring, identifying and elaborating sound phenomena on the basis of quality, space and source
    • Exploring different expressive capacities of voice, musical objects and musical instruments
    • Producing timbre, melodic and rhythmic combinations applying basic schemes; executing them with the voice, the body and instruments (including IT tools).
    • Improvising freely and creatively gradually learning to master techniques and materials
    • Playing, alone or in group, simple vocal or instrumental pieces of music belonging to different genres and cultures, using also didactic instruments and self-made tools.
    Reading and Writing
    • Using analog and codified notation
Educational targets


The students learned how to:
- recognize and use the characteristics and qualities of sounds;
- identify structural and expressive aspects in a musical piece;


The students learned how to:
- use recognition relations and musical notation systems;
- read and write simple melodies and rhythms;


The students learned how to:
- recognize and use musical ostinatos;
- express the sense of a piece through their bodies, drawings, and words;
- perform rhythmic-melodic ostinatos of simple pieces.

I decided to work on such objectives because they are a first step towards a range of sufficiently wide competences that can be used immediately to compose and improvise very simple pieces. The musical quality and motivation spur the students’ enthusiasm for the fact of succeeding, of doing and consequently of being.


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Slide "Two magical words: to repeat and the same"
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Link utili
M.Ravel - Bolero - Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI Click here